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Archive for Friday, February 14, 2003

Briefly

February 14, 2003

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Nebraska

Murder charges filed in paper carrier's death

A man who lived a block away from a girl who disappeared while delivering newspapers was charged Thursday with murder and kidnapping, authorities said.

Jeffrey Hessler, 24, did not speak when he was arraigned on the charges, which also include sexual assault and use of a firearm to commit a felony.

Heather Guerrero's body was found Wednesday in an abandoned farmhouse about 12 miles from Gering, where she was abducted a day earlier while on her paper route. Police said it appeared she had been shot in the head.

According to a police affidavit, Hessler confessed to the killing while under interrogation.

Washington, D.C.

Rough track noticed before Fla. derailment

The sharp curve near Crescent City, Fla., where the Amtrak Auto Train derailed last April was a troublesome stretch of track that needed frequent repair, federal safety reports show.

After the wreck last April 18, the Auto Train's engineer told investigators he had seen a misalignment of the track just ahead and was trying to apply the brakes when the force of the derailment threw him against the wall. Four passengers were killed and 36 people seriously injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released investigators' reports that will be analyzed by the agency to try to determine a cause. The reports offered no conclusions. Much of the investigation has focused on the condition of the track, which is owned by the freight railroad CSX Transportation.

Boston

Suit challenges Bush's authority to launch war

Six House members, members of the military and parents of servicemen went to federal court Thursday to try to prevent the president from launching an invasion of Iraq without an explicit declaration of war from Congress.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and the other plaintiffs said the October 2002 congressional resolution backing military action against Iraq did not specifically declare war and unlawfully ceded the decision to President Bush.

Conyers cited the passage from the U.S. Constitution that states, "Congress shall have power ... to declare war."

"Get it? Only Congress," Conyers said at a news conference in Washington.

John Bonifaz, the Boston lawyer who filed the lawsuit seeking an immediate injunction, said Bush was rushing to war without seeking approval or even a thorough debate by Congress.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro agreed late Thursday to have an expedited hearing Feb. 20 on the injunction request.

Washington, D.C.

Regulators ease technology restrictions

Technology that can see through walls to help police track criminals and aid firefighters searching for victims received a boost from federal regulators Thursday.

Responding to industry requests, the Federal Communications Commission tweaked restrictions on ultra-wideband technology, which sends millions of narrow pulses each second over airwaves to get a precise reading of an object's location and distance. The signals also can carry huge amounts of data over a short distance.

The technology has many potential uses, from wireless home networks of computers and other appliances to collision-avoidance systems in cars. Ground penetrating radar systems using ultra-wideband can detect objects or people buried under earth or debris.

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