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GOP lawmakers seek removal of VA chief of staff

WASHINGTON

GOP lawmakers seek removal of VA chief of staff

Republican lawmakers have called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to fire his chief of staff for approving two training conferences in Orlando last year that led to $762,000 in questionable spending.

The department had already accepted the resignation of an assistant secretary in response to a critical inspector general's report released last week. Federal investigators found the conferences were held to fulfill valid training needs, but some expenses were unnecessary or wasteful.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Pensacola, and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a letter released Tuesday that the department's chief of staff, John Gingrich, bears ultimate responsibility because he approved the conferences.

LOS ANGELES

Man is arrested over weapons in luggage

A man dressed in a bulletproof vest and fire-resistant pants was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after a smoke grenade, gas mask, leg irons and weapons were discovered in his luggage, authorities said Tuesday.

Boston-bound Yongda Huang Harris, 28, was arrested Friday on suspicion of transporting hazardous materials on a flight from Japan, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said. An official said Harris is not believed to be linked to a terrorist organization.

NEW YORK

Radical preacher pleads not guilty

Abu Hamza al-Masri, an incendiary Muslim preacher with links to al-Qaida, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to conspiring with Seattle men to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon, three days after he and four others were brought to the United States from England to face terrorism charges.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest set an Aug. 26 trial date.

rome

U.N. says world hungry not 1 billion

The United Nations said Tuesday its 2009 headline-grabbing announcement that 1 billion people in the world were hungry was off-target and that the number is actually more like 870 million.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization blamed flawed methodology and poor data for the bum projection, and said it now uses a much more accurate set of parameters and statistics to calculate its annual estimate of the world's hungry.

Elsewhere

Egypt: Several thousand Egyptians marched through Cairo on Tuesday, marking the year anniversary of a military crackdown on Christian protesters that killed 26 people and demanding retribution against army leaders they hold responsible.

Iraq: Al-Qaida in Iraq is rebuilding and has set up training camps in the nation's western deserts as the extremist group seizes on regional instability and government security failures. U.S. and Iraqi officials said Tuesday.

Associated Press

GOP lawmakers seek removal of VA chief of staff

10/09/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 10:49pm]
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