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Secretary of Defense replaces general in charge of strike fighter program


Gates RElieves strike fighter general

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday he was replacing Marine Maj. Gen. David R. Heinz, the man in charge of the Pentagon's largest weapons program — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — and withholding $614 million in award fees from the contractor, Lockheed Martin. The surprise announcement came from a Pentagon chief who has sought to impose accountability across the department's senior leadership and who had promoted plans for the plane last year in persuading Congress to kill the more expensive F-22 jet. But a special Pentagon review team since warned of possibly billions in overruns. He disclosed the reshuffling as he released the Pentagon's proposed $708.3 billion spending package for the fiscal year 2011. Gates will announce today a yearlong review aimed at answering practical and emotional questions about the effect of lifting the ban on gays in the military, and impose looser standards for enforcing the ban in the meantime.


Autopsy: Imam shot 20 times in FBI raid

A Muslim prayer leader accused of encouraging his followers to commit violence against the U.S. government was shot 20 times during an FBI raid last fall, according to an autopsy report released Monday. The autopsy was completed a month after Luqman Ameen Abdullah's death, but Dearborn police were granted a delay while they investigated the Oct. 28 shooting, said Dr. Carl Schmidt, Wayne County's chief medical examiner.


Two rebuked in attack on U.N. compound

The Israeli military confirmed Monday it had reprimanded a brigadier general and a colonel for the firing of artillery shells that hit a U.N. compound during the Gaza war last winter. It was a rare admission of high-level wrongdoing at a time when Israel is battling accusations of war crimes. But the military maintained ambiguity about whether the shells that struck the compound contained white phosphorous, which can be used to illuminate battlefields or cause smokescreens, but also burn flesh.


Italy's secret service tied to CIA abduction

The Italian secret service was probably aware of "and perhaps complicit in" the abduction of an Egyptian cleric from the streets of Milan in 2003, a judge in Milan said Monday. But, he added, state secrecy prevented the court from proving it. The statement by Judge Oscar Magi was part of a document explaining his reasoning behind the November ruling that convicted 23 Americans, most CIA operatives, of kidnapping the cleric. It was the first case to yield convictions in "extraordinary rendition," in which suspects are captured in one country and taken to another.


FDA issues liver risk warning for HIV drug

Patients taking a Bristol-Myers Squibb drug for HIV are at risk of a rare, but potentially fatal, liver disorder. The Food and Drug Administration said it has received 42 reports since Videx was approved in 1991. Four patients died from bleeding or liver failure after developing the problem, known as noncirrhotic portal hypertension.


Atlanta: Civil rights icon Joseph Lowery, 88, was in stable condition at Emory University Hospital Midtown after being admitted Saturday because of respiratory problems.

Louisiana: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said he'll stop delaying President Barack Obama's nominees to be federal prosecutors and judges in his home state.

Vermont: Radioactive tritium, a carcinogen discovered in potentially dangerous levels in groundwater at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, has now tainted at least 27 of the nation's 104 nuclear reactors.

Times wires

Secretary of Defense replaces general in charge of strike fighter program 02/01/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 1, 2010 10:46pm]
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  1. Plan your weekend Aug. 18-20: Elvis in concert, Jason Aldean, Monster Jam Triple Threat, Sing-Along Grease


    Plan your weekend

    The king

    Elvis: Live in Concert: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and Ruth Eckerd Hall will have a Graceland-produced Elvis concert on a movie screen, accompanied by a full live orchestra. Graceland calls it the closest audiences …

    Handout photos of Elvis: Live in Concert, a tour spectacle featuring a live orchestra backing the voice of Elvis Presley, projected onto a movie screen. The tour comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on 8/18/17. Credit: Graceland.
  2. Woman convicted in murder of 18-year-old with cerebral palsy gets lighter term


    TAMPA — Linda Bonck, a 90-pound Chamberlain High School senior with cerebral palsy, lived near Tampa's Lowry Park. She struggled to walk and talk but was known for being friendly and trusting of strangers until she vanished one day in 1992.

    Georgia Miller, 39, was convicted for the 1992 murder of Linda Bonck, an 18-year-old Chamberlain High School student who had cerebral palsy. Originally sentenced to life in prison, Miller was resentenced Wednesday to 65 years, the result of U.S. and Florida Supreme Court decisions that found it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life. With gain time, Miller will be released from prison in the next six years. [Florida Department of Corrections]
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    Brandy Lerma, 31 of Boynton Beach, was arrested on DUI and child abuse charges on Saturday. [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Editorial: Why can't Hillsborough commissioners move Confederate monument?


    The violence in Charlottesville, Va., crystallized for much of the nation the danger of refusing to address painful symbols of the past. But not so in Hillsborough County, where the County Commission on Wednesday reversed itself yet again and left open the possibility of leaving a Confederate monument outside the …

  5. Former WTSP employee sues station's parent companies for gender discrimination


    A former director at WTSP-Ch. 10 has sued the station's parent companies, claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination.