General eases on pregnancy court-martials
Army Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, who had said he would order the court-martialing of soldiers in his unit in Iraq who became pregnant, as well as those who impregnate them, said Tuesday that he would never actually seek to jail anyone but wanted his troops to underline the seriousness of the issue. "I have never considered court-martial for this, I do not ever see myself putting a soldier in jail for this," said Cucolo. But since pregnant women automatically go home, their units are left short-staffed. "I need every soldier I've got," Cucolo said, "for the entire duration of this deployment." His force of 22,000 soldiers, which oversees northern Iraq, has 1,682 female soldiers. Since his Nov. 4 policy went into effect, he said, four women and three men were found in violation of it.
Chairman sacked, rights group says
The Rev. Raleigh Trammell has been suspended as board chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference amid allegations of mismanagement of funds, according to a news release from the SCLC. Trammell and SCLC treasurer Spiver Gordon of Eutaw, Ala., were removed pending "an internal investigation into alleged claims of improprieties," according to a news release from Atlanta-based SCLC. Trammell could not be reached for comment. His colleague, the Rev. William Shanklin, denied Trammell's removal and characterized the investigation as part of a power struggle within the SCLC.
U.S. registers rise in birth rate
Birth rates are climbing after years of significant declines, according to an annual report released in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of U.S. births for 2007 had jumped 1 percent to 4,265,555, "the highest number ever registered for the United States," they said. Almost 1.9 million people joined the population due to "natural increase," which is basically the net birth rate. As the birth rate rose, the age-adjusted death rate dropped 2.1 percent, a record low for the United States. Life expectancy at birth reached a record high of 77.9 years.
Two officers are injured in shootout
Authorities on Tuesday were investigating a shootout between two sheriff's officers and a drunken man they were called to remove from his brother's home near Eatonville, a rural community in the Cascade foothills. It was the third time in three months that officers were injured or killed on duty in the state. The officers killed David Crable, 35. Sgt. Nick Hausner, 43, was listed in serious condition and Deputy Kent Mundell, 44, was in critical condition, said sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer.
New York: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, viewed by many state Republicans as a savior for the struggling party, said Tuesday that he won't run for political office next year and instead will concentrate on his lucrative law and consulting businesses.
DUI limit tightened: Puerto Rico on Tuesday lowered the blood alcohol limit for drivers ages 18 to 20 to .02 percent from the standard .08 percent for other drivers on the U.S. island, making it one of the toughest legal limits for drunken driving by young adults.