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The U.S. military on Wednesday closed Camp Bucca, once its largest lockup in Iraq, as it moves to release thousands of detainees or transfer them to Iraqi custody before the end of the year. The sprawling facility just north of the Kuwaiti border held 180 detainees Wednesday. By midnight, all were to be transferred to either Camp Taji or Camp Cropper just outside Baghdad, the U.S. military's two remaining detention facilities, while cases are prepared to try to bring them to trial in Iraqi courts. Sixty-five have already been convicted and are awaiting death sentences, said Brig. Gen. David Quantock, the commander in charge of the detention system. The U.S. military now holds about 8,400 prisoners in Iraq.


Drug use cited in execution difficulty

A prison log blamed a condemned Ohio inmate's past drug use for problems finding a usable vein during an execution attempt that was stopped Tuesday after an unprecedented two hours. The log of the scheduled execution of Romell Broom indicates that executioners made the observation at 3:11 p.m., more than an hour after first trying to find a vein. Broom said at one point he was a heavy heroin user, but then said at another time that he wasn't, prisons spokeswoman Julie Walburn said Wednesday. Gov. Ted Strickland on Tuesday issued a one-week reprieve to Broom.


Kids hospital gets $15M from UAE

The government of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates that form the United Arab Emirates, is giving $150 million to Children's National Medical Center in Washington. The donation announced Wednesday is one of the largest ever to a U.S. pediatric hospital. It will create the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, where doctors will collaborate to improve surgeries for children. The gift was arranged by Washington philanthropist Joseph E. Robert Jr., who approached the crown prince of Abu Dhabi after the two met on a business trip and became friends.


Prime minister takes office

Japan's new prime minister said Wednesday that he intends to change his country's "somewhat passive" relationship with the United States and to review the large American military presence in his country. Yukio Hatoyama, whose Democratic Party of Japan won a landslide victory, said he wants to build a relationship of trust with President Barack Obama to "create an environment where we can both frankly state our opinions."


Mexico: Gunmen burst into a drug treatment center in the northern Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and shot to death 10 people, the second such mass killing this month.

Pakistan: A Christian man, Robert Fanish, 20, detained on blasphemy charges, was found dead in his jail cell on Tuesday in eastern Pakistan and Human rights groups said he appeared to have been killed, perhaps in collusion with the authorities.

China: Officials announced the breakup of a bomb-making plot in the volatile western region of Xinjiang on Wednesday, apparently an indication that authorities had not only failed to suppress the ethnic hatreds there but also that the weapons of choice in the feud could be getting more lethal.