Bush releases National Guard records

WASHINGTON

The White House, trying to end doubts about President
Bush’s Vietnam-era military service, released documents
yesterday that it said proved he had “met his
requirements” in the Texas Air National Guard.

“These documents outline the days on which he was paid.
That means he served,” said Bush spokesman Scott McClellan.
However, there were still gaps in the record.

“The handful of documents released today by the White
House creates more questions than answers,” said Democratic
National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

McAuliffe had helped reignite the story earlier this month when
he charged Bush had gone “AWOL.” With Vietnam War
veteran John Kerry emerging as the Democratic presidential
front-runner, Democrats have been trying to stoke longstanding
questions about Bush’s service in the Guard during the
war.

Bush joined in 1968, and spent most of his service time based
near Houston. But in May 1972 he requested and received a temporary
assignment with the Alabama National Guard so he could serve as
political director on the Senate campaign of Winton
“Red” Blount, a family friend. Bush says he recalls
showing up for drills in Alabama, but his supporters have struggled
to prove it.

 

Sept. 11 commission to receive more access

WASHINGTON

The federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks will
get greater access to classified intelligence briefings prepared
for President Bush under an agreement announced yesterday with the
White House.

The 10-member, bipartisan panel had been barred from reviewing
notes taken by three commissioners and the commission’s
executive director, Philip Zelikow, who reviewed the data in
December but couldn’t take the summaries with them. Under the
agreement, the entire commission was allowed to read versions of
the summaries that were edited by the White House.

Commissioners reviewed the materials in a daylong meeting
yesterday and said the information provided a better understanding
of what the government knew prior to Sept. 11. The panel now is
seeking additional interviews with several officials, including
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

“The report we have today raised some questions,”
said former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, chairman of the
commission. “There are questions that go to what happened,
the history of al-Qaida and the history of the Clinton and Bush
administrations.”

 

New cases of bird flu reported in Delaware

DOVER, Del.

Officials responded to a new discovery of bird flu yesterday by
ordering a quarantine of 80 farms and the slaughter of 72,000 more
chickens. The swift action was aimed at averting more bans on U.S.
exports.

The second case of disease was found in a commercial flock of
roaster-type chickens in northern Sussex County, at least five
miles away from the farm where the first flock tested positive last
week.

The chickens at the second farm were killed yesterday afternoon,
said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse.

Perdue Farms said it had destroyed the 72,000 chickens to
prevent the spread of the disease. The company said the flock was
believed to have been infected by a nearby flock of chickens that
was raised for the New York City live markets.

 

Interest groups gather for gay marriage vote

BOSTON

Gay-rights activists, conservative leaders and media from around
the globe will converge on the Massachusetts Statehouse for a
historic session today in which lawmakers will take up a
constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

The gay-marriage issue has created an unprecedented spectacle at
the Capitol. As many as 4,000 spectators and 300 media members are
expected to attend the start of the constitutional convention, and
a furious lobbying effort is already under way.

Christian conservatives used a dolly to haul in more than 18,000
petitions signed by citizens from across the country urging
lawmakers to pass the amendment.

 

Atkins receives flak over his own weight

NEW YORK

The debate over Dr. Robert Atkins’ popular high-fat,
low-carb diet flared posthumously yesterday when it was learned
that Atkins himself was a bloated 258 pounds at his death.

A city medical examiner’s report filed after Atkins’
2003 death from a fall showed the six-foot doctor was at a weight
normally considered obese.

A physicians group that is highly critical of the diet released
details of the report, claiming the Atkins diet led to weight and
heart troubles for its 72-year-old creator. Atkins’s allies
immediately disputed that.

 

— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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