Hagel seeks changes in military law
The Pentagon said Monday that it would ask Congress to change military law so that commanders can no longer overturn convictions without explanation, a proposal that follows a public outcry over the handling of some sexual-assault cases. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he wanted to take away senior commanders' long-standing authority to toss out jury verdicts after a court-martial but before the case can be heard on appeal. While commanders could still reduce or even eliminate sentences, under Hagel's proposal they would have to justify their actions in writing for the first time and could not set aside convictions in major cases. Hagel's action was prompted by the response to an Air Force general's decision in February to grant clemency to a fighter pilot who had been convicted by a military jury of sexually assaulting a woman while she slept in his guest bedroom. The decision infuriated lawmakers and advocacy groups.
Roadside bomb hits bus, killing 9
A roadside bomb hit a public bus in a restive province near the Afghan capital on Monday, killing at least nine passengers and raising the death toll from violence in the country to more than 100 this month, officials said. The explosion occurred in the Sayed Abad district of Wardak province, deputy provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Razaq Quraishi said. The governor's office said the bus was traveling from eastern Ghazni province to the capital.
Senate Democrat backs gay nuptials
South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, who announced his retirement last month, has reversed his position on gay marriage, saying Monday that he supports the legalization of same-sex unions. "After lengthy consideration, my views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation," he said. His announcement leaves three Senate Democrats who have not come out in support of federal efforts to legalize gay marriage: Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Journalist dies following beating
The Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, who became a symbol of the culture of impunity after he was brutally beaten in 2008, died of heart failure Monday. After Beketov, 55, wrote about alleged government corruption in the city of Khimki, where he lived, he was beaten so severely that he spent the rest of his life using a wheelchair. Police barely investigated the case.
Seattle: Walli Mujahidh, 34, was sentenced in federal court Monday to 17 years in prison for helping plot an attack with machine guns and grenades on a Seattle military complex in 2011.