Nation Digest

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Governor Reluctantly Seeks Stimulus Funds

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) requested stimulus cash for the state's schools Monday, telling the U.S. education secretary that he was doing so under duress.

The e-mail request to Arne Duncan for $700 million in bailout money caps months of criticism by Sanford of the $787 billion federal stimulus package. The state Supreme Court ordered him Thursday to follow a state budget law and request the money.

Sanford complained to Duncan that the stimulus bill leaves future taxpayers picking up the tab for today's problems and created budget problems down the road.

-- Associated Press


University Fires Wife Of Former Governor

North Carolina State University eliminated former first lady Mary Easley's $170,000-a-year job Monday, as newly released documents indicated that her husband, former governor Mike Easley (D), was involved in her hiring.

The termination of Mary Easley's contract capped months of questions about the job, including some raised by federal investigators.

It also came after resignations of top university officials, including Chancellor James L. Oblinger, who announced Monday that he was stepping down.

E-mails between school officials and a senior adviser to Mike Easley made public Monday suggested that he had served as an intermediary between his wife and the university when the school hired her.

An attorney for the Easleys had no immediate comment.

-- Associated Press


Work Is Begun on Rail Tunnel to NYC

Construction began Monday on the nation's largest transportation project, an $8.7 billion rail tunnel into New York City that is expected to shave several minutes off the time it takes commuters to reach Manhattan from New Jersey.

The 8.8 mile-long rail tunnel under the Hudson River will require the removal of 2 million cubic yards of rock and soil -- roughly a third as much as the Hoover Dam -- and will take eight years to build.

The tunnel, which will add two rail lines, will increase the number of NJ Transit passenger trains passing under the river during rush hour from 23 to 48.

-- Associated Press


Judge Says Mediation In UAE Case Unlikely

A federal judge in Washington expressed doubts about his authority to interfere in the case of a U.S. citizen facing trial in the United Arab Emirates on terrorism charges.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson said, however, that he finds allegations that the United States may have ordered the arrest and interrogation of Naji Hamdan "extremely disturbing if they are true."

Hamdan is set to go on trial Sunday on three terrorism charges. He denies the charges and says the only evidence against him are statements he made while being tortured by his interrogators, with an American official involved in the questioning.

-- Associated Press

Ore. Mother Allegedly Cut Open; Baby Taken: Authorities in Hillsboro, Ore., said a pregnant woman found dead in the crawl space of a suburban Oregon home had been cut open and her baby delivered from her womb. The Washington County Sheriff's Office said Monday that it could not be determined whether the infant son of Heather Snively died before or after he was removed from the womb. A 27-year-old Beaverton woman was to be arraigned Monday on a murder charge in Snively's death.

Power Balance Flips in N.Y. Senate: Republicans and two dissident Democrats appeared to take control of New York's Senate on Monday after the two New York City renegades voted with the GOP to throw the fledgling Democratic majority out of power. The decision by Sens. Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens to join the coalition gave Republicans a 32 to 30 voting edge.

-- From News Services

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