Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Shave in prison expected for Hasan

Houston

Shave in prison expected for Hasan

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the military psychiatrist sentenced to death this week in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, will be forced to shave his beard on death row, Army officials announced Friday.

Hasan, a Muslim, grew the beard for religious reasons in violation of Army grooming regulations and said he did not want to die without a beard because being clean-shaven was a sin. A military appeals court vacated a judge's order that he be forcibly shaved, and he wore a thick beard and camouflage fatigues throughout his trial.

But on Friday he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., home of the military's death row and death chamber, and military officials indicated they were ready to shave him, since the appellate court's ruling had no bearing on their rules. It was unclear if Hasan planned any legal action.

Gilberton, Pa.

Indefinite suspension for ranting police chief

A northeastern Pennsylvania police chief had his suspension extended indefinitely on Friday for posting online videos in which he fired borough-owned automatic weapons while shouting obscenities.

The Borough Council in Gilberton, Pa., had been scheduled to hold a disciplinary hearing for Chief Mark Kessler but had to postpone it because of a scheduling conflict, his attorney said.

Attorney Joseph Nahas said Kessler's disciplinary hearing will most likely be held next week. Nahas and Kessler have said they expect the chief to be fired.

Kessler's pro-gun videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views online. They show him shouting about the Second Amendment and liberals while spraying gun fire.

Washington

Obama plans pay hike for federal workers

President Barack Obama told congressional leaders late Friday that he intends to give federal employees a 1 percent pay raise starting Jan. 1 because Congress has taken no action on the issue.

Obama had announced in his budget plan in April that he wanted to end a nearly three-year pay freeze for the federal workforce. But since Congress has not passed a spending plan for fiscal 2014, the president is required by the end of August to come up with an "alternative pay plan" to avoid a legal trigger that would automatically raise federal pay in line with private-sector salaries. That trigger could, in theory, give federal workers a raise of about 34 percent.

The president's default action, however, is not the final word on a raise. Any law Congress enacts before the end of this year that sets a different figure or continues the freeze would override Friday's order.

San Diego

Tumultuous tenure ends quietly for mayor

Bob Filner ended his brief but tumultuous tenure as mayor of San Diego on Friday amid allegations that he sexually harassed women, making no public appearances on a final day that came one week after a defiant farewell speech in which the onetime civil rights activist called himself the victim of a "lynch mob."

City Council President Todd Gloria, a fellow Democrat, became acting mayor until Filner's successor is chosen in a special election.

The former 10-term congressman became San Diego's first Democratic mayor in decades when he took office in December.

Afghanistan

Suicide attack kills governor, 7 others

A suicide bomber slipped into a crowd of mourners at a funeral in northern Afghanistan on Friday morning, waited until the district governor and two of his bodyguards were leaving the mosque, and detonated his vest, killing eight people and wounding 16, officials said.

The attack, the latest incident in a particularly bloody week, succeeded in killing Sheik Sayed Sadruddin, the governor of Dashi Archi district of Kunduz province and the apparent target, said Mohammad Khalil Andarabi, the provincial police chief. The funeral was in honor of a local man who died of natural causes, Andarabi added.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but analysts said they suspected the Taliban. The militant group has escalated attacks in recent months to take advantage of the drawdown of U.S.-led foreign troops

Fresno, Calif.

Firefighters gaining against Yosemite fire

Nearly a third of the huge forest fire burning in and around Yosemite National Park was contained Friday, and some small communities in the area were no longer under evacuation advisories.

Nearly 5,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, but in another sign of progress some were expected to be released to go home, said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "We continue to gain the upper hand, but there's still a lot of work to be done," he said.

The 2-week-old blaze burning in the Sierra Nevada northeast of Fresno has scorched 315 square miles.

Elsewhere

Alaska: A magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked Alaska's Aleutian Islands with a jetlike rumble Friday that shook homes and sent residents scrambling for cover. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the earthquake, which occurred in a seismically active region.

Marietta, Ga.: De'Marquise Elkins, 18, was convicted of murder in the shooting of a baby who was riding in a stroller alongside his mom in March despite the defense's attempt to cast guilt upon several others, including the child's parents.

Yemen: Yemeni security and military officials said Friday that a suspected U.S. drone strike killed three alleged al-Qaida militants, including a provincial leader of the group.

Times wires

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