PLEA REJECTED IN HEPATITIS INFECTIONS
Suggesting that 20 years in prison was not enough punishment for the crime, a federal judge on Friday rejected a plea agreement for a former hospital technician and drug user who admitted that she exposed hundreds of patients in her care to hepatitis C.
Judge Robert Blackburn said the agreement with Kristen Parker inordinately restrained his discretion. It is unusual, legal experts said, for a judge to reject a plea agreement.
Parker, 27, admitted that while working at Rose Medical Center in Denver in 2008 and 2009, she stole pain-medication syringes from operating room trays, replacing them at times with needles she had already used to inject herself with heroin.
Gitmo panel backs indefinite detentions
A Justice Department-led task force has concluded that nearly 50 detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be held indefinitely without trial under the laws of war, Obama administration officials said Friday.
The task force also said that 35 detainees should be prosecuted in federal or military courts and that 110 who can be released, either immediately or eventually.
CIA ramps up missile strikes in Pakistan
Since the suicide bombing that took the lives of seven Americans in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, the CIA has struck back against militants in Pakistan with the most intensive series of missile strikes from drone aircraft since the covert program began.
The CIA has carried out 11 strikes that have killed about 90 people suspected of being militants, according to Pakistani news reports, which make almost no mention of civilian casualties.
Afghanistan: The government on Friday banned ammonium nitrate fertilizer, a chemical that was used in the devastating Oklahoma City bombing and in most of the homemade explosives that have killed or maimed hundreds of American soldiers.
ISRAEL: U.S. envoy George Mitchell wrapped up his Mideast trip Friday with little to show for his efforts to kick-start peace talks as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declined to return to talks with Israel.
Turkey: More than 120 people suspected of ties to al-Qaida were arrested in raids across the country Friday morning, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
Russia: The United States and Russia will resume talks on a replacement nuclear arms reduction treaty in early February, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.
Britain: Queen Elizabeth II will address the U.N. General Assembly on July 6, the first time she has done so in more than 50 years, her office said Friday.