Alaska congressman rebuked over slur

Washington

Alaska legislator rebuked over slur

National leaders of both major political parties condemned Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young on Friday for calling Latino farm workers "wetbacks," a slur that comes at a time when the Republican Party is courting Latino voters. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, demanded that Young apologize immediately, saying there was no excuse for his remarks. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted Friday that it was disappointing to see a Republican member of Congress casually use a slur. Young, 79, made his comments Wednesday at a news conference in Ketchikan, Alaska, and they were posted online the next day by radio station KRBD. After undergoing a day of blistering criticism Friday from around the nation, his office issued an apology. "I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska," the statement said. "There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words."

South Africa

Mandela 'in good spirits' in hospital

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is showing signs of recovery after his second night in a hospital for treatment of a recurring lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said Friday.

Mandela was admitted to the hospital in Pretoria shortly before midnight Wednesday. Zuma issued a statement Friday afternoon saying that Mandela "is in good spirits and enjoyed a full breakfast this morning."

Portland, Maine

Instructor pleads guilty to prostitution

A dance instructor accused of using her Zumba fitness studio as a front for prostitution pleaded guilty Friday to 20 counts in a scandal that captivated the quiet seaside town of Kennebunk.

The agreement spares Alexis Wright, 30, from the prospect of a high-profile trial. Prosecutors will recommend a jail sentence of 10 months when she's sentenced May 31.

New York

Judge tosses lawsuit over Sept. 11 cross

A judge has tossed out a lawsuit that sought to stop the display of a cross-shaped steel beam found among the World Trade Center's rubble, saying the artifact could help tell the story of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts in a ruling released publicly Friday rejected the arguments of American Atheists, which had sued the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's operators.

Iraq

String of bombings kills 23, officials say

A series of car bombings in Iraq struck five Shiite mosques as worshipers were emerging from Friday prayers, killing at least 23 people, officials said.

The attacks — four in Baghdad and one in the country's north — were the latest spectacular assaults staged by insurgents seeking to undermine the Shiite-led government's efforts to achieve security across the country.

Libya

2 arrested in attack on 5 British aid activists

Libyan security officials said Friday that they had arrested two men in the kidnapping this week in eastern Libya of five British humanitarian activists, at least two of them women who had been sexually assaulted.

Siraj Alden Al-Sheikhi, an official of the security directorate in Benghazi, Libya, would not comment on the suspects' identities, but he said the authorities were close to arresting a third man in the attack.

The attack on the activists, who had been traveling with a convoy that was taking aid to the Gaza Strip, underscored Libya's persistent instability as the government struggles to extend its control over the country and to rein in fighters who participated in the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi more than two years ago.

Bosnia

Man sentenced to 45 years for war crimes

A court in Bosnia on Friday convicted a Montenegrin man of multiple counts of murder, torture, rape and looting during Bosnia's 1992-95 war, and sentenced him to 45 years in prison — the highest sentence ever issued in the country.

Judge Zoran Bozic said that Veselin Vlahovic, 43, killed 31 people, raped a number of Bosniak and Croat women, and tortured and robbed non-Serb residents of a Sarajevo suburb while fighting for the Bosnian Serbs. Among other crimes, the judge described how Vlahovic cut the throats of two brothers in front of their mother, then killed her and raped the men's wives.

Times wires

Alaska congressman rebuked over slur 03/29/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 12:37am]

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