Washington

White House considered firing all U.S. attorneys

The chief White House lawyer floated the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys at the start of President Bush’s second term, but the Justice Department objected and eventually recommended the eight dismissals that have generated a political firestorm two years later.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Monday that then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers raised with an aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales the prospect of asking all chief federal district prosecutors to resign in 2004 as a logical way to start a new term with a new slate of U.S. attorneys.

Democrats in Congress have charged that the eight dismissals announced last December were politically motivated.

Fort Campbell, Ky.

Tenn. soldier on trial for murder of Iraqi prisoners

A squad leader never ordered his soldiers to shoot three Iraqi detainees, but he did help cover up the slayings, a defense attorney said in opening statements of the soldier’s murder trial yesterday.

Staff Sgt. Ray Girouard is the last and most senior soldier from the 101st Airborne Division to face trial for the killings during a May 9 raid on a suspected insurgent camp outside of Samarra, Iraq.

Military prosecutors say Girouard, 24, had told his soldiers to cut the detainees free and then kill them as they tried to run.

Two other soldiers charged with murder – Spc. William B. Hunsaker and Pfc. Corey Clagett – pleaded guilty, cooperated with prosecutors and were sentenced to 18 years in military prison. Both men said during their court hearings that Girouard ordered the killings.

Geneva

U.N. panel urges sanctions on Sudan

A U.N. human rights team criticized the international community Monday for failing to halt atrocities in Darfur, saying in a sharply worded report that the United Nations must act now to protect civilians from a violence campaign orchestrated by Sudan’s government.

The panel, headed by Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams, departed from the usual diplomatic niceties of U.N. reports to accuse major nations of letting Sudan obstruct efforts to quell ethnic fighting that has killed 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million in four years.

The report urged quick U.N. Security Council intervention, the imposition of sanctions and criminal prosecutions of those responsible for atrocities and other abuses.

Lucknow, India

Bus plunge kills 18 people at wedding

A bus carrying a wedding party plunged into a gorge in mountainous northern India, killing at least 18 people and injuring another 27, a government official said yesterday.

The bus rolled down a 600-feet deep gorge and fell into the fast flowing Mandakini River late Monday night, said Amit Chandola, a spokesman for the government of the state of Uttarakhand.

“Initial inquiry suggests that the driver, along with many other members of the marriage party, was in an inebriated state,” he said.

It was not immediately known whether the bride and groom were among the dead.

– Compiled from

Daily wire reports

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