Congress OKs $662B defense bill
Congress passed a massive $662 billion defense bill Thursday after months of wrangling over how to handle captured terrorist suspects without violating Americans’ constitutional rights.
The Senate voted 86-13 for the measure and will send it to President Barack Obama for his signature. The bill would authorize money for military personnel, weapons systems, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national-security programs in the Energy Department for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Feds issue scathing report on sheriff
A scathing U.S. Justice Department report released Thursday found that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office carried out a blatant pattern of discrimination against Latinos and held a “systematic disregard” for the Constitution amid a series of immigration crackdowns that have turned the lawman into a prominent national political figure. Arpaio struck a defiant tone in response to the report, calling it a politically motivated attack by the Obama administration that will make Arizona unsafe by keeping illegal immigrants on the street.
US to adopt limits on chimp research
Days in the laboratory are numbered for chimpanzees, humans’ closest relative. Chimps paved astronauts’ way into space and were vital in creating some important medicines. But the government said Thursday that science has advanced enough that from now on, chimpanzees essentially should be a last resort in medical research — a move that puts the United States more in line with the rest of the world.
Carlos the Jackal gets another life term
Carlos the Jackal, the flamboyant Venezuelan who symbolized Cold War terrorism, was sentenced to life in prison — again — in a Paris trial that ended late Thursday with him rallying for revolution and weeping for Moammar Gadhafi.
Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, hasn’t seen freedom since French agents spirited him out of Sudan in a sack in 1994. He’s already serving a life sentence in a French prison for a triple murder in 1975, the worst punishment meted out in a country that does not have the death penalty.
Russian vessel lists near Antarctica
WELLINGTON, New Zealand
A Russian fishing vessel with 32 crew members was in trouble and taking on water near Antarctica today. Heavy sea ice was hampering rescue efforts, and officials said it could be four or five days before anybody reaches the ship to try to rescue the crew.
The Sparta was listing at 13 degrees next to the Antarctic ice shelf in the Ross Sea, according to Maritime New Zealand. The agency said that the crew was safe and was throwing cargo overboard to lighten the ship and that some of the crew had boarded lifeboats as a precautionary measure.
Army hearing today in document leaks
FORT MEADE, Md.
After months of delay, the U.S. military is set today to make its case for court-martialing Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of endangering national security by engineering the largest-ever leak of classified documents.
At stake for the government: deterring future leaks of potentially damaging secrets. For Manning: a possible life sentence.
The case has spawned an international movement in support of Manning, seen by anti-war activists as a hero who helped expose American mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan. To others, he is a villain, even a traitor, who betrayed his oath of loyalty by deliberately spilling his government’s secrets.