Somali pirates sentenced in attack
NORFOLK | Five Somali men convicted of piracy for attacking a U.S. Navy ship off Africa’s coast were sentenced to life in prison Monday, although several of them said through an interpreter they wanted to appeal.
The men also were sentenced to serve an additional 80 years in prison on other charges related to the attack on the USS Nicholas.
Defense lawyers had argued the men were innocent fishermen who had been abducted by pirates and forced to fire their weapons at the ship.
But federal prosecutors argued during trial that the five had confessed to attacking the ship April 1 after mistaking it for a merchant ship. The Nicholas, based in Norfolk, was part of an international flotilla fighting piracy in the seas off Somalia.
The government said three of the men were in a skiff that opened fire on the Nicholas with assault rifles, then fled when sailors returned fire with machine guns. The other two men were found on a mother ship with weapons.
Companies pitch in on earthquake response
SEATTLE | Google, Twitter and other technology companies are finding ways to help after last week’s earthquake in Japan.
Google Inc. has an online “person finder” for people seeking information about a missing person.
Microsoft Corp. is offering free technical support and temporary software licenses to companies affected by the earthquake. It also has pledged $250,000 in cash.
Twitter is trying to help organize the flood of information flowing through its system. It is suggesting people use certain tags for general earthquake information, requests for rescue and other related topics.
Amazon.com Inc. and Yahoo Inc. have links on their home pages encouraging people to donate to the relief efforts.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports