Nation/world digest 12/02/03

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Unofficial Mideast peace accord launched

GENEVA -- Hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians joined Monday for a ceremony celebrating the unofficial "Geneva accord." The agreement negotiated by former Israeli and Palestinian officials.envisions a Palestinian state based roughly on the borders before the 1967 Mideast war. Most Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be dismantled. It divides sovereignty in Jerusalem. The chief negotiators of the accord head today to the United States. Now, supporters of the plan will go door-to-door through Palestinian and Israeli neighborhoods seeking public support.

Muhammad won't testify at Malvo sniper trial

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad refuses to testify in the trial of fellow suspect Lee Boyd Malvo, and the judge on Monday said she saw no need to bring Muhammad into court. Malvo's lawyers had hoped to put Muhammad on the stand this week, but defense attorney Craig Cooley said that Muhammad's lawyers informed Cooley in writing that Muhammad would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Jury seated in S.D. rep's manslaughter trial

FLANDREAU, S.D. -- Rep. Bill Janklow went on trial Monday in his boyhood hometown on a manslaughter charge stemming from an August crash that killed a motorcyclist. A jury of nine women and four men was seated Monday afternoon. Testimony was scheduled to begin today. Prosecutors have a list of 25 possible witnesses, including Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, who was with Janklow at an event before the accident.

California votes to repeal driver's licenses law

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Assembly voted to repeal a law Monday allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses, setting the stage for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to fulfill a key campaign pledge just two weeks after taking office. Facing widespread public opposition and a threatened March ballot initiative to kill the law, the Assembly voted 64-9 to overturn what it passed only three months ago. The Senate took similar action on Nov. 24 with a 33-0 vote.

Georgians tear down fence in symbolic gesture

TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgian government officials tore down an iron fence Monday in front of the president's office, saying they were removing a symbol of ousted leader Eduard Shevardnadze. The fence in central Tbilisi was built about a year and a half ago to prevent protesters from blocking the entrance. The protests that forced Shevardnadze's Nov. 23 resignation were sparked by Nov. 2 parliamentary elections that were criticized as fraudulent, as well as discontent with Georgia's economy and corruption.

-- From wire reports

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