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West Point graduates 972, most headed to war

President Bush, ignoring faculty members who stood in silent protest of his commencement speech, admitted Saturday that when he left college, thinking about how to be a "model citizen" was the furthest thing from his mind. Yet that was the goal the president set for the 2008 graduating class of Furman University. "You have responsibilities to your fellow citizens, your country, your family, and yourself," he told them.

Scores of Bush supporters lined his motorcade route, and the crowd gave Bush a warm welcome as he strode into the university stadium for the outdoor commencement ceremony. But about 15 members of the faculty stood in silent protest during the president's speech. They wore white T-shirts emblazoned with "We Object" to show their opposition to Bush's policies on the Iraq war, global warming and other issues.


Mars lander may have uncovered ice patch

Sharp new images received Saturday from the Phoenix lander largely convinced scientists that the spacecraft's thrusters had uncovered a large patch of ice just below the Martian surface, team members said. That bodes well for the mission's main goal of digging for ice that can be tested for evidence of organic compounds that are the chemical building blocks of life. Washington University scientist Ray Arvidson said the spacecraft's thrusters may have blown away dirt covering the ice when the robot landed a week ago.


Federal appeals brief supports ex-governor

A bipartisan group of 54 former state attorneys general from across the country has filed a federal appeals brief supporting former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman's bid to overturn his criminal conviction. Saying the prosecution and sentencing of Siegelman "raised serious First Amendment concerns," the brief asks the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Siegelman's conviction. Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006 of bribery and other charges. Prosecutors accused Siegelman of appointing Scrushy to an influential hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging for $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's campaign for a statewide lottery.


After crane collapse, more tests suggested

The towering cranes that build America's skyscrapers are often not properly inspected for wear, fatigue and other potentially dangerous structural problems, several construction safety experts said Saturday following a deadly accident in New York. Two construction workers died Friday when the huge cab of a 200-foot-high construction crane popped off its mast and plummeted onto a Manhattan street, sheering off part of an apartment building on the way down. Crane accidents in Wyoming and Nevada on Saturday that killed one person and injured three underscore the risks involved with working around cranes. New York's acting Building Commissioner Robert LiMandri said a weld in the crane's mechanism appeared to have failed.


JACKSON, Mich.: Iraq war veteran Kirk Coleman, accused of raping a 3-month-old girl, has pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse. Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of criminal sexual conduct and child abuse against the former Army paratrooper. The 27-year-old faces up to five years in prison.

SHREVEPORT, La.: A federal jury on Saturday convicted state District Judge Michael Walker and Caddo Parish Juvenile Court Judge Vernon Claville on one count each of racketeering. The charge carries up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

NEWTON, Mass.: Kitty Higgins of the National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday a commuter train was going nearly 37 mph instead of the 10 mph it should have been when it crashed into another train Wednesday, killing the driver.

Times wires

West Point graduates 972, most headed to war 05/31/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:30pm]
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