Man released after being questioned about slayings



Man released after beingquestioned about slayings
SANTA ROSA, Calif. -- Authorities cleared a Wisconsin man who had been sought following the shooting deaths of two camp counselors, saying he was not a suspect and apologizing to his parents for naming him in a police alert.
Nicholas Edward Scarseth, 21, called police after it was announced that he was a "potential witness" in the killings. He was interviewed Tuesday, passed a polygraph test and was then released in what his parents say was a case of mistaken identity
"He was cooperative, and was released after our interview," Lt. Dave Edmonds of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Wednesday. "We presently do not view Mr. Scarseth as a suspect."
Detectives visited the home of Scarseth's mother in Wisconsin to apologize for the confusion. "It was all a big mix-up," Karen Scarseth told The Associated Press in a phone interview, "a big hullabaloo about nothing."
Dozens of detectives are investigating the murders of Lindsay Cutshall, 23, and her fianc & eacute;, Jason Allen, 26, who were found Aug. 18 shot to death in their sleeping bags on a remote beach near the Northern California hamlet of Jenner.
Census: More Americanslived in poverty in 2003
WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.3 million last year, while the ranks of the uninsured swelled by 1.4 million, the Census Bureau reported today.
It was the third straight annual increase for both categories. While not unexpected, it was a double dose of bad economic news during a tight re-election campaign for President Bush.
Approximately 35.8 million people lived below the poverty line in 2003, or about 12.5 percent of the population, according to the bureau.
That was up from 34.5 million, or 12.1 percent in 2002.
The rise was more dramatic for children. There were 12.9 million living in poverty last year, or 17.6 percent of the under-18 population. That was an increase of about 800,000 from 2002, when 16.7 percent of all children were in poverty.
Nearly 45 million people lacked health insurance, or 15.6 percent of the population.
That was up from 43.5 million in 2002, or 15.2 percent, but was a smaller increase than in the two previous years.
Fashion show scandal
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The city's police and fire departments are investigating charges that employees were part of a fashion show that included stripping and simulated sex.
Sunday's event, "Battle of the Shields: Memphis Firefighter and Police Fashion Gala," came under fire after a columnist from The Commercial Appeal wrote that she saw nearly nude men on stage, their private parts covered in soapsuds.
At least two women, Wendi C. Thomas wrote, were "hoisted in the air, their legs around men's waists." At least one person swung a badge, and others wore department pants and held nightsticks, she wrote.
A show organizer told Thomas all the models were from the police and fire departments.
"We've got allegations that were made, and we will see if it's true," police spokesman Inspector Jim Tusant said.
Arafat rebuffs reformers
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat turned back another effort by critics to force him to reform his bloated, corruption-plagued administration, as his parliament made do with a pledge for future action.
Arafat stonewalled his detractors once again Wednesday in the latest confrontation over administrative reforms.
Refusing to sign presidential decrees needed for restructuring his administration, Arafat instead pledged to take the necessary steps in a letter to the parliament, and the lawmakers approved it, 31-12.
The recommendations included forming a viable government capable of fighting corruption more effectively and restoring law and order.
33-year-old panda dies
BEIJING -- The oldest panda raised in captivity has died at an eastern China zoo at the age of 33, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.
Peipei died Aug. 13 of organ failure at a zoo in Hangzhou, a city southwest of Shanghai, the report said. It said the panda's age was the equivalent of 100 in human terms.
Giant pandas are generally found in temperate forests in central China.
Among the best recognized -- but rarest -- animals in the world, as few as 1,600 giant pandas survive in the mountain forests of central China.
Another 120 are in Chinese breeding facilities and zoos, and about 20 live in zoos outside China, according to the Web site of the National Zoo in Washington.
Associated Press

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