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Nation briefs

WASHINGTON: New rules on 'don't ask, don't tell'

The Defense Department Thursday declared that "don't ask, don't tell" is once again the law of the land but set up a new system that could make it tougher to get thrown of the military for being openly gay. Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered that all dismissals under the 1993 law be decided by one of the four service secretaries in consultation with the military's general counsel and Gates' personnel chief. Defense officials said the change was not intended to slow the rate of discharges. In his memo, Gates wrote that the purpose of narrowing those in charge was to "ensure uniformity and care in the enforcement" at a time of "legal uncertainty."

NEW YORK: Cops in shooting called 'aggressive'

A college student who was at the scene when a schoolmate was shot to death by police said Thursday that the killing was "over the top, aggressive and unnecessary," joining a chorus of witnesses who say police mishandled the situation. "None of it made sense to me," said Robert Coulombe, a Pace University senior. Danroy "D.J." Henry, of Easton, Mass., was killed early Sunday after police were called to a disturbance that spilled out of a Thornwood, N.Y., bar. Police have said that Henry, a 20-year-old Pace football player, sped away and hit two officers after a policeman knocked on his car window.

CALIFORNIA: Woman drove months with body

Police have launched an investigation after discovering that a Southern California woman drove around for months with a homeless woman's mummified body in her passenger seat. Costa Mesa police said Thursday they discovered the body after receiving a call about a car that was blocking a driveway. Sgt. Ed Everett says officers noticed a stench from the car and found the body covered in a blanket. He says the woman who drives the car told police she let the homeless woman sleep in her car and one morning found she had died inside. The driver was afraid to contact police.

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