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AROUND THE NATION

Silky-voiced man reunited with mother

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A homeless Ohio man whose silky announcing voice has catapulted him to national fame was been reunited Thursday in New York with his mother, who says "my prodigal son has finally come home."

Video posted by the Columbus Dispatch shows Ted Williams walking quickly toward his 90-year-old mother. "Hi, Mommy. Hi, Mommy," he says upon seeing her in a hotel for the first time in 20 years. Julia Williams, of Brooklyn, embraced him.

Williams, 53, was left homeless after his life was ruined by drugs and alcohol, and he was living in a tent near a highway in Columbus just days ago. He quickly became an online sensation after the Dispatch posted a clip of him demonstrating his voiceover skills while begging by the side of the road.

Williams appeared on NBC's "Today" show Thursday morning and has been offered jobs by the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, Kraft and MSNBC.

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Bacteria ate methane after gulf oil spill

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A sudden bloom of bacteria after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill helped clean up the methane gas that also was released into the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new report.

The bacteria "did a good job on it, and that was much earlier than expected," said John Kessler, a chemical oceanographer at Texas A&M University.

Earlier studies found that the oil-eating bacteria got a jump start by consuming the natural gases ethane and propane.

A new report by Kessler and colleagues in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science added methane to that list, potentially good news for environmentalists concerned about periodic natural methane releases. Occasionally large volumes of methane are released along the sea floor through seeps or vents.

The discovery that bacteria rose to the occasion during the gulf oil spill indicates they are also likely to do so when natural methane releases occur, researchers said.

Large releases of methane can disrupt ocean chemistry and affect the atmosphere.

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Ex-CIA officer accused of leaks about Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former CIA officer has been indicted on charges of disclosing national security secrets after being accused of leaking classified information about Iran to a New York Times reporter.

Federal prosecutors charged Jeffrey Sterling with 10 counts related to improperly keeping and disclosing national security information.

The indictment did not specify what was leaked, but, from the dates and other details, the case clearly centered on leaks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James Risen for his 2006 book, "State of War," which revealed details about the CIA's spy war with Iran.

Sterling, 43, of O'Fallon, Mo., was arrested Thursday and appeared in federal court in St. Louis after the Dec. 22 indictment was unsealed in Alexandria, Va.

Sterling served on the Iranian desk at the CIA and handled Iranian spies who had defected to the United States. In the book, Risen detailed how a CIA officer mistakenly revealed the CIA's network in Iran in 2004.

Iranian security officials were able to "roll up" the CIA's agent network in the country. Risen called it an "espionage disaster."

The Justice Department had twice subpoenaed Risen to force him to reveal his sources, but he refused to help federal investigators.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Probe of televangelists

ends with no penalties

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A senator's high-profile investigation of spending by televangelists wrapped up Thursday after more than three years with no penalties for the pastors who refused to cooperate and no definitive findings of wrongdoing.

The report released by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, raises questions about the personal use of church-owned airplanes, luxury homes and credit cards by pastors and their families, and about the lack of oversight of finances by boards often packed with the televangelists' relatives and friends.

But the senator draws no specific conclusions about whether the ministries violated Internal Revenue Service rules that bar excessive compensation for leaders of religious nonprofits.

Grassley released the report at the end of his tenure as the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. Grassley will remain on the Finance Committee, but will become the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

The six televangelists in the investigation preach some form of the prosperity gospel, which teaches that God wants to bless the faithful with riches. Ministers in this tradition often cite their wealth as evidence that the teaching works.

All six insisted they comply with tax regulations for religious nonprofits.