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SENATORS REFUSE TO BAR RELEASES IN CRACK CASES

WASHINGTON

Senate Democrats on Tuesday rebuffed Attorney General Michael Mukasey's request for legislation that would cancel the U.S. Sentencing Commission's recent decision to apply lower jail terms retroactively to as many as 19,500 crack cocaine offenders sentenced under tough "war on drugs" legislation from the 1980s. An estimated 1,600 of those inmates will be eligible to apply for reduced sentences this year. Mukasey asked last week that the recommendations be rolled back, saying applications for reductions in sentences could put dangerous criminals on the streets.

MINNEAPOLIS

Woman charged in boy's fatal beating

A woman beat her cousin's 4-year-old son to death while two of her own children held him down and a third watched, all because the boy soiled his pants, a prosecutor said Tuesday. Carla Cherisse Poole, 37, is charged with second-degree intentional murder in the death of Demond Keith Reed, whose body was found at her home Sunday.

CAPE CANAVERAL

Astronaut ready for space walk

The German astronaut who was too sick to perform a space walk refused on Tuesday to say what ailed him but said he as feeling great for today's outing. Hans Schlegel will go outside the linked space shuttle Atlantis and international space station two days after sitting out the first space walk, which involved installing the Columbus science lab. Today's walk is to install a nitrogen tank on the station.

Elsewhere

WASHINGTON: More than half of the 144 veterans who took their own lives after returning from Iraq or Afghanistan were members of the National Guard or Reserves, according to new government data that prompted activists on Tuesday to call for a closer examination of the problem.

LITTLE ROCK, ARK.: Trailers not used since they were bought by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2005 for Gulf Coast hurricane victims may be used by victims of last week's tornadoes, officials said Tuesday.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA.: The president of the College of William & Mary, who drew criticism for removing a cross from the nation's oldest college chapel, resigned Tuesday after the board said his contract would not be renewed. Gene Nichol had been president since 2005.

WASHINGTON: The FBI announced Tuesday the award of a $1-billion, 10-year contract to Lockheed Martin to develop what is expected to be the world's largest crime-fighting computer database of biometric information, including fingerprints, palm prints, iris patterns and face images.

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