American Scene: Missing FBI agent found dead in Burbank

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CALIFORNIA

BURBANK — The body of an FBI agent who vanished more than two months ago was found near his home in Burbank, authorities said Tuesday.

Steven Ivens, 35, was found by two hikers in a wooded area behind a church on Monday, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. His gun was found near his body.

The cause and time of death will be determined by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Mr. Ivens was being treated for depression and was said to be distraught at the time of his disappearance, authorities said.

A massive air and ground search was unsuccessful after Mr. Ivens walked away from his home on May 10 with his keys and his service weapon. His wife, Thea, later made a public plea for him to return home.

Mr. Ivens is survived by his wife and 1-year-old son.

NEW YORK

Iran, al Qaeda, Talibantold to pay $6B for 9/11

NEW YORK — A federal judge has ordered al Qaeda, the Taliban and Iran to pay $6 billion to relatives of Sept. 11 victims for aiding in the 2001 terror attacks.

The ruling is largely symbolic because it would be nearly impossible to collect any damages.

But plaintiff Ellen Saracini told the Daily News that she is happy about Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas’ ruling Monday. Her husband, Victor, was the captain of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center.

Last year, District Judge George B. Daniels signed a default judgment on the lawsuit brought by family members of 47 victims. He found al Qaeda, the Taliban and Iran liable and asked the magistrate to determine damages.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied any Iranian connection in the attacks.

WASHINGTON

Crop circles appear in wheat field

SEATTLE — Mysterious crop circles have appeared in an eastern Washington wheat field – not far from the nation’s largest hydropower producer – but area farmers preparing for the summer’s harvest find the distraction more amusing than alarming.

“You can’t do anything other than laugh about it,” said Cindy Geib, who owns the field with her husband, Greg. “You just kind of roll with the theory it’s aliens and you’re special because aliens chose your spot.”

Friends called the Geibs on July 24 when the pattern of flattened wheat was spotted off Highway 174, about five miles north of the town of Wilbur. The field is about 10 miles south of the Grand Coulee Dam, which the Bureau of Reclamation says is the largest hydropower producer in the United States.

The circles resemble a four-leaf clover and remind Cindy Geib of Mickey Mouse ears. The design knocked down about an acre of their wheat. Some of it could be salvaged by combines when the harvest starts in a week or two, she said, but some will be lost.

“Of course, we don’t have alien insurance,” she said.

Crop circles have been a worldwide phenomenon for decades, and this is not the first one in Lincoln County. Similar circular patterns were left in crops in the Wilbur area in 2010 and in 2008 or 2009, Mrs. Geib said.

Lynne Brougher, public affairs officer for the Grand Coulee Dam, hadn’t heard about the latest crop circles but said the previous such incident was no cause for alarm.

OHIO

Survey: Cincinnati library ranked busiest

CINCINNATI — The Public Library Association says the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Public Library’s downtown branch was the busiest central library in North America in 2011.

The ranking, announced Tuesday, came from a comparison of 1,300 public libraries that included the largest ones in the United States and Canada.

About 6 million, or 34 percent, of the total 17.6 million books and materials borrowed from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County last year were checked out from its main library downtown.

NORTH CAROLINA

Army sergeant gets 30 days in battery of soldier

FAYETTEVILLE — An Army sergeant has been sentenced to 30 days in prison, forfeiting a month of pay and getting a demotion for his role in the hazing and suicide of a fellow soldier.

A 10-member military jury sentenced Sgt. Adam Holcomb of Youngstown, Ohio, on Tuesday, a day after he was convicted of maltreatment of a subordinate and assault consummated by battery but was cleared of the most serious charge of negligent homicide.

Military prosecutors said Holcomb and seven other soldiers physically and emotionally abused Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, before he committed suicide. Their unit is based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

The defense argued Chen was an incompetent soldier who killed himself because his family disowned him. The second of eight courts-martial in Chen’s death is scheduled for Aug. 13.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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