Nation Digest

NATION DIGEST

October 10, 2006

`Army Strong' slogan of new ad campaign

WASHINGTON -- The Army, in an effort to increase its appeal to recruiting-age Americans, is replacing its main ad slogan, "An Army of One," with "Army Strong." The new approach, the fruit of a $200 million-a-year contract with a major advertising agency, was announced yesterday by Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey. He said "Army Strong" will be the centerpiece of a multimedia ad campaign to begin Nov. 9, timed to coincide with Veterans Day weekend. Army officials acknowledge that recruiting during wartime is difficult, particularly with the Iraq war grinding on far longer than Bush administration officials expected and U.S. troops dying in battle almost every day.

College hazing case ends in mistrial

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. --A judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the hazing trial of five Florida A&M University fraternity members after the jury said it could not reach a verdict. The trial would have been the first to test a new state law that makes such activities a felony if they result in death or serious bodily injury. Jurors deliberated for more than three hours. The mistrial was declared about 20 minutes after they sent a note to Circuit Judge Kathleen Dekker asking for a more substantial definition of serious bodily injury. Four Kappa Alpha Psi brothers were charged with using canes, boxing gloves and bare fists to beat aspiring fraternity member Marcus Jones, 20.

Rapes spread fear on Ariz. reservation

FORT APACHE INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. --A man in a dark shirt and hat emblazoned "POLICE" has raped 10 girls and a young woman after staging phony arrests. The attacks have made people on the reservation suspicious of the officers investigating the case. Residents of the tribal capital, Whiteriver, are bolting their doors, walking in pairs and demanding that their children are inside by sundown. The phony police officer has been attacking victims since March on a dusty trail that winds behind more than 100 homes in Whiteriver. He tells his victims they are under arrest, then handcuffs and rapes them. "It has created an atmosphere of fear," said Warren Youngman, assistant agent in charge at the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Va. woman trying to undo adoption

LORTON, Va. --A woman is taking the unusual step of trying to undo her adoption of her 15-year-old son, saying that she learned of his troubled past only after he molested two younger children. Helen Briggs, 57, said she did not know that the boy had lived in five foster homes since he was 16 months old or that he had been physically abused by his alcohol- and drug-addicted biological parents and was possibly psychotically bipolar. Virginia policy requires that caseworkers provide "full, factual information" about a child to adoptive parents. State child welfare advocates would not comment on the case because of confidentiality rules. But records obtained by The Washington Post show that some caseworkers do not believe Briggs' claim.

La. governor seeks insurance refunds

BATON ROUGE, La. --Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco proposed yesterday a $1 billion plan to ease the post-hurricane insurance burden on Louisiana homeowners by sending them refund checks to cover recent rate increases. Her plan requires legislative approval and a change in the state constitution, in part because some of the money would be raised by selling what remains of Louisiana's share of the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement. The plan calls for the state to essentially refund the rate increases, averaging 15 percent, that private insurance companies imposed on the state's 1 million policyholders after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year.

From wire reports

Lower standards help Army to exceed recruitment goal

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army recruited more than 2,600 soldiers under new lower aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits in the throes of an unpopular war and mounting casualties.

The recruiting mark comes a year after the Army missed its recruitment target by the widest margin since 1979, which had triggered a boost in the number of recruiters, increased bonuses and changes in standards.

The Army recruited 80,635 soldiers, roughly 7,000 more than last year. Of those, about 70,000 were first-time recruits who had never served before.

According to statistics obtained by the Associated Press, 3.8 percent of the first-time recruits scored below certain aptitude levels. In previous years, the Army had allowed only 2 percent of its recruits to have low aptitude scores. That limit was increased last year to 4 percent, the maximum allowed by the Defense Department.

Associated Press

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