Omaha store will reopen 2 weeks after shootings

OMAHA, Neb. - The department store where a teen gunman went on a rampage will reopen Thursday, about two weeks after the shootings, company officials said.

The Von Maur store at Westroads Mall will hold a brief ceremony in memory of those killed and hurt before the opening, the company said.

Robert Hawkins, 19, shot 11 people inside the store Dec. 5, killing eight and wounding three, before committing suicide. Six of those slain were Von Maur employees.

'We know that nothing we do will ever erase the pain that was caused that day, yet we remain committed to doing everything we can to support and provide comfort to the victims, their families and all of our associates,' said Jim von Maur, company president.

Coroner: 4 men were beaten, stabbed in Ohio

CINCINNATI - Four men who were beaten and methodically stabbed in the heart had lived in a sparsely furnished apartment, sleeping on mattresses on the floor while sending thousands of dollars to relatives in Mexico, a coroner said Monday.

Two of the four were related and all were from the same town in Mexico, Hamilton County Coroner O'dell Owens said. He wouldn't release their names and said he did not know the name of the town.

'There is some question about the quality of the identifications,' Owens said, noting that no ID card of any sort was found in the apartment.

A message was left at the Mexican consulate in Indianapolis asking if officials there had been notified.

Elaborate jailbreak sparks manhunt

ELIZABETH, N.J. - Two inmates escaped from a county jail, hiding the holes they made in the walls by putting up photos of bikini-clad women, officials said.

Authorities searched over the weekend for Jose Espinosa, who was awaiting sentencing for manslaughter, and Otis Blunt, who was facing robbery and other charges. They also launched a review of jail security.

The two got out of the Union County jail Saturday evening. The county prosecutor's office said the two apparently removed cement blocks from two walls, squeezed through the openings, jumped to a rooftop below and then made it over a 25-foot-high fence. The section they escaped from was supposed to be the most secure area of the facility.

California cops pull over drivers for holiday reward

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. - Happy holidays. Now pull over to the side of the road.

Motorists may be in for a surprise if they spot flashing red lights in their rearview mirrors in this Sacramento suburb during the holiday season.

Police are stopping law-abiding motorists and rewarding their good driving with $5 Starbucks gift cards.

A traffic officer came up with the idea to 'promote the holiday spirit and enhance goodwill between the traffic unit and the motoring public,' police Sgt. Tim Curran said.

Local businesses donated money to buy the gift cards.

'They raised a substantial amount of money,' Curran said. 'They'll be pulling over a lot of people.'

Fox News blast injures one

NEW YORK - A small chemical explosion was reported Monday in the building that houses Fox News, officials said. One person was hurt.

The explosion happened at 10:39 a.m. on the building's 45th floor, which houses the heating and cooling systems for the 47-story building.

'We have some sort of reaction between two chemicals that caused a slight explosion,' fire spokesman Jim Long said.

There are no offices on the floor, but three floors were evacuated.

The building is the headquarters for NewsCorp and houses Fox News and the New York Post, which were unaffected. Fox News is in the basement and continued broadcasting without interruption.

Jury finds N.Y. couple guilty in slavery case

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A jury on Monday convicted a millionaire couple of enslaving two Indonesian women they brought to their mansion to work as housekeepers.

Mahender Murlidhar Sabhnani, 51, and his wife, Varsha Mahender Sabhnani, 45, were each convicted of all charges in a 12-count federal indictment that included forced labor, conspiracy, involuntary servitude and harboring aliens.

Prosecutors said the women were subjected to repeated psychological and physical abuse and were forced to work 18 hours or more a day.

- From wire reports