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Vice admiral suspended amid gambling inquiry

Washington

Vice Admiral suspended in inquiry

A vice admiral who is second in command at the United States Strategic Command, which oversees nuclear war-fighting forces for the U.S. military, has been suspended amid an investigation into his possible involvement in illegal gambling, officials said Saturday.

Vice Adm. Timothy Giardina is a highly decorated sailor with more than three decades in the Navy. The suspension occurred Sept. 3, but was not announced publicly, said Capt. Pamela Kunze, the command's spokeswoman.

Kunze would not comment further on the circumstances surrounding the suspension, citing an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

In June, Giardina became the target of an inquiry by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation into possible use of counterfeit gambling chips at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, according to David Dales, an official with the division.

Italy

Resignations shake governing coalition

Italy confronted a new political crisis Saturday as the ministers in former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's center-right party resigned from the fragile coalition government, setting up a showdown that could shake the current political stability in Europe.

The resignations did not immediately topple the government, but could either lead to a confidence vote in Italy's Parliament or force Italy's president, Giorgio Napolitano, to try to piece together a new coalition. Early elections could also be possible, though Napolitano has said repeatedly that is not an option he favors.

Tunisia

Islamist party will hand over power

Tunisia's governing Islamist party, Ennahda, thrust into power by the Arab Spring, has agreed to step down and hand over power to an independent caretaker government, yielding to a hard-bargaining opposition that had accused it of being soft on extremists. Elections are to be held in the coming months.

The deal is part of negotiations to restart the democratic transition after secular groups, angered by the assassinations of two of their politicians, stalled work on a new constitution and an election law.

Elsewhere

Pakistan: A magnitude 6.8 temblor struck southwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least 15 people in the same province where several hundred people died in a major earthquake Tuesday.

Greece: The government conducted a crackdown on the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party Saturday, arresting five members of Parliament, including the leader of the group. The action follows a fatal stabbing blamed on a party supporter.

Syria: Syria will cooperate fully with U.N. inspectors charged with securing and destroying its chemical weapons stockpile, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said Saturday.

India: After rescuing 33 people and finding 40 dead, disaster officials said Saturday evening that they did not expect to find any more survivors in the rubble of a five-story building that collapsed early Friday, the fifth deadly building collapse in and around Mumbai this year.

Britain: Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's ashes were laid to rest Saturday in London at a service attended by her family and closest friends. The remains were placed alongside those of her husband Denis, who died in 2003.

Indonesia: Miss Philippines, Megan Young, was crowned Miss World on Saturday on Indonesia's resort island of Bali.

Times wires

Vice admiral suspended amid gambling inquiry 09/28/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 28, 2013 11:15pm]

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