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IN BRIEF: Afghans want massacre trial

THE US still hasn't decided whether to hold the trial of the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in Afghanistan.

Colonel Gary Kolb, of the US army, said the US does have the capability to hold court-martial hearings in Afghanistan and has done so before, but that the decision on this specific case is still being made.

Afghan politicians have demanded that the soldier face a public trial inside the country.

'Madge' graffiti artist goes free

A judge has dismissed charges against a retired firefighter arrested for scrawling messages of adoration to Madonna on the pavement outside her New York apartment building.

The judge threw out the case after Robert Linhart's lawyer argued that it had lingered beyond the 182-day speedy-trial deadline.

Mr Linhart, then 59, was arrested in September 2010 after authorities said he made signs that said 'Crazy for You' and 'Material Girl' outside Madonna's apartment near Central Park. His lawyer argued that it was no crime to adore Madonna.

Boston hit by smoke chaos

A smoky electrical transformer fire has forced emergency crews to shut off power to some of Boston's most popular tourist areas.

Some streets have been closed, as well as hotels and other businesses have been evacuated. Subway

Fire officials say the large plumes of dark smoke at the height of the fire weren't toxic. But police have asked the public to stay away.

The fire erupted in a 115,000-volt transformer near a garage behind the Back Bay Hilton Hotel.

Clooney visits Sudan victims

HOLLYWOOD star and human rights activist George Clooney has visited a volatile border region between Sudan and South Sudan ahead of evidence he is giving before a US Senate committee.

Clooney saw burned-out villages and also met residents who have been forced to seek shelter in caves because of aerial attacks by Sudan's military.