Defense contractor pays $5M to Iraqis
A defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to torture detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has paid $5.28 million to 71 former inmates held there and at other U.S.-run detention sites between 2003 and 2007.
The settlement in the case involving Engility Holdings Inc. of Chantilly, Va., marks the first successful effort by lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers to collect money from a U.S. defense contractor in lawsuits alleging torture. Another contractor, CACI, is expected to go to trial over similar allegations this summer.
Wife: Poisoned lottery winner had no foes
The wife of a Chicago lottery winner who was poisoned with cyanide said Tuesday she was devastated by his death and cannot believe her husband could have had enemies.
Shabana Ansari spoke to The Associated Press a day after news emerged that 46-year-old Urooj Khan’s death in July was the result of cyanide poisoning and not natural causes, as authorities initially concluded.
Prosecutors, Chicago police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating Khan’s death as a homicide, but they haven’t given any details.
Officials: Chavez won’t attend swearing-in
President Hugo Chavez won’t be able to attend his scheduled swearing-in this week, Venezuela’s government announced Tuesday, confirming suspicions that the leader’s illness will keep him in a Cuban hospital past the key date.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro broke the news in a letter to National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, saying on the recommendation of Chavez’s medical team, his recovery process “should be extended beyond Jan. 10” and for that reason he won’t be able to attend Thursday’s scheduled inauguration.
2012 left heat records, Americans deep-fried
America set an off-the-charts heat record in 2012.
A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed the average annual U.S. temperature last year up to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit, the government said Tuesday. That’s a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998.
Breaking temperature records by an entire degree is unprecedented, scientists say. Normally, records are broken by a tenth of a degree or so.
Judge: GI in WikiLeaks case illegally punished
fort meade, Md.
An Army private suspected of sending reams of classified documents to the secret-sharing WikiLeaks website was illegally punished at a Marine Corps brig and should get 112 days cut from any prison sentence he receives if convicted, a military judge ruled Tuesday.
Army Col. Denise Lind ruled during a pretrial hearing that authorities went too far in their strict confinement of Pfc. Bradley Manning for nine months in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., in 2010 and 2011. Manning was confined to a windowless cell 23 hours a day, sometimes with no clothing.
Manning faces 22 charges, including aiding the enemy, which carries a maximum sentence of life behind bars. His trial begins March 6.
Killing of 4 by feral dogs opens debate
Police scoured an urban park for feral dogs and tested dozens of captured animals Tuesday in a hunt for those responsible for four fatal maulings that have set off a fierce debate about how to handle the thousands of stray dogs that roam the massive city.
Authorities have captured 25 dogs near the scene of the attacks in the capital’s poor Iztapalapa district, but rather than calm residents, photos of the forlorn dogs brought a wave of sympathy for the animals, doubts about their involvement in the killings and debate about government handling of the stray-dog problem.
Officials were testing the captured dogs’ fur for blood, and examining their stomach contents to determine if they were the killers of the woman, her baby and a teen couple.