CALIFORNIA: General to testify on Iraq killings
A Marine Corps spokesman said Thursday a four-star general will testify at a pretrial hearing in the biggest criminal case against U.S. troops to arise from the Iraq war. Lt. Col. David Griesmer said Gen. James Mattis is expected to address a military judge at Camp Pendleton on Monday concerning a defense motion to dismiss charges against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, accused of voluntary manslaughter and other charges in a case involving the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha in 2005.
WASHINGTON: Gay troops blamed in Bosnian war
A retired U.S. general said Dutch troops failed to defend against the 1995 genocide in the Bosnian war because the army was weakened, partly because it included openly gay soldiers. The comment Thursday by John Sheehan, a former NATO commander who retired from the military in 1997, shocked some in the Senate Armed Services Committee, where Sheehan spoke in opposition to a proposal to allow gays to serve openly in the U.S. military. Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin told Sheehan he was "totally off-target." A Dutch defense ministry spokesman dismissed Sheehan's remarks as nonsense. Britain, Canada, Australia and Israel as well as the Netherlands allow gays to serve openly.
Amistad on way to visit Havana
It will be the rarest of sights: a black-hulled, two-masted replica of a slave-carrying schooner slipping into Havana's harbor next week, flying the flags of the United States and Cuba. The Amistad is the 10-year-old official tall ship of the state of Connecticut and a replica of the Cuban coastal trader that sailed from Havana in 1839 with a cargo of African captives, only to become an emblem of the abolitionist movement. As a U.S.-flagged ship, the Amistad's 10-day, two-city tour of Cuba provides a counterpoint to lingering tensions and stands out as an exception to the 48-year-old U.S. embargo on Cuba.
NORTH DAKOTA: Fargo girds for coming flood crest
Before this flood season, officials in Fargo asked homeowners to clear paths in their yards so that firm and straight walls of sandbags could be placed to protect their homes. Last year, Fargo wasn't so prepared. Homeowners put sandbags right on top of snow instead of the bare ground, allowing water to seep underneath and, in some cases, causing dikes to collapse. Other less-sturdy barriers toppled over, and floodwaters flowed into homes. The flood-weary city has learned from its mistakes, especially after last year's record-breaking flood. As a result, many here feel they've already won the flood fight against the Red River. The National Weather Service is forecasting the river to crest Sunday at 20 feet above flood stage, meaning the overflowing river waters could threaten homes, parks and roads in low-lying neighborhoods.