Nation briefs 4/28/06

Friday, April 28, 2006

Juror in Moussaoui trial falls ill; deliberations halt

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Jury deliberations in the Zacarias Moussaoui sentencing trial were suspended Thursday after a juror called in sick. Deliberations are scheduled to resume on today, although the judge said she may wait until Monday if the juror does not recover quickly. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema called lawyers for the defense and prosecution into court for a hearing at the outset of what was to have been the jury's fourth day of deliberations, reporting that a juror had called in sick.

Flood victims stranded as Danube threatens

SPANTOV, Romania -- The surging waters of the Danube lapped at doorsteps Thursday as hundreds of troops and volunteers built sandbag embankments and residents fled their village for a tent camp in the hills. Thousands anxiously watched the swelling Danube from hilltop tents throughout the nation's hardest-hit area, south-central Romania's flood-swamped Calarasi country. Almost 16,000 people have been forced to evacuate from about 148 communities in Romania, the Interior Ministry said. Areas in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Austria also have seen massive flooding.

Russia, Germany call on Iran to fulfill obligations

TOMSK, Russia -- The leaders of Russia and Germany urged Iran to fulfill its international nuclear obligations Thursday, a day before a U.N. Security Council deadline for Iran to stop enriching uranium. Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed that no one could make Tehran give up its nuclear technology, and he warned that the United States and its European allies will regret their decision if they "violate the rights of the Iranian nation. The Iranian nation has acquired nuclear fuel production technology. It didn't get assistance from anybody and nobody can take it back," Ahmadinejad told thousands of people in western Iran.

Traveler killed, officer hurt at Cleveland airport

CLEVELAND -- A man who argued with workers at an airport ticket counter grabbed a police officer's gun and shot a patrolman before he was killed by another officer Thursday, authorities said. The patrolman was shot twice in the chest and was in stable condition, authorities said. The shootings at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport followed a disturbance earlier Thursday morning involving the same man in an airport parking garage, city Safety Director Martin Flask said. The man then tried unsuccessfully to buy a ticket at the Delta Air Lines counter.

Judge refuses to dismiss Libby's indictment

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge refused Thursday to dismiss charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former top White House aide who was indicted on perjury and obstruction charges last year in the CIA leak scandal. In a 31-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton turned down a motion by lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's onetime top assistant, who challenged the authority of special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to handle the case. Libby's lawyers had argued that Fitzgerald was given too much power and that the appointment should have been made by the president with the Senate's approval.

Building begins at World Trade Center site

NEW YORK -- Gone were the angry words between politicians and developers, who spent months trading accusations of greed and stalling while ground zero waited for its rebirth. Replacing them were smiles, applause and construction workers wearing hard hats emblazoned with the American flag, driving huge trucks down the World Trade Center site's ramp to start work on the Freedom Tower. New York and New Jersey's governors, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and developer Larry Silverstein, embroiled for months in a battle over control of buildings and money at the site, clapped and shook hands Thursday at a ceremonial start on the 1,776-foot skyscraper being built to replace the trade center. The mayor said the photo op means the public feuding is over.

-- From wire reports

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