Charged in racial killings
Charged in racial killings
JACKSON, Miss. -- A reputed Ku Klux Klansman accused in the 1964 slayings of two black men pleaded innocent Thursday, and in a measure of how things have changed across the South, the judge he stood before was a black woman. With his wrists and ankles shackled, 71-year-old James Ford Seale repeatedly addressed the judge as "ma'am," a social courtesy whites typically denied to blacks in Mississippi 43 years ago. Seale was arrested Wednesday on federal charges of kidnapping and conspiracy. Prosecutors said Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, both 19, were seized and beaten by Klansmen, then thrown into the Mississippi River to drown. A second white man long suspected in the attack, reputed KKK member Charles Marcus Edwards, 72, has not been charged. People close to the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity said Edwards was cooperating with authorities.
Domestic spying case
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration sought Thursday to drop its appeal of a federal court ruling that concluded the government's domestic spying program is unconstitutional, saying the entire issue is moot since the surveillance now is monitored by a secret court. Responding, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union said they would continue to push for their day in court since President Bush retains authority to continue the warrantless spying program. The Justice Department's request has been expected since last week, when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales disclosed that the secret panel of judges who oversee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act had begun reviewing and approving applications to spy on people believed to be linked to al-Qaida.
Penalty for hiring illegals
WASHINGTON -- Federal contractors caught hiring illegal immigrants would be banned from government work for up to a decade under sanctions the Senate added unanimously to a minimum-wage bill. The Senate's action Thursday, pushed by Republican senators, was this Congress' first foray into immigration regulation, and it prompted an outcry of opposition from business groups. By a vote of 94-0, the Senate approved an amendment by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., that would impose a contract ban on companies, even if they inadvertently hired illegal workers, from seven to 10 years.
Fewer get mammograms
ATLANTA -- The percentage of American women getting mammograms has dropped slightly over the past few years, in what health officials said Thursday is a troubling sign that the battle against breast cancer may be flagging. The share of women 40 and older who said they had a mammogram in the previous two years slipped from 76.4 percent to 74.6 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate had risen dramatically over the past two decades, from 29 percent in 1987, according to American Cancer Society statistics.
3 killed in Beirut clashes
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- University students loyal to Lebanon's government clashed with Hezbollah supporters Thursday, setting cars ablaze and battling with homemade clubs and stones. The melee deepened worries that Lebanon cannot contain the political and sectarian rivalries threatening to push it toward civil war. At least three people were killed and dozens were injured before army troops backed by tanks and firing barrages of warning shots into the air dispersed most rioters. The military then declared Beirut's first curfew since 1996. The clashes, sparked by a cafeteria scuffle between pro-government Sunni Muslims and pro-Hezbollah Shiites, reinforced fears that Lebanon's sectarian divisions are erupting into violence as they did during the 1975-1990 civil war.
In the mooood for love
LONDON -- Got milk? Got a date? A group of dairy farmers is putting singles' ads on milk cartons in the hopes of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right in the far-flung countryside of Wales. The novel approach to the singles' scene coincides with Thursday's celebration of St. Dwynwen's Day, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. "My family thinks I'm nuts," said 30-year-old farmer Iwan Jones, who appears on the cartons and hasn't had a date in a year. "My friends think it's hilarious -- but everyone's taking it with kind of a lighthearted attitude." Three men and two women appear in the ads, which feature an oval photograph under the heading, "Fancy a farmer?" The address for a dating Web site, www.pishynwales.com, is also written on the stickers for those who want to follow up. Since the ads appeared Monday, the site has received 2,500 hits, or about 10 times the usual daily traffic, said Aran Jones, who runs the nonprofit operation.