Archive for Wednesday, January 21, 2004


January 21, 2004



Scott Peterson case moved to Bay Area

The judge in the murder case against Scott Peterson moved the trial about 90 miles away to the San Francisco Bay area Tuesday because of hostility toward Peterson in his dead wife's hometown.

Judge Al Girolami ruled earlier this month that the trial had to be moved out of Modesto to make sure Peterson got a fair trial in the slaying of his wife, Laci, and unborn son.

Four counties had offered to have the trial, and the judge picked San Mateo County, situated south of San Francisco. Girolami had said he wanted a county close enough to Modesto that witnesses could drive there.

"I'm satisfied we can get a fair and impartial jury in San Mateo," Girolami said, adding that he wanted San Mateo County to appoint a judge to handle the trial.


U.S: Airstrike victims militants, not civilians

The U.S. military said Tuesday that a weekend airstrike in southern Afghanistan killed five armed militants, not 11 civilians as local officials said.

The AC-130 gunship killed the five men Saturday night as they left a compound where Taliban leaders gathered, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty.

"Our aircraft did not engage noncombatants," Hilferty said. "We clearly identified and engaged five armed adult males in the open."

Afghan officials assert the airstrike killed four men, four children and three women.


Hard-liners recanting candidate bans

Hard-line authorities said Tuesday they were reinstating 200 candidates barred from running in next month's legislative elections and would reconsider the cases of thousands more after fierce opposition from reformists who threatened to boycott the vote.

But the announcement did little to allay the anger of reformists, who accuse conservatives of disqualifying liberal candidates in order to take control of parliament in the February vote.

Habibollah Asgaroladi, leader of the hard-line Islamic Coalition Society, warned protesting lawmakers that daily sit-ins must end, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

"If the sit-in continues, it may carry unpleasant consequences for those organizing it," IRNA quoted him as saying.


Report: Abuses persist despite peace deal

Liberia's government and rebel militias continued raping and abusing civilians and looting property after a peace deal last August, according to a Human Rights Watch report released today that documents sexual attacks on girls as young as 5 and women in their 70s.

The slow deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in Liberia and delays in disarmament have meant that civilian areas outside the control of peacekeepers are still are at risk.

In a pattern that has been repeated in other African conflicts, women and girls have been used as servants or sex slaves, and rape has been used as a weapon to subdue civilians, the report found.

Plans call for this to be the United Nations' largest peacekeeping mission. But only two-thirds of the 15,000 peacekeepers have been deployed, and they have only moved out of the capital Monrovia in recent weeks.

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