By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
September 23, 2006
Maverick Senate Republicans and the White House hashed out a compromise Thursday on the contentious issue of treatment of terrorism detainees, ending two weeks of infighting within the GOP leadership. President Bush said the compromise "protects the single most potent tool we have" in the nation's war on terrorism. The deal gives Bush authority to "interpret the meaning" of the Geneva Conventions, empowers the creation of military tribunals to try detainees, and allows coerced testimony in some circumstances. The deal is scheduled for floor votes next week.
Little hope for U.S. troop cuts soon in Iraq
Gen. John Abizaid of U.S. Central Command said Tuesday the nation's troop strength assigned to Iraq will have to stay at about 147,000 or even be increased, at least through spring, because of mounting sectarian violence. The gloomy forecast means Pentagon planners soon must decide whether to make more frequent activations of National Guard and Reserve troops or further expand the active-duty Army, both expensive and politically unpopular acts. "If we have to call in more forces because it's our military judgment that we need more forces, we'll do it," Abizaid said.
DNA tests identify body of World War I 'doughboy'
Army Pvt. Francis Lupo, of Cincinnati, Ohio, will be coming home soon. He was killed during a World War I assault on the German lines near Soissons, France, at the age of 23. A French archaeologist discovered Lupo's body in 2003. Scientists from the Pentagon's Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces' DNA Identification Laboratory identified him this year, the first time these units have identified a soldier from "The Great War." Lupo will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery.
Farmers plow under spinach harvest
Vegetable growers in California - which proclaims itself the "world's salad bowl" - began plowing under their spinach crops this week in the wake of an E. coli outbreak that killed a Wisconsin woman and sickened at least 157 in 23 states. Federal health investigators have yet to pinpoint the source of the infection, prompting the Food and Drug Administration to continue its call that Americans completely refrain from eating raw spinach. Slightly more than half of people known to have contracted the disease have been hospitalized, many with kidney failure.
Newborn recovered safely after Missouri attack
A woman who recently lost her unborn child through miscarriage was arrested Tuesday as police recovered 11-day-old Abigale Lynn Woods, kidnapped after her mother was attacked and slashed in their Union, Mo., home. Shannon Beck, who lives near the Woods' home, told friends she had given birth. But her sister-in-law, Dorothy Torrez, became suspicious when she found makeup on Abigale's forehead, hiding a strawberry-red birthmark that was widely publicized after the sensational kidnapping. Doctors said Abigale is in excellent condition.
Nightclub owners sentenced in pyrotechnics fire
Two owners of The Station nightclub in Providence, R.I., pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter chargers in connection with a 2003 fire that killed 100 people during a rock band performance. Only one owner, Michael Derderian, will go to jail with a four-year sentence at a minimum-security facility. The other received a suspended sentence. The fire started when a pyrotechnic display was used during a performance by the heavy metal band Great White, igniting foam soundproofing on the stage. Several relatives of the dead complained that the sentences were too lenient.
Venezuelan President calls Bush 'the devil'
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday that President Bush is "the devil" and accused the United States of the "domination, exploitation and pillaging of the world's people." Chavez repeated a call for reform at the United Nations, complaining that the U.S. has "an immoral veto" through its permanent membership on the powerful U.N. Security Council. He said in its current form, the United Nations "doesn't work" and is "anti-democratic." Bush administration spokesmen said Chavez' remarks do not merit response.
Thailand's military pulls off coup
In a bloodless coup that surprised world leaders, Thailand's top Army commander, Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, assumed control of the Southeast Asian nation from Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra Tuesday night. Boonyaratkalin went on national television Wednesday to say he would be "de facto prime minister" until the military junta - which has taken the name "Council for Administrative Reform" - selects a civilian replacement and drafts a new constitution. The U.S. State Department urged caution when considering travel to Thailand.
Hezbollah refuses to disarm
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah told tens of thousands of his supporters Friday that the guerrilla force will never disarm and promised to retain its arsenal of 20,000 rockets, weapons that harried Israeli towns during the recent 34-day war. Speaking at a mass rally in heavily damaged southern Beirut, Nasrallah said U.N. disarmament plans would leave Israel free to "kill and detain and bomb whoever they want and clearly we will not accept that."
Muslim protests against Pope Benedict XVI mount
Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday
he was "deeply sorry" for remarks he made last week
that called the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad "evil
and inhuman." The pope said he had been citing the words
of an ancient Byzantine emperor who was particularly angered
by Muhammad's "command to spread by the sword the faith."
But protests continue throughout the Islamic world. By Friday,
thousands of Muslims marched in Gaza and the West Bank carrying
banners denouncing the pontiff as a "coward" and an
"agent of the Americans."
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com
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