ROCHESTER, N.H.

Man had been drinking before taking hostages

The man accused of taking hostages at a Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign office had been drinking heavily before the standoff and talked about his problems getting medical care, according to family interviews and a court document released yesterday.

Leeland Eisenberg, 46, is accused of walking into the Clinton office on Friday with what appeared to be explosives strapped to his body and holding campaign workers hostage for hours after demanding to speak to Clinton about mental health care, authorities said.

During an arraignment yesterday afternoon, prosecutors asked for a judge to set a cash bond of $500,000. The prosecutor said Eisenberg had a lengthy criminal record, including a rape conviction, and had escaped while serving a 10-year sentence for that crime and committed rape again.

WASHINGTON

Report: Iranian nuclear program halted in 2003

A new U.S. intelligence report concludes that Iran’s nuclear weapons development program has been halted since the fall of 2003 because of international pressure – a stark contrast to the conclusions U.S. spy agencies drew just two years ago.

The finding is part of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that also cautions that Tehran continues to enrich uranium and still could develop a bomb between 2010 and 2015 if it decided to do so.

The conclusion that Iran’s weapons program was still frozen, through at least mid-2007, represents a sharp turnaround from the previous intelligence assessment in 2005. Then, U.S. intelligence agencies believed Tehran was determined to develop a nuclear weapons capability and was continuing its weapons development program. The new report concludes that Iran’s decisions are rational and pragmatic, and that Tehran is more susceptible to diplomatic and financial pressure than previously thought.

CARACAS, Venezuela

Chavez humbled by failed unlimited re-election bid

Humbled by his first electoral defeat ever, President Hugo Chavez said yesterday he may have been too ambitious in asking voters to let him stand indefinitely for re-election and endorse a huge leap to a socialist state.

“I understand and accept that the proposal I made was quite profound and intense,” he said after voters narrowly rejected the sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 percent to 49 percent.

Opposition activists were ecstatic as the results were announced shortly after midnight – with 88 percent of the vote counted, the trend was declared irreversible by elections council chief Tibisay Lucena.

DETROIT

Special Ed teachers lack certification

Secondary special education teachers in Michigan likely have lost their status as being highly qualified under federal standards because the state allowed them to take elementary certification tests.

Those teachers have until June 30, 2009, to become highly qualified – a status they need to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The Michigan Department of Education said it’s unclear how many of the state’s 7,000 secondary special ed teachers used the elementary exam to become highly qualified.

-Compiled from Daily wire reports

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