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Senate confirms 2 under new filibuster rules

Washington

Senate confirms 2 under new filibuster rules

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Patricia Millett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the first nominees approved since the filibuster rules were changed. Millett and Watt were among several high-profile nominees whose confirmation had been delayed for months due to Republican threats to filibuster, meaning their supporters needed 60 votes rather than a mere majority. Last month, frustrated Democrats, with the president's blessing, changed Senate rules to prevent the tactic from being used to block most judicial and executive nominees, except the Supreme Court. Now, a simple majority will suffice.

Washington

Papers: Panetta spoke on bin Laden raid

Newly declassified documents showed Tuesday that former CIA director Leon Panetta revealed secret information to Zero Dark Thirty scriptwriter Mark Boal when Panetta gave a speech at CIA headquarters marking the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Panetta said through a spokesman that he didn't know Boal was in the room. "I had no idea that individual was in the audience," Panetta said in a statement. "To this day, I wouldn't know him if he walked into the room." Panetta spokesman Jeremy Bash said Panetta assumed everyone in the audience had the proper clearance to hear the speech.

Uruguay

Lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana

Lawmakers in Uruguay voted Tuesday to legalize and regulate marijuana, going further than any other country in the world toward decriminalizing the plant. With the move, Uruguay leaps to the forefront of nations that have sought alternatives to criminal anti-narcotics enforcement.

Dallas

Woman pleads guilty to ricin-laced letters

A Texas woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, under a deal that her attorney has said would cap prison time at 18 years. Shannon Guess Richardson, 35, a former actor, entered her plea in federal court in Texarkana, Texas, to a federal charge of possessing and producing a biological toxin. Richardson was arrested in June after authorities said she tried to implicate her estranged husband, Nathan Richardson, after he had filed for divorce. Prosecutors say Shannon Richardson mailed three letters from New Boston, outside Texarkana, then went to police and claimed that her husband had done it.

Chicago

Judge overturns man's rape conviction

A judge Tuesday overturned the conviction of a man who spent 30 years in prison for a rape he says he falsely confessed to after being tortured by police. Cook County Judge Richard Walsh ordered that Stanley Wrice, 59, be released from prison, saying officers lied about how they treated him. The decision was just the latest development in one of the darkest chapters of Chicago Police Department history, in which officers working under former Lt. Jon Burge have been accused of torturing suspects into false confessions and torturing witnesses into falsely implicating people in crimes.

Elsewhere

Lebanon: Razan Zaitouneh, 36, one of the most prominent figures in the peaceful protest movement that swept Syria early in the country's uprising, was reported missing Tuesday from a rebel-controlled suburb of Damascus.

Boston: Democrat Katherine Clark easily defeated three opponents Tuesday to win a vacant congressional seat and become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. House.

China: Authorities say an overnight fire at a farmers' market in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has killed at least 15 people and injured five.

Times wires

Senate confirms 2 under new filibuster rules 12/11/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12:01am]
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