NATION IN BRIEF

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Five Seek to Fill DeLay's Post

HOUSTON -- Five people will run in the Nov. 7 special election to temporarily fill the seat vacated by former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R), the office of the Texas secretary of state said. The special election will be held the same day as the general election.

Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, backed by Republicans as a write-in candidate in the general election, has been joined by three other Republicans, including former congressman Steve Stockman, and Libertarian Bob Smither.

Nick Lampson, the Democratic candidate for DeLay's seat, has said he will not run in the special election but will instead focus his attention on the general election.

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· CAPE CANAVERAL -- Four days after evacuating from the Kennedy Space Center as Tropical Storm Ernesto approached, the six crew members of the space shuttle Atlantis flew back to Florida on Saturday to prepare for a launch Wednesday.

· NEW ORLEANS -- Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman was accused in a lawsuit of violating the civil rights of inmates in his custody during Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana alleged in the suit that Gusman failed to ensure the safety and proper care of inmates, while forcibly keeping them in the storm's path and resulting floodwaters. Gusman had not seen the suit and could not comment on it, his spokeswoman said.

· DENVER -- The Boulder police chief defended his department's investigation of the 10-year-old slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, saying that more than 160 suspects were investigated and $2 million spent. "A few people have accused the department of focusing too narrowly in its investigation of this homicide when that was not the case," Chief Mark Beckner said in a statement posted on the police department Web site.

· CASSADAGA, N.Y. -- Seventy-five additional state troopers were called up to help in the hunt for an escaped inmate suspected of ambushing two troopers Thursday. The two officers remain in critical condition. Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, who escaped from jail in April, is also suspected in the wounding of a third state trooper, numerous burglaries and theft at a gun shop.

· MARSHVILLE, N.C. -- An angry mob fatally beat a man whom they mistakenly thought was involved in the disappearance of their friend, shortly before police arrested and charged another person in the crime. Ten men, ages 16 to 30, were charged with murder in what Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey called "the worst beating attack I've ever seen."

· ORLANDO -- A man was arrested and charged with bank robbery after a dye pack in the bills he is accused of taking exploded in the crotch of his pants. Officers responding to the bank's alarm stopped to question Kenneth Ray Brooks when they noticed his discomfort and the bright red dye on both his hands, police said.

-- From News Services

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