Nation digest 08/31/04

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Fight over brain-damaged woman heads to court

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments today in the Terri Schiavo case. The brain-damaged woman is at the center of one of the nation's longest, most bitter right-to-die disputes, one that has pitted her husband against her parents. The question before the court is whether the law that Gov. Jeb Bush signed in October to keep the 40-year-old Schiavo alive violates her constitutional right to privacy and the separation of powers between the branches of Florida's government. It has been more than 14 years since Schiavo suffered brain damage when her heart stopped beating. She left no written instructions in the event she became incapacitated.

Drunken man drives home after passenger beheaded

MARIETTA, Ga. -- A drunken driver hit a telephone pole support wire that decapitated his passenger, then drove 12 miles home and slept in his bloody clothes, leaving the headless body in his truck, police said. A neighbor discovered Daniel Brohm's headless corpse in the truck in John Kemper Hutcherson's driveway on Sunday and called authorities, said a county police spokesman. Officers later found Brohm's head at the crash site. Hutcherson, 21, was charged with vehicular homicide and was jailed on a $100,000 bond. Brohm, 23, apparently was leaning out of the window when Hutcherson hit the support wire.

Former aide says he will not sue N.J. governor

NEW YORK -- A former aide who claims New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey sexually harassed him said Monday he will not sue the governor. The governor's resignation announcement was sufficient admission of his wrongdoing, Golan Cipel said in a statement written in Hebrew and released Monday by an Israeli public relations agency. McGreevey announced Aug. 12 that he is gay and would resign from office because he had an extramarital affair with a man. Administration sources identified the man as Cipel. But Cipel, McGreevey's former homeland security adviser, denied he is gay and insisted he had been sexually harassed and pressured by the governor.

Bail set for alleged top Hamas operative

BALTIMORE -- A man described as a high-ranking Hamas operative was freed Monday on a $1 million bond, but must appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago probing the Palestinian militant group's financing. Ismael Selim Elbarasse was released during a detention hearing in federal court in Baltimore, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office. Elbarasse had been arrested after officers pulled him over Aug. 20 just west of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge after spotting his wife filming the structure with a video camera. Neither Elbarasse nor his wife was charged with any wrongdoing. However, Maryland authorities held him after discovering a material witness warrant had been issued for him in Chicago. Federal officials there want Elbarasse to appear before a grand jury probing the financing of Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization.

Feds open 243,500 more acres to hunting, fishing

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration said Monday it will give people who hunt and fish new access to hundreds of thousands of acres of lands and streams within 17 national wildlife refuges and wetlands. Currently, more than 300 wildlife refuges and about 3,000 small wetlands are open to hunting, and more than 260 wildlife refuges are open to fishing. Monday's decision opens another 243,500 acres as of Sept. 1, wildlife officials said, including 100 acres at Cypress Creek in Illinois.

-- From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: