Hearing Delayed Again for MP

In Abu Ghraib Prison Scandal

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Pfc. Lynndie R. England, one of seven Army military police officers charged in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, was read her rights in a military courtroom Monday moments before the proceedings against her were postponed for the second time.

England, 21, appeared in court for less than five minutes, answering questions from Col. Denise Arn with a quiet "Yes, ma'am" or "No, ma'am."

The session was to be the start of a preliminary hearing on charges that England abused prisoners in Iraq and committed indecent acts with other soldiers, but the hearing was delayed until Aug. 3 to allow a new military defense attorney to work on England's case.

England and six other MPs have been charged with abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison, and the Article 32 hearing will determine whether England will face charges at a court-martial. England's attorneys have said that she was a low-level desk clerk who was following orders from higher-ranking soldiers. She is not in custody and has been performing administrative tasks at Fort Bragg since March.

* LOS ANGELES -- The first "voluntary repatriation" flight ferrying home Mexicans who crossed into the United States illegally took off from Arizona carrying about 130 immigrants who said they wanted to return. The flight left Tucson airport for Mexico City, where passengers got bus tickets home as part of a controversial U.S. crackdown on illegal immigration.

* HONOLULU -- A federal judge ordered that $40 million that once belonged to the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos should go to plaintiffs who successfully sued the Marcos estate for $2 billion. U.S. District Judge Manuel Real said the assets should be paid to 9,539 Filipinos who were victims of human rights abuses.

* NEW YORK -- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, facing pressure to sanction Catholic politicians who break from church policy, said Vatican Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger approves of its approach to allow individual bishops to decide if politicians who support abortion rights or euthanasia should be denied Holy Communion.

* MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. -- A woman accused of killing her brother-in-law by spiking his smoothie with antifreeze pleaded not guilty to murder. An attorney for Maryann Neabor, 53, said she put chemicals in the drink but intended only to make Jonathan Neabor sick so she could take control of his money.

* SMYRNA, Del. -- An inmate serving 699 years for rapes took a woman hostage at a state prison before he was killed by a sharpshooter, authorities said. Scott A. Miller, 45, had been convicted of multiple sex offenses and kidnapping charges involving attacks on nine women in 1997.

* SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Nine members of a politically connected family, including a state legislator and the former head of the Springfield Housing Authority, were charged with skimming money from the agency for more than 10 years. The 95-count federal indictment accuses the Asselin family of using the money to make improvements to their homes and to aid Democratic state Rep. Christopher P. Asselin's reelection campaign. Asselin's father, Raymond Asselin Sr., headed the housing authority for 33 years.

-- From News Services and Staff Reports