By THOMAS HARGROVE
Scripps Howard News Service
October 28, 2006
October became the fourth bloodiest month for U.S. troops in Iraq this week and American and Iraqi leaders clashed angrily over proposed timetables for ending escalating sectarian violence. At least 97 Americans have died this month. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the United States does not have the right to impose "timetables" on his government. He contradicted U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's claims that al-Maliki had already agreed to set timelines to reduce violence and stop death squads. The two men issued a joint statement Friday saying Iraq is committed to a "good and strong" relationship with the United States.
Safavian weeps but still gets 18 months in Abramoff scandal
Former White House procurement officer David Safavian was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday for obstruction of justice by concealing his relationship with convicted influence-peddling lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Safavian had wept earlier when asking for leniency by saying Abramoff manipulated him. But Safavian also denied the case against him. "There was no conspiracy to defraud anyone, least of all the taxpayers," Safavian said. It wasn't what U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman wanted to hear. The judge gave Safavian a stiff penalty under federal sentencing guidelines.
White House denies Cheney supports water torture
Vice President Dick Cheney came under fire for remarks made on a Fargo, N.D., radio station Tuesday that it's "a no-brainer for me" when radio interviewer asked if "a dunk in the water is a no-brainer if it can save lives." White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said Cheney was not endorsing a torture technique called "water boarding" in which detainees suffer simulated drowning. "The vice president of the United States is not going to be talking about water boarding. Never would, never does, never will," Snow said. "You think Dick Cheney's going to slip up on something like this? No, come on."
Rumsfeld wants Iraq critics to "just back off"
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that Iraqi war critics who seek specific deadlines for progress should "just back off." He told a Pentagon news conference that conditions in the country are too uncertain to be setting deadlines. "You're looking for some sort of a guillotine to come falling down if some date isn't met," Rumsfeld told reporters. "That is not what this is about."
Police find secret documents in a New Mexico mobile home
Police discovered classified documents from the Los Alamos National Laboratory while conducting a drug raid at a New Mexico mobile home, federal authorities said Tuesday. Police arrested a man suspected of domestic violence and of dealing methamphetamine. The FBI has begun an investigation. The federal charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
Ford's last Taurus rolls off Georgia assembly line
The Ford Taurus, one of the most popular designs in the car company's history, ceased production Friday when Ford closed its assembly plant at Hapeville, Ga., at the cost of 1,950 jobs. Ford sold more than 7 million Taurus sedans in the last 21 years. The plant, which dates back to the late 1940s, has recently been ranked as one of the top 10 most productive assembly lines in North America. The last Taurus to roll off the line was purchased by Chick-fil-A restaurant chain founder Truett Cathy, who said his first restaurant was supported by workers from the Hapeville plant.
Marine private pleads guilty in death of Iraqi civilian
A Marine pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of Hashim Ibrahim, 52, who authorities said was killed by seven Marines and a Navy corpsman. "Anything like this would present an argument against the war," Pfc. John Jodka said. But court martial judge Lt. Col. David Jones said he's "not interested in political implications." Jodka testified his squad wanted to kidnap and kill a known insurgent in the Iraqi town of Hamdania last April. He said the men found out later they had killed the wrong target in the darkness.
Fox makes pro-stem cell commercials for Democrats
Actor Michael J. Fox was back on television this week, showing symptoms of Parkinson's disease as he spoke in favor of Democratic candidates who support stem cell research. Fox shook and rocked in videotaped ads that campaign for candidates like Benjamin Cardin, who is running for the Senate in Maryland, Claire McCaskill, Senate candidate from Missouri, and for Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle. "What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans. Americans like me," Fox said in McCaskill's ad. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested Fox was exaggerating his condition.
Tehran increases uranium production capacity
Iran announced this week it has doubled its capacity to enrich uranium by successfully building a second network of centrifuges capable of producing eventual weapons-grade material in defiance of the U.N. Security Council. The Iranian Students News Agency quoted an anonymous official saying, "We are injecting gas into the second cascade, which we installed two weeks ago." U.N. members are drafting a resolution to impose limited sanctions on the Islamic republic because of its ongoing enrichment program.
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com
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