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Nation briefs 08/20/04

Friday, August 20, 2004

Kerry: Bush uses front group to 'do his dirty work'

BOSTON -- John Kerry fought back Thursday against campaign allegations that he exaggerated his combat record in Vietnam, accusing President Bush of using a Republican front group "to do his dirty work" and challenging Bush to debate their wartime service records. As Kerry denounced the criticism as "lies about my record," aides privately acknowledged that they and their boss had been slow to recognize the damage being done to his political standing. Kerry's valorous combat experience is a cornerstone of his campaign.

Survey: Drugs, sex may go together for teens

WASHINGTON -- For teenagers, it appears that sex and drugs do go together, though the annual survey of U.S. teens didn't ask about rock 'n' roll. Teens who say at least half their friends are having sex are more likely to report having tried marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The survey asked teens between 12 and 17 about their use of illegal substances. Researchers then looked at other teen activities to see if those who used drugs had anything else in common. "This year's survey reveals a tight connection between teen sexual behavior and substance abuse," said Joseph A. Califano Jr., president of the Columbia center.

Official: Iran could make nuclear weapons soon

WASHINGTON -- Iran has informed British, French and German officials it could produce weapons-grade uranium within a year and a nuclear weapon no more than three years after that, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton said Thursday. "These Iranian assertions give the lie to their public contention that their nuclear program is entirely civil and peaceful in purpose," Bolton said in an interview. Bolton, who plays a leading role in U.S. efforts to contain the spread of nuclear and other dangerous weapons, said Iran was making veiled threats in an effort to head off U.N. consideration of sanctions or other forms of punishment.

Nichols declines to appeal state conviction

PONCA CITY, Okla. -- Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols will not appeal his state murder convictions for his role in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, his attorney said Thursday. In a brief statement, attorney Brian Hermanson said Nichols did not want to prolong the pain for victims' families. Nichols' attorneys had been advising him against appealing his 161 state murder convictions, because an appeal could mean a new trial and another opportunity for prosecutors to seek the death penalty. Nichols, 49, is already serving life in prison without parole on federal charges for the April 19, 1995, bombing, which killed 168 people. Nichols was spared the death penalty for a second time when his state jury deadlocked on a sentence.

-- From wire reports


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