Nation briefs 8/11/06

Friday, August 11, 2006

Attorney: Seattle shooter wants to plead guilty

SEATTLE -- A Muslim man accused of killing a woman and wounding five other people in a shooting rampage at Seattle's Jewish Federation offices wants to plead guilty, his attorney told a judge Thursday. The judge put off the arraignment of Naveed Afzal Haq until Tuesday so Haq's lawyer could determine whether his client is competent to enter the plea. Haq, 30, "is indicating that it is his desire to enter guilty pleas," defense attorney C. Wesley Richards said. Haq is an American-born son of Pakistani immigrants.

Hurricane anniversary could spark problems

NEW ORLEANS -- Stress is keeping law enforcement officers in New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish busy these days, as they answer many more calls than before the storm for domestic abuse, drunkenness and fights. Involuntary commitments to mental hospitals are up from last year, and suicides in Orleans Parish have tripled since Katrina. Psychologists say the city's mental health environment is likely to get worse as the anniversary of the Aug. 29 storm approaches, sparking post-traumatic trauma in those who suffered losses.

Suicide bomber kills 35 outside Shiite shrine

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A suicide bomber blew himself up Thursday among pilgrims outside Iraq's holiest Shiite shrine, killing 35 people and wounding 122. A radical Sunni group claimed it carried out the attack in the southern city of Najaf, warning Shiites they are not safe even "deep in your regions." At least 37 other people were killed or found dead Thursday elsewhere in Iraq, police said.

--From wire reports

Congo election officials count votes; Kabila leading

KINSHASA, Congo -- Incumbent President Joseph Kabila had the lead with more than 1 million votes counted, but the numbers were far from definitive, with election workers in dugout canoes still looking for ballots in the troubled tally. Some 20 million people -- or 80 percent of Congo's 25 million registered voters -- cast ballots in the July 30 presidential and legislative election. But the vote counting, like the election itself, has been a logistical challenge. Officials are hampered by poor roads and communications. A preliminary countrywide tally was expected to be announced on Aug. 20, and a final tally on Aug. 31.

-- From wire reports

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