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NATION IN BRIEF

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Guantanamo Detainee Alleges Being Threatened With Rape

A Canadian detainee at the Guantanamo Bay military prison has alleged that he was repeatedly threatened with rape during interrogations.

Omar Khadr's nine-page affidavit, signed on Feb. 22, also includes a partially censored description of regaining consciousness after his capture to discover that he was being interrogated in an American field hospital in Afghanistan. He was 15.

Once released from medical care to the Bagram detention center, he said, "I was interrogated many, many times. For about the first two weeks to a month that I was there, I would be brought into the interrogation room on a stretcher."

Khadr, now 21, is accused of killing a U.S. Army commando in a July 2002 firefight. His affidavit was admitted by the court last week during pretrial arguments.

New Governor of N.Y. Discloses Affairs With a 'Number of Women'

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Newly installed New York Gov. David A. Paterson (D) revealed on Tuesday that he had affairs with a "number of women," including a state employee, but he said that fact will not affect his ability to lead.

Paterson said at a news conference, with his wife at his side, that the affairs happened during a rough patch in his marriage and that the employee did not work for him. He stressed that he did not advance her career and that no campaign or state money was spent on the affairs.

"I do not feel I have broken my commitment to the citizens of New York state," Paterson said.

Michigan Ban on Affirmative Action Is Upheld

LANSING, Mich. -- A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that challenged a Michigan law banning racial and gender preferences in government hiring and public-university admissions. The ruling upholds the constitutionality of a measure approved by Michigan voters in 2006. The proposal passed with 58 percent of the vote.

Detroit Council Urges Mayor to Step Down

DETROIT -- The Detroit City Council called for the resignation of Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick, who is being investigated over an alleged affair that he swore under oath he did not have. He quickly rejected the request. The resolution, which passed 7 to 1, amounted to no more than a "no confidence" vote because the council lacks the power to force Kilpatrick to step down.

Ex-Soldier Blames Media for Abu Ghraib Scandal

Lynndie R. England, the public face of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, told a German magazine that she was sorry for appearing in photographs of detainees in the notorious Iraq prison. She said she thinks the scenes of torture and humiliation served as a powerful rallying point for anti-American insurgents. England conceded to the newsweekly Stern that the published photos incensed insurgents in Iraq, "but I didn't make it worldwide." She added: "I feel sorry and wrong about what I did. But it would not have escalated to what it did all over the world if it wouldn't have been for someone leaking it to the media."

Part of I-95 Closed to Fix Cracked Column

PHILADELPHIA -- A three-mile stretch of Interstate 95 was shut down for emergency repairs on a six-foot crack in a concrete support pillar. The work closed northbound and southbound lanes of the highway north of downtown Philadelphia, a state transportation spokesman said. Officials said it will take two to four days to reopen the freeway.

-- From News Services

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