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Archive for Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Briefly

November 3, 2004

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Jordan

Saddam's family fires top defense attorney

Saddam Hussein's family dismissed a prominent Jordanian lawyer who led the ousted Iraqi dictator's defense team, accusing him of seeking "personal gain and fame" in the high-profile case, other legal team members said Tuesday.

Saddam's family told Mohammed al-Rashdan in late September he was being relieved of his duties, "but he did not accept the wish" until Tuesday, said Ziad al-Khasawneh, spokesman for the lawyers appointed by Saddam's wife, Sajida.

Al-Khasawneh told The Associated Press that al-Rashdan, appointed in January, handed over all relevant documents to Saddam's Jordan-based defense team Tuesday. The team consists of 20 lead lawyers and another 1,500 volunteers.

"Mrs. Sajida and her family had asked him to do so, otherwise he would bear the consequences of his actions," he said.

Maryland

Third U.S. soldier pleads guilty to prison abuse

The third of seven U.S. soldiers from a Maryland unit charged with abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad has pleaded guilty to reduced charges, an Army spokesman said Tuesday.

Spc. Megan Ambuhl, 30, of Centreville, Va., pleaded guilty Saturday at a summary court-martial in Baghdad to reduced charges of dereliction of duty for failing to prevent or report the maltreatment, Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan said.

He said Ambuhl, who like the other soldiers charged is a member of the Maryland-based 372nd Military Police Company, was busted down to a private.

Her civilian attorney, Harvey Volzer, has said Ambuhl was not shown in any of the infamous pictures from the prison.

Chicago

Patient deaths decline in cancer drug studies

Patient deaths from experimental cancer drugs during initial human studies declined dramatically from 1991 to 2002, suggesting that better oversight and less-toxic medicines have made cancer research safer, a study found.

There were 35 drug-related deaths in the 213 studies examined, but such deaths were much more frequent in the earlier experiments than in the more recent ones. There were 24 drug-linked deaths in studies from 1991 to 1994, 10 from 1995 to 1998 and just one from 1999 to 2002.

Deaths from other causes, including cancer, decreased, too -- from 39 to 17 in the more recent studies.

The studies involved a total of 6,474 patients, and the overall death rate fell from 3 percent to 1 percent.

Berlin

Queen Elizabeth II visits Germany

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II laid a wreath at Germany's national war memorial and urged remembrance of the suffering of both sides in World War II during a state visit Tuesday that underlined the two countries' postwar reconciliation.

President Horst Koehler received the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, at a state dinner. The British and German leaders praised their nations' close relationship, and they called on their people to look beyond old stereotypes.

"In remembering the appalling suffering of war on both sides, we recognize how precious is the peace we have built in Europe since 1945," the queen said.

Koehler thanked the queen for her reconciliation efforts and "because you supported the freshly unified Germany."

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