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Archive for Friday, July 9, 2004

Briefly

July 9, 2004

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WASHINGTON, D.C.

Bush prevails as House refuses to curb Patriot Act

The Republican-led House bowed to a White House veto threat Thursday and stood by the USA Patriot Act, defeating an effort to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that helps the government investigate people's reading habits.

The effort to defy Bush and bridle the law's powers lost 210-210, with a majority needed to prevail. The amendment appeared on its way to victory as the roll call's normal 15-minute time limit expired, but GOP leaders kept the vote open for 23 more minutes as they persuaded about 10 Republicans who initially supported the provision to change their votes.

Of the Kansas delegation, Democrat Dennis Moore and Republican Jerry Moran voted for the amendment. Republicans Jim Ryun and Todd Tiahrt voted against it.

"Shame, shame, shame," Democrats chanted as the minutes passed and votes were switched. The tactic was reminiscent of last year's House passage of the Medicare overhaul measure, when GOP leaders held the vote open for an extra three hours until they got the votes they needed.

North Korea

Accused U.S. Army deserter heads to reunion in Indonesia

An American accused of deserting his Army unit 40 years ago to defect to North Korea left Pyongyang today with his two daughters to be reunited with his Japanese wife in Indonesia.

Charles Jenkins, wearing a dark gray suit and sunglasses, boarded the plane sent for him by the Japanese government to meet his wife, Hitomi Soga, in Jakarta later in the day.

North Korean TV footage broadcast in Japan showed Jenkins and his daughters before the flight wearing North Korean flag pins. He smoked a Marlboro cigarette, a luxury item in the impoverished nation.

Soga was abducted by spies and taken to the North in 1978 and then repatriated to Japan nearly two years ago. She had to return home alone because Jenkins, who allegedly deserted his Army unit in 1965, would face extradition to the United States and a court martial if he were to join her in Japan.

Netherlands

World court expected to rule on legality of Israeli barrier

After five months of deliberation, the International Court of Justice will deliver its decision today on the legality of the security barrier Israel is building on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The U.N. General Assembly asked the court last December for an advisory opinion on the legality of the barrier -- a 425-mile-long complex of high concrete walls, razor-wire fences, trenches and watch towers. About one-fourth has been completed, much of it close to the pre-1967 border, but some dipping into the West Bank.

Israel, hoping to keep the issue as low-key as possible, did not send senior officials to The Hague.

But several Israeli survivors and relatives of bombing victims gathered near the gothic Peace Palace on Thursday to press their argument that the barrier is essential for Israel's security.

Palestinians say the barrier imposes intolerable hardships on innocent people.

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