Nation/world digest 06/02/04

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Feds: Suspect planned apartment attacks

WASHINGTON -- Former Chicago gang member Jose Padilla is a trained terrorist who met with top al-Qaida leaders, discussed detonating a nuclear bomb in the United States and accepted an assignment to use natural gas to blow up high-rise apartment buildings, the Justice Department alleged Tuesday. The disclosure by deputy attorney general James Comey, based on interrogations with Padilla and other suspected al-Qaida operatives, came two years after the arrest of the suspected "dirty bomber." It was meant to answer criticism that the government overreached in arresting a U.S. citizen and denying him normal access to the court system.

Partial-birth abortion ban ruled unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge Tuesday declared the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional, saying the measure infringes on a woman's right to choose. The ruling applies to the nation's 900 or so Planned Parenthood clinics and their doctors, who perform roughly half of all abortions in the United States. U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton's ruling came in one of three lawsuits challenging the legislation President Bush signed last year. The law represented the first substantial federal legislation limiting a woman's right to choose an abortion, and pro-choice activists said it ran counter to three decades of Supreme Court precedent.

Court: Same rules apply in questioning juveniles

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to require special treatment for young people under questioning by police, ruling narrowly against a 17-year-old interrogated for two hours without being told of his rights. The justices voted 5-4 to reinstate the murder conviction of Michael Alvarado and said police have no obligation to treat younger suspects differently from adults under the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling that led to the warning that begins "You have the right to remain silent." Alvarado was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for his part in a 1995 murder at a shopping mall in California.

Feds begin expanded testing for mad cow

WASHINGTON -- The Agriculture Department began expanded national testing for mad cow disease Tuesday, intending to test about 220,000 animals for the brain-wasting condition over the next year to 18 months. Officials said the department was able to handle the first day's samples even though most regional laboratories aren't yet equipped to perform the initial tests.

Pakistani city hit by riots after mosque bombed

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Shiite Muslims enraged by a mosque bombing that killed 20 worshippers battled police and burned American fast-food restaurants Tuesday as the government struggled to contain a third day of violence in Pakistan's largest city. Funerals for the victims of Monday's attack sparked what appeared to be orchestrated rioting as hundreds rampaged near the wrecked mosque, stoning police and setting fire to shops and buses.

-- From wire reports

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