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Nation & World Briefly

Ships collide, oil spilled at Texas port

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) – As much as 450,000 gallons of crude oil may have spilled in a southeast Texas port when two vessels collided Saturday morning, but it’s unclear whether that much actually leaked from the damaged tank, a U.S. Coast Guard official said.

No one was injured in the collision, but part of the port of Port Arthur was closed and some nearby residents were evacuated for about seven hours.

Fewer than 100 people were evacuated from the area following the collision.

U.S. Marines draw down in Iraq

RAMADI, Iraq (AP) – The U.S. Marines marked the end of nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday by handing the Army their command of Anbar province, once one of the war’s fiercest battlefields but now a centerpiece of U.S.-Iraqi cooperation.

The changing of the guard signals the start of an accelerated drawdown of American troops as the U.S. increasingly shifts its focus to the war in Afghanistan.

American commanders are trumpeting security gains in places such as the western Anbar province as a sign that their partnership with Iraqi security forces is working.

In Baghdad, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Iraq’s leaders Saturday to try to alleviate the pressures. While he kept expectations of a breakthrough low – telling reporters after a meeting with President Jalal Talabani it was up to the Iraqis, not him, to resolve the issue – his visit alone underscored Washington’s concern.

Experts: 1st Peterson investigation botched

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) – From nearly the moment the lead investigator stepped into the suburban Chicago area home where former policeman Drew Peterson’s third wife was found dead in a dry bathtub, he treated her death as a tragic accident.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Patrick Collins collected no forensics evidence from the scene – not fingerprints, unfinished drinks or clothes. Most disturbingly, say experts, Collins let Peterson sit in on what may have been a vital interview.

As prosecutors and defense attorneys prepare for Peterson’s trial on charges of murdering Kathleen Savio, one thing has become clear: Police blew the initial investigation, undermining prosecutors’ ability to prove their case.