National

Search continues for missing boys

MORENCI, Mich. —Hundreds of searchers combed the southern Michigan and northern Ohio countryside again Friday for three young brothers last seen at their father's home on Thanksgiving. With the search ending unsuccessfully, authorities prepared to use the weekend to determine what else should be done to find the boys.

Morenci police had said Friday's search would be the last organized one of the week using volunteers, and fire official Bob Mohr said Friday evening that no search was planned for Saturday or Sunday.

Much of the search in recent days has centered on three counties in the northwestern corner of Ohio. Dive teams dove into lakes, rivers and a gravel pit, while buses carried hundreds of volunteers to remote roads and fields.

The boys' father, John Skelton, faces three kidnapping charges and is fighting extradition from Ohio to Michigan. He remains jailed on a $3 million bond.

Space plane lands after seven-month test

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. military's secretive X-37B unmanned space plane slipped out of orbit and landed itself in early morning darkness Friday at a California airbase after a maiden flight that lasted more than seven months, the Air Force said.

The robotic craft landed at coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Range safety officers were on hand to track its descent over the Pacific and activate a destruct mechanism if the landing needed to be aborted.

The Air Force had emphasized that the primary purpose of the flight was to test the craft itself but classified its actual activities in space.

Deficit action backed by senators on both sides

WASHINGTON — President Obama's budget deficit commission failed to garner enough support Friday to prompt quick congressional action on its austere spending blueprint. But the support of a bipartisan majority of the panel should give it momentum.

Senate conservatives Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., joined with Obama allies Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., in support of the plan. Panel members said the commission's work has fundamentally changed the national debate on the deficit.

The plan received "aye" votes from five of six senators who served on the 18-member panel, chaired by former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson of the GOP.

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