Gunfire sound system may aid crash probe

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. —Investigators scouring the rubble of a Silicon Valley plane crash that killed an experienced pilot and two other Tesla Motors employees learned Thursday that the crash was captured by a neighborhood sound system that could yield clues to the cause of the accident.

The sound system was designed to help locate gunfire but also picked up the Cessna as it slammed into a set of power lines shortly after taking off in dense fog Wednesday, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Josh Cawthra said.

Cawthra said the recordings could give clues to any mechanical problems, allowing investigators to hear sound levels of the engine and propeller noise. It's the first time he'll use such data in a crash investigation.

Military mission in Iraq to get new name

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military mission in Iraq will soon be getting a new name.

As of Sept. 1, Operation Iraqi Freedom becomes Operation New Dawn.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in a memo Wednesday that the name change — which is to immediately follow the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq — will send a strong signal that American forces have a new mission. He also said it reinforces the U.S. commitment to honor its security agreement with Iraq and recognizes "our evolving relationship" with the government there.