U.S. drops its fight over inmate’s release

The U.S. government has dropped its opposition to releasing a Guantanamo Bay prisoner with severe mental and physical illnesses, apparently conceding the argument that he is far too sick to keep locked up at the U.S. base in Cuba.

In court papers filed late Wednesday, lawyers for the Justice Department said the government would not object to a judge issuing a release order for Ibrahim Idris. The native of Sudan has been held for more than 11 years as an enemy combatant despite being diagnosed as mentally ill soon after his arrival at Guantanamo.

The court filing was couched in careful language that avoided saying why the government would no longer resist legal efforts to release Idris. A federal judge must still issue the order before Idris can be released after a 30-day notification period for Congress.

— Associated Press

Gulf Coast braces for tropical storm

From the Louisiana coast to the beaches of the Florida Panhandle, Gulf Coast residents prepared Thursday for a possible hit from Tropical Storm Karen, which threatened to become the first named tropical system to menace the United States this year.

Karen was forecast to lash the northern Gulf Coast over the weekend as a weak hurricane or tropical storm.

Offshore, at least two oil companies said they were evacuating nonessential personnel and securing rigs and platforms. The White House said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was recalling some workers furloughed because of the government shutdown to prepare for the storm.

— Associated Press


City official pleads no contest to charges: Robert Rizzo, the disgraced former city manager of Bell, Calif., who was accused of masterminding a brazen municipal corruption scandal, pleaded no contest Thursday to 69 counts of fraud, misappropriation of public funds and other charges. He was charged with stealing more than $5 million from the modest, blue-collar city. It was revealed in 2010 that he was giving himself an annual salary and benefits package of $1.5 million, including $800,000 in wages.

California to give licenses to illegal immigrants: Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Thursday adding California to the growing list of states allowing immigrants living in the country illegally to obtain driver’s licenses. The licenses would carry a distinction on the front of the card that states the document may be used for driving, not as federal identification.

— From news services