Man Admits Supplying

Al Qaeda With Equipment

NEW YORK -- A Pakistani American man admitted in a closed court hearing to supplying al Qaeda with money, night-vision goggles and other equipment to be used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, according to a transcript unsealed this week.

Mohammed Junaid Babar, 29, of Queens revealed his role while pleading guilty to multiple counts of providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Transcripts of the guilty plea, which was entered in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in June, were released by prosecutors this week.

In his secret plea deal, Babar admitted to meeting with a high-ranking al Qaeda official in South Waziristan, Pakistan, near the Afghan border, earlier this year and turning over equipment, including goggles and waterproof socks.

Homeland Security Officer

Indicted in Tourist Run-In

BUFFALO -- A Department of Homeland Security officer accused of throwing a Chinese tourist against a wall and spraying her with pepper spray was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury.

Robert Rhodes, 43, is charged with criminally violating the civil rights of Zhao Yan, 37, by causing bodily injury to her in the July 21 altercation in Niagara Falls.

Rhodes, of Niagara Falls, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, U.S. Attorney Michael Battle said.

* CROMWELL, Conn. -- A Connecticut nuclear engineer said he has become enmeshed in a federal terrorism investigation -- targeted for supporting a militant Islamic Web site when all he may have done was offer to help humanitarian efforts in a war-torn region. Syed R. Maswood, 41, a Bangladeshi immigrant who became a U.S. citizen in 1997, has not been charged with any crime but has been placed on a U.S. "no-fly" list -- a watch list that includes suspected terrorists, he said.

* MEMPHIS -- Lauderdale County officials agreed in federal court Wednesday to stop running what amounts to a debtors' prison. The agreement stems from a lawsuit by two men who say they were arrested or threatened with arrest over debts that can be collected only through civil court proceedings. Federal Judge J. Daniel Breen said such arrests violate the 13th Amendment ban on slavery and involuntary servitude.

* An obese Massachusetts woman and her 8-month-old fetus died of complications 18 months after stomach-stapling surgery, an apparent first that is leading to warnings about the risks of pregnancy soon after the surgery. The deaths raise concerns because most of the 110,000 people who have gastric bypass surgery each year in this country are women in their childbearing years, say doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who tried to save the mother and fetus. They reported on the case in a letter published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

-- From News Services