Trapped miners – The 33 men trapped in a Chile mine since August 5 sent a video message to their families Thursday expressing thanks for the efforts under way to free them and displaying occasional flashes of humor and patriotism.
Throughout the 25-minute, high-definition video, one miner guided the hand-held camera ahead of him, its path illuminated by the light on his mining helmet. The video views are grainy and sometimes out of focus. The footage shows the 50-square-meter living space occupied by the men since they were trapped 2,300 feet below ground. Some appear heavily bearded, all of them are stripped to the waist. A thermometer shows 29.5 degrees Celsius (85.1 F), a little cooler than officials had estimated.
Carter secures American's release – Former President Carter is expected to arrive Friday in the United States with an American citizen who was imprisoned in North Korea after entering it illegally in January, said the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
The communist nation sentenced the American, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, to eight years of hard labor and a fine of about $600,000 for illegally crossing North Korea's border with China and for an unspecified "hostile act."
GPS ruling – Law enforcement officers may secretly place a GPS device on a person's car without seeking a warrant from a judge, according to a recent federal appeals court ruling in California. The decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means law enforcement can place trackers on cars without seeking a court's permission in the nine Western states the California-based circuit covers, a lawyer says.
Democrats and the House – Democratic Congressional Campaign Chairman Chris Van Hollen will lay out the party's plan of attack for November elections at a Friday news conference.
The Maryland congressman, facing a resurgent Republican Party, "will discuss why he believes Democrats deserve to win the off-year elections and how they plan to do it, the legislative agenda as passed so far including health care, financial rescue, Wall Street reform, student loans, Afghanistan action and Iraq withdrawal," according to a statement by the campaign.
The initiative comes as President Obama's approval rating stands at 47 percent, with 51 percent saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job, according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll.