Saddam’s half brother beheaded in double execution

The Iraqi government’s attempt yesterday to close a chapter on Saddam Hussein’s repressive regime – by hanging two of his henchmen – only appeared to anger many of Saddam’s fellow Sunni Muslims after the former leader’s half brother was decapitated on the gallows.

A thickset Barzan Ibrahim plunged through the trap door and was beheaded by the jerk of the thick beige rope at the end of his fall, in the same the execution chamber where Saddam was hanged a little over two weeks earlier.

A government video of the hanging, played at a briefing for reporters, showed Ibrahim’s body passing the camera in a blur. The body came to rest on its chest while the severed head lay a few yards away, still wearing the black hood pulled on moments before by one of Ibrahim’s five masked executioners.

Judge says no to having jury in Princess Di case

A judge in Britain ruled yesterday that she alone would determine what caused the deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend, rejecting arguments that a jury was the best way to ensure justice.

In the ruling, Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss said a jury – unlike a judge – would be forbidden under British law from considering the conspiracy theories that have dogged the investigation into the Aug. 31, 1997, deaths of Diana and Dodi Fayed.

“In particular, the jury would not be able to answer questions on allegations that a person, group or organization had been guilty of criminal activities in respect of the death of the princess or Dodi,” she said.

Environmentalists, state criticize manure spraying

State regulators and environmental activists are criticizing operators of two dairy megafarms in southern Michigan for spraying manure-filled liquid waste in the air and piping it into fields in violation of a court order.

A spokeswoman for the family owned dairies, which have about 5,600 cows in all, says the waste disposal was an emergency measure to keep multimillion-gallon waste lagoons from spilling.

“It’s a situation due to the very wet fall that we had,” said Cecilia Conway, whose Dutch-born father co-founded Vreba-Hoff Dairy LLC. Waterlogged soil prevented operators from spreading the manure in the fields before cold weather set in, she said.

Jury selection begins in politicized CIA leak case

Potential jurors in the perjury trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby likely will be asked their opinions of the Bush administration, political scandals and the Iraq war today, foreshadowing the political tenor of a lengthy trial.

Libby is accused of lying to investigators about his conversations with reporters regarding outed CIA officer Valerie Plame. Plame’s identity was leaked to reporters in 2003 after her husband criticized the Bush administration’s prewar intelligence on Iraq.

The leak set off a political firestorm and an FBI investigation that Libby is accused of obstructing.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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