By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
April 02, 2006
Freelance reporter Jill Carroll, 28, was freed Thursday by captors who held her in a small house in Baghdad for 82 days while demanding the release of all female prisoners in Iraq. "It is important people know I was not harmed," Carroll said in a television interview shortly after her release. Carroll was working for the Christian Science Monitor when she was abducted Jan. 7 in western Baghdad while preparing to interview a politician. Her translator was killed in the attack.
American Muslim gets 30 years for Bush assassination plot
American Muslim Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was given a 30-year prison sentence Wednesday following a federal trial in Alexandria, Va., for plotting to assassinate President Bush. Saudi Arabian security authorities arrested him in 2003 while he was taking exams at the Islamic University of Medina. Abu Ali claimed his confession was made under torture. Prosecutors sought the death penalty, but U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said 30 years was sufficient since Abu Ali's actions "did not result in one single actual victim."
Former DeLay aide admits conspiracy in bribery case
Tony Rudy, former assistant chief of staff to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy Friday and vowed to assist with the FBI investigation into bribery and lobbying fraud centered on disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has already admitted to bribing federal officials. Rudy admitted he received payments from Abramoff five years ago and then helped to block an Internet gambling bill Abramoff wanted stopped. Rudy faces up to five years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said his sentence will depend on how much assistance he gives the investigation.
Bush names new White House chief
President Bush, bowing to Republican calls for staff changes at the White House after a politically difficult year, on Tuesday appointed Office of Management and Budget chief Joshua Bolten to replace Andrew Card as White House chief of staff. The president called Bolten "a creative policy thinker" and "a man of candor and humor and directness who's comfortable with the responsibility and knows how to lead." Card stood impassively next to Bush as he made the announcement. He promised to stay on for a few weeks until Bolten settles into the new post.
Senate begins sensitive immigration debate, sparking protests
The Senate Wednesday began contentious debate on an immigration bill that divided Republicans over President Bush's call for a "guest worker" program for illegal aliens. Senate Republican leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said Bush's plan "goes too far" and issued his own plan even as GOP moderates and Democrats applauded it. Tens of thousands of Hispanics, including truant public-school students, took to the streets throughout California and parts of Arizona to object to proposed tougher criminalization of illegal immigration.
Bush pushes for immigration reform at conference
President Bush urged Congress to pass "a comprehensive bill" to reform immigration Friday while attending a North American summit meeting in Cancun, with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The leaders promised to improve trade throughout the continent and to address common threats like avian flu. "You can't achieve a standard-of-living increase for your people unless you have a prosperous neighborhood," Bush said.
Steroid probe begins for Barry Bonds and other major-leaguers
Major League Baseball officially began its investigation Thursday into whether slugger Barry Bonds, who starts the season with 708 career home runs, and other baseball stars illegally took steroids since September 2002, when the performance-enhancing drug was banned. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig appointed former Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell to head the probe. Bonds this year will try to pass the home-run records set by Babe Ruth, 715, and Hank Aaron, 755.
Crowded cruise boat capsizes near Bahrain, killing 57 people
An overloaded Arab dhow modified for pleasure boating capsized off the coast of Bahrain Thursday, dumping 137 passengers into the Persian Gulf. At least 57 people drowned. U.S. Navy helicopters and divers stationed in Bahrain helped search for survivors. An official with the vessel's owner, Al Kobaisi Travel and Tours, told the Associated Press it was an old dhow that had recently been refitted with an extra deck to host dinner cruises. The boat capsized in calm waters after making a sudden turn.
Outbreak of mumps sweeps Iowa
Health officials confirmed 245 cases of mumps in Iowa Thursday in the biggest outbreak of the disease in 17 years. "We are calling this an epidemic," said Iowa epidemiologist Patricia Quinlisk. But state and federal health authorities said they do not understand what caused the outbreak this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said the strain of the disease is the same as an outbreak in England, where tens of thousands of people were sickened in the last two years.
Former FBI agent accused of mob ties, linked to gangland killing
In an arrest that shocked the FBI, former agent Lindley DeVecchio was charged Thursday with helping a member of New York City's famed Colombo crime family kill a rival gangster. DeVecchio, 65, at one time headed the New York FBI office's investigation unit into the Colombo syndicate. The former agent, released on $1 million bond, is accused of helping Colombo family captain Gregory Scarpa Sr., who was his informant into mob activities, kill a rival in 1992.
Dean says Bush's domestic spying worse than Watergate scandals
John Dean, who served as counselor to President Richard Nixon, told the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday that President Bush's use of the National Security Agency to wiretap international telephone calls without a court order was worse than the scandals that toppled the Nixon White House. "Hopefully, the Senate will not sit by while even more serious abuses unfold," Dean said. His remarks were made at a meeting called by Republicans to review Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold's call for an official censure of Bush.
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com
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