District of Columbia

US fighter jet missing on training mission

WASHINGTON - U.S. and Italian aircraft on Monday searched the Adriatic Sea after losing contact with a U.S. fighter jet believed to have crashed during a training mission off the coast of Italy.

The headquarters of the 31st Fighter Wing, at Aviano Air Base in Italy, said in a statement that the F-16 fighter had one pilot aboard when contact was lost Monday evening. There was no early word on the fate of the plane or the pilot.

New York

Barbara Walters ill with chickenpox

NEW YORK - Barbara Walters has chickenpox and remains hospitalized more than a week after going in after falling and hitting her head at a pre-inaugural party in Washington on Jan. 19.

A fellow host on the "The View," Whoopi Goldberg, said Monday that Walters has been transferred to a New York hospital and hopes to go home soon.

The 83-year-old news veteran, who underwent heart surgery in May 2010, apparently avoided a disease that hits most people when they are children. It can be serious in older people because of the possibility of complications like pneumonia.

New Mexico

Virgin to start paying rent on spaceport

ALBUQUERQUE - Virgin Galactic has agreed to start paying New Mexico rent on the nearly quarter-billion-dollar spaceport the state built for British businessman Richard Branson's space tourism business, but is doing so under protest, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

In a Jan. 16 email to the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Virgin Galactic said it does not believe the state has finished the work necessary to trigger activation of its $1 million annual rent obligation, and said if the work is not complete to its satisfaction by March 31, it "may either stop paying rent, pay reduced rent or give notice to terminate" its lease.

Virgin Galactic has publicly expressed concerns about the state's inability to attract more businesses to the project and has hinted it could leave if lawmakers refuse for a third year in a row to expand liability exemptions for the commercial space industry.


Thousands lost cash in alleged scheme

LEXINGTON - Authorities seized a far-flung marketing operation Monday over claims the Kentucky-based company amounted to a global pyramid scheme that siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from tens of thousands of people who paid steep fees to become sales representatives but made a pittance for selling products.

Federal and state agents converged on Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing's headquarters in Lexington and its warehouse in Danville after a federal judge in Chicago ordered the company to cease operations.


Doctor shot, killed at S. Calif. office

NEWPORT BEACH - Police found a doctor dead from multiple gunshot wounds Monday in an examination room of a Southern California medical office, and took a suspect into custody in the same room, authorities said.

Six or seven shots were fired at the medical office near Hoag Hospital in Orange County, Newport Beach police said. The doctor's name and relationship to the gunman weren't immediately clear.

Wire reports