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In the Nation

Inouye successor Schatz sworn in

WASHINGTON - Democrat Brian Schatz, 40, is Hawaii's new senator after Vice President Biden administered the oath of office in a ceremony Thursday.

He symbolized a generational change in Hawaii's Senate delegation. As he walked up the center aisle to meet Biden, Schatz took the hand of his new colleague, Sen. Daniel Akaka, 88, and helped the frail Democrat, who is retiring, stay at his side.

A dozen Democratic senators and a handful of Republicans were on hand.

Schatz had flown to Washington hours earlier on Air Force One with President Obama. On Wednesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie named Schatz, who had been lieutenant governor, to succeed Sen. Daniel Inouye, who died last week at 88. - AP

Minn. governor has surgery

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has undergone spinal surgery that will likely sideline him at least through New Year's.

Dayton spokeswoman Kathleen Tinucci said the Mayo Clinic surgeon who performed the procedure Thursday reports that it went as planned, without any complications. She said the governor was out of surgery and awake by midafternoon.

Dayton hopes the operation will relieve a constriction in his lower back, known as stenosis, which Mayo says is generally caused by wear-and-tear on the spine due to aging. Dayton is 65.

He is scheduled to be released by Monday and plans to work from the Governor's Residence during his recuperation. - AP

Woman set on fire; man held

LOS ANGELES - Police have identified a man arrested for allegedly setting a 67-year-old woman on fire as she was sleeping on a bus bench.

Dennis Petillo 24, was arrested early Thursday and booked for investigation of attempted murder. He is being held on $500,000 bail.

Police say the attack occurred shortly after 1 a.m. outside a drugstore. A witness told police he saw a man come out of the store and pour some type of liquid on the woman before striking a match and setting her ablaze. The woman was taken to a hospital, where she was in critical condition. - AP


Prosecutors filed charges

Thursday against two University of California, Berkeley, law school students accused of decapitating an exotic bird at a Las Vegas casino this year. The charges against Justin Teixeira, 24, include felony killing and felony torturing of an animal, while Eric Cuellar, 24, faces a misdemeanor charge of instigating, engaging in or furthering an act of animal cruelty.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to return to work next week, almost three weeks after being sidelined by a concussion. Spokesman Philippe Reines says Clinton continues to recuperate at home. He says she had no schedule this week because of a long-planned holiday.