Nation Digest


December 07, 2005

Defense bill to have detainee provisions

WASHINGTON -- Most, if not all, of a ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of foreign terrorism suspects is likely to be included in a final defense bill, a key House Republican said yesterday. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, who is leading negotiations to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the measure, said if changes are made in the bill, they won't drastically water down the detainee provisions. The White House opposes the provisions and has threatened to veto any bill containing them.

D.C. Council poised to pass smoking ban

WASHINGTON --Lighting up in restaurants and bars would become illegal in the nation's capital under a smoking ban approved yesterday by the city council, a move Mayor Anthony A. Williams warned would send residents and tourists across the Potomac River to dine in more lenient suburbs. He urged the District of Columbia Council to loosen restrictions on restaurants when it takes its final vote on the matter. The council gave the measure its preliminary approval by a vote of 12-1, but it must take a final vote. The measure would end smoking in most indoor locations in the tourist-rich city, including restaurants, bars and nightclubs, beginning Jan. 1, 2007.

Saturn moon shows geological activity

SAN FRANCISCO --The international Cassini spacecraft has found visual evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus is geologically active. Recent images taken by the spacecraft show streams of fine, icy particles rising from the moon's south pole, suggesting they originated from warm zones in the region. The discovery puts Enceladus in the class of geologically active moons with Jupiter's Io and Neptune's Triton. It's unclear what causes the geologic activity, but scientists think it's due to internal heating caused by radioactivity or tides.

Rumors of children in cages heard in '03

NORWALK, Ohio --Child-welfare workers had heard rumors that a couple kept some of their 11 adopted children in cages two years before the youngsters were removed from the home, a witness testified in a custody hearing yesterday. Officials tried to follow up on the rumors in 2003, but Michael and Sharen Gravelle would not cooperate and a full investigation was never conducted, said Jo Ellen Johnson, an investigator for the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services. The children were finally taken from the Gravelles after Johnson visited the home and examined the chicken-wire cages.

FDA warns against non-sterile eye wash

WASHINGTON --The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use Tedco, Inc.'s Miracle II Neutralizer products, saying the products have been contaminated by bacteria. Using them could lead to infections, particularly in children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, the FDA said. Tedco, based in West Monroe, La., markets Miracle II Neutralizer, among other things, as an eye wash and a treatment for cataracts and pink eye. But the products are not sterile, as the FDA requires for all eye treatment products, the agency said.

Republican wins Calif. House seat

IRVINE, CALIF. --A Republican lawmaker won the race to fill the nation's only vacant congressional seat yesterday.

California state Sen. John Campbell will succeed Republican Christopher Cox, who represented the Orange County district in the House for 17 years before resigning to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

With more than 50 percent of precincts reporting and absentee ballots counted, Campbell had 35,719 votes, or 48 percent, followed by the Democratic candidate, Steve Young, with 20,532 votes, or 28 percent. Jim Gilchrist, a founder of the Minuteman Project border patrol group who made illegal immigration the centerpiece of his third-party campaign, was third with 16,422 votes, or nearly 22 percent.

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