Embattled DA asks forprosecutor for Duke case
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Facing ethics charges that could lead to his disbarment, the embattled district attorney in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case asked the state attorney general Friday to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the case. Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, said District Attorney Mike Nifong made the request in a letter. Nifong's attorney insisted the veteran prosecutor was not running from a weak case and said Nifong was disappointed he would not be able to take the matter to trial. "He feels, as a result of the accusations against him, that he would be a distraction, and he wants to make sure the accuser receives a fair trial," attorney David Freedman told The Associated Press. "He still believes in the case. He just believes his continued presence would hurt her." Nifong met with the accuser this week to tell her of his decision, Freedman said. Attorney General Roy Cooper's office declined to comment on whether it would take the case.
Former president calledCarter a 'disaster'
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- In 25 years of interviews with his hometown paper that could only be released upon his death, former President Ford once called Jimmy Carter a "disaster" who ranked alongside Warren Harding, and said Ronald Reagan received far too much credit for ending the Cold War. "It makes me very irritated when Reagan's people pound their chests and say that because we had this big military buildup, the Kremlin collapsed," Ford told The Grand Rapids Press. Ford contended his own negotiation of the Helsinki accords on human rights did more to win the Cold War than Reagan's military buildup. The best president of his lifetime, Ford said, was a more moderate Republican: Dwight D. Eisenhower. Harry Truman "would get very high marks" for his handling of foreign crises, Ford said. He also praised Richard Nixon as a foreign policy master, despite the Watergate scandal that drove him from office. Ford considered John F. Kennedy overrated and Bill Clinton average. According to the newspaper, Ford declined to rate George W. Bush, saying he did not know him well enough.
Missing boys found alive;man charged in kidnapping
BEAUFORT, Mo. -- A 13-year-old boy who vanished from the gravel road near his home five days ago was found alive Friday about 60 miles away in a suburban St. Louis home, along with a 15-year-old boy missing since 2002, authorities said. The boys were found in a Kirkwood home belonging to Michael Devlin, 41, who has been charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, Sheriff Gary Toelke said. The sheriff said both boys appeared unharmed. William Ownby, who goes by Ben, appeared somewhat dazed as he walked inside the sheriff's department, where he was reunited with his family Friday night. "His eyes lit up like silver dollars," said Loyd Bailie, who was escorted to the Franklin County Sherrif's Department with Ben's parents. Everyone broke into tears and Ben's parents embraced him as tightly as they could, Bailie said. The straight-A student and Boy Scout was last seen after he stepped off his school bus and ran toward his Beaufort home down a gravel road on Monday.
Reports: Russia cutsduty on oil exports
MOSCOW -- Russia has reportedly agreed to slash the duty on oil exports to Belarus by 70 percent and Belarus will share with Moscow a substantial amount of profits from the refined oil products it sells to Europe. Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov was quoted Friday by Russian news agencies as making the announcement after some 10 hours of tense talks in Moscow with his Belarusian counterpart, Sergei Sidorsky. "In fact, we will for example earn 53 from every metric ton (of oil) exported to Belarus," Fradkov was quoted as saying by Interfax. That is down from a duty of 180 per ton. A Kremlin spokesman said he had no information on the talks; a top official with Russian state-controlled pipeline operator OAO Transneft also declined to comment.
Bush administration:No plan to strike Iran
WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials said Friday there was no immediate plan to strike targets in Iran, but they also wouldn't rule out military action. Their comments came after President Bush vowed in a prime-time address to the nation to go after Iranian terrorist networks feeding the insurgency in Iraq. The U.S. and Iran have been involved in a bitter standoff over Tehran's nuclear program, a clash that has intensified because the United States says Iran helped provide roadside bombs that have killed American troops in Iraq. Tensions inched upward another notch this week after five Iranians were detained by U.S.-led forces after a raid on an Iranian government liaison office in northern Iraq. Bush's remarks Wednesday in a speech announcing his plan to boost U.S. forces in Iraq prompted questions from members of Congress about whether the U.S. is considering attacks on Iranian territory. Bush administration officials have long refused to rule out any options against Iran but said military action would be a last resort.
Associated Press
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