Yemeni intelligence officials asserted Friday that their investigation revealed that Umar Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of attempted to bomb Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day in Detroit, met in Yemen with known al-Qaeda operatives, probably including American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

In order to determine his competency to stand trial, Major Nidal Hasan is to undergo a mental evaluation by a team of three military medical professionals. The panel is composed of doctors chosen from the Army, Air Force, and Navy medical corps, and it will begin its evaluation of the case by reviewing the voluminous material contained in Hasan’s file.

Wearing the typical garb of a federal prisoner, Umar Abdulmutallab entered the courtroom wearing khaki trousers, a plain white t-shirt, and shackles on his ankles. The defendant was flanked by his attorney, a federal public defender, Miriam Siefer. Abdulmutallab was arraigned Friday in a Detroit federal court and the 23-year-old Nigerian stood before a magistrate, and Siefer plead not guilty all charges on behalf of her client.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the "oft-cited credo that more guns equal more crime is being tested by facts on the ground this year: Even as gun ownership has surged in the US in the past year, violent crime, including murder and robbery, has dropped steeply." FBI statistics for the past several years had shown crime rates holding steady but for 2009, violent crimes dropped "dramatically." Contrast these figures with the fact that gun sales are up 12 percent since the election of Barack Obama.

A three man panel of the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, by a two to one split vote, has determined that Washington state law, which prohibits convicted felons from voting, violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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