Cunningham gets prison

Cunningham gets prison
SAN DIEGO -- Former Rep. Randy Cunningham, who collected $2.4 million in homes, yachts, antique furnishings and other bribes on a scale unparalleled in the history of Congress, was sentenced Friday to eight years and four months in prison, the longest term meted out to a congressman in decades. Cunningham, known as "Duke," who resigned from Congress in disgrace last year, was spared the 10-year maximum by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns. He also was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution for back taxes. Cunningham, a Republican who resigned last year in disgrace, accepted money from defense contractors and others in exchange for steering government contracts their way and other favors.
Iran native held in hit-run
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Authorities planned to charge a former University of North Carolina student with attempted murder after he allegedly drove a sport utility vehicle through a popular gathering spot on campus Friday, clipping and scattering startled bystanders. No one was seriously hurt. Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, 22, who graduated in December, was in custody. The FBI joined the case because Taheri-azar, a native of Iran, "allegedly made statements that he acted to avenge the American treatment of Muslims," said agent Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman in Washington.
Immigrants caught in raid
LOS ANGELES -- Authorities raided a squalid house Friday, capturing 70 illegal immigrants and four suspected smugglers believed to have been holding migrants hostage while awaiting payment. Packed into the grimy one-story bungalow were 70 people from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Mexico. Some slept 20 to a room, authorities said.
Bank robber sentenced
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- After tearfully apologizing to the bank tellers she robbed, the young woman dubbed the "cell phone bandit" was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison. Candice R. Martinez, 20, gained notoriety when a surveillance camera video showed her calmly chatting on her cell phone while a nervous teller complied with a typed note demanding cash. The sentence was identical to one Lee handed down a week earlier to Martinez's boyfriend, Dave C. Williams, 19. Williams admitted to being on the other end of the cell phone, as well as driving the getaway car and using his computer to write the note.
Boot camp death retesting
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The family of a teenager who died after a violent altercation with juvenile boot camp guards said Friday that a second medical examiner and an independent pathologist will conduct a new autopsy on the boy. Martin Lee Anderson's family is having his body exhumed so they can challenge the original autopsy that concluded the 14-year-old died from hemorrhaging caused by the usually benign sickle cell trait, and not from the 30-minute altercation. The ordeal was captured by a camp security camera, which shows guards kneeing, beating and dragging Anderson. The boy had entered the camp on a probation violation.
Benzene in soft drinks
WASHINGTON -- When small amounts of benzene, a known cancer-causing chemical, were found in some soft drinks 16 years ago, the Food and Drug Administration never told the public. That's because the beverage industry told the government it would handle the problem and the FDA thought the problem was solved. A decade and a half later, benzene has turned up again. The FDA has found levels in some soft drinks higher than what it found in 1990, and two to four times higher than what's considered safe for drinking water. Both the FDA and the beverage industry said the amounts were small and that the problem didn't appear to be widespread.
Progress in nuclear talks
VIENNA, Austria -- Iran and the European Union inched toward a possible compromise Friday that diplomats said would allow Tehran to run a scaled-down uranium enrichment program despite its potential for misuse in building atomic weapons. The meeting Friday ended without agreement, but the discussions were significant because the Europeans and the United States have for years opposed allowing Iran any kind of enrichment capability.
5 Canadian soldiers hurt
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- An Afghan suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives into a Canadian military convoy in southern Afghanistan on Friday, touching off a blast that wounded five soldiers, officials said.
Combined dispatches

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