Prison employee sentenced to prison for having sex with inmate

A former prison secretary has been sentenced to six months in federal prison for having sex with an inmate she was supposed to be supervising, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in the District of Colorado said Friday.

Janine Sligar, 47, of Wray, Colorado, was sentenced Thursday for sexual abuse of a ward. After serving her sentence, she will serve five years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender, spokesman Jeff Dorschner said in a news release.

Sligar, who must surrender to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons on March 2, did not respond to a telephone call to her home for comment.

She was indicted in July by a federal grand jury in Denver and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in October.

According to the plea agreement, Sligar, a 14-year Bureau of Prisons veteran, said she and inmate Eric McClain met in February 2007, when he was assigned to clean her office.

"They began to have conversations and realized they had similar interests," the plea agreement said.

That summer, they initiated a sexual relationship that included 10 to 20 sessions of oral sex and sexual intercourse, ending in October 2007, it said.

The liaisons primarily occurred in a staff restroom in the housing unit at the Federal Prison Camp in Florence, Colorado, according to the agreement.

Sligar, who acknowledged having detailed her activities in a journal, said she obtained a cell phone with a non-local phone number so McClain could call her without raising suspicion and admitted she gave him contraband that included photographs with explicit sexual poses, the plea agreement added.

"Defendant also admitted using her cell phone camera to take graphic pictures of a sexual nature which depict defendant and this inmate," it said.

Authorities began investigating the incident after receiving a tip about the inappropriate relationship. They then learned that Sligar had changed the primary beneficiary on an insurance policy from her children to McClain. A subsequent search of her home turned up the journal and photographs.
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Former CIA station chief accused of rape

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is investigating a former CIA officer in Algeria who has been accused of drugging and raping two women while he held the post, according to an affidavit released by the Justice Department.

Andrew Warren has been accused by the women, who are both Algerian nationals, of drugging and raping them on separate occasions while he was still working for the CIA in the Algerian capital, according to the court document, which was filed in the fall of 2008.

Warren has not been charged with a crime. He has told investigators that he engaged in "consensual sexual intercourse" with both accusers, the affidavit states.

CNN has been unable to reach Warren for comment.

According to the affidavit, a search of Warren's residence in Algiers turned up Xanax, Valium, and "a handbook on the investigation of sexual assaults," according to the affidavit.

Soon after the allegations were made, Warren came back to the United States in October for a previously scheduled trip and was ordered not to return to his post, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

A State Department investigator who interviewed Warren said he was cooperative and voluntarily surrendered his cell phone and digital camera, which had photos of the two women along with several others, the affidavit stated.

But Warren would not agree to hand over his personal computer, on which he has admitted there may be photos of the two women. The affidavit was filed in October to get access to that computer.

"I have probable cause to believe that evidence of Warren's sexual assaults may be stored on Warren's laptop computer," the sworn officer in the affidavit states.

Both the State and Justice Departments are involved in the investigation, according to a source with knowledge of the probe. The investigation includes Warren's time in Algeria and his previous post in Cairo, Egypt, as well as other locations to which he traveled, the source said.

The first alleged rape happened in September 2007, around the same time Warren took the post in ALGERIA, according to the court document. The woman came forward in June 2008. The second woman came forward three months later, saying she had been sexually assaulted in February 2008.

The Justice Department and CIA would not comment on the allegations or any investigation.

"I can assure you that the agency would take seriously and follow up any allegations of impropriety," CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CNN that he is aware of the reports, but had very little information.

"They're very serious allegations and ... they will be looked into and investigated properly," Gibbs said Thursday.

When the allegations first surfaced, they were viewed as "tremendously explosive, no doubt about that," the source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN, especially because Algeria is a Muslim country.

The Algerian ambassador to the United States, Abdallah Baali, told CNN that the Algerian government is being kept informed of the investigation by U.S. authorities. He said Algeria has been given "full assurances that the investigation will get to the bottom of these allegations, and if this individual is found guilty he will be prosecuted" to the fullest extent of the law.

"We trust the American authorities," Baali said. "We have no reason to doubt the rule of law will be followed."

Baali said the incident was "regrettable" but will not affect ties between the United States and Algeria. He said the Algerian government is interested in continuing its cooperative relationship with the United States.

One federal law enforcement source said no developments or activities relating to the case are "imminent."

A station chief heads the CIA's office in a foreign country, establishing a relationship with its host intelligence service and overseeing agency activities in the country.
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Israel expels Venezuelan ambassador

JERUSALEM- Israel has expelled Venezuela's ambassador in response to Venezuela's expulsion of an Israeli envoy and the rupture of diplomatic relations earlier this month.

PHOTO-A pro-Palestinian mural in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.

Venezuelan head of mission Roland Betancourt and two other diplomats were given until Friday to leave.

"Due to the decision of Venezuela to cut relations with us a few weeks ago, we told the Venezuelan charge d'affaires that he and his staff should leave Israel," Foreign Ministry official Lior Hayat said. "We told them they are declared persona non grata in Israel."

Venezuela expelled Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Cohen and staff on January 6 and broke off diplomatic relations on January 14 in protest of Israel's attack on Gaza. Bolivia also broke off relations with Israel that day.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro defended his country's actions, saying Israel violated basic human rights with its military action.

"Our decisions were just, correct, aligned with and adjusted with the spirit of our constitution, which mandates that we seek international peace," Maduro said in a statement on the foreign ministry's Web site.

Maduro said Venezuela's actions are compatible with its support for the creation of a Palestinian state.

He has not spoken, he said, with any Israeli officials over this week's expulsion of the Venezuelan diplomats. "The response of the state of Israel is weak, late, and in any case for us it's an honor," Maduro told the Qatar-based television network Al-Jazeera. "We're proud that the state of Israel that exists today, led by these criminals, made this decision."

Israel and Venezuela have had diplomatic tensions before. Israel recalled its ambassador to Venezuela in August 2006 "in protest against the one-sided policy of the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in light of his outrageous defamatory remarks against the state of Israel, and in reaction to the recalling of the Venezuela ambassador to Israel," the foreign ministry said at the time.

A January 21 cease-fire put an end to fighting between Hamas militants in Gaza and Israel, which had launched a three-week offensive, saying its goal was to stop missile strikes into southern Israel.

More than 1,200 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed. Israel lost about 10 soldiers and three civilians.
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Hopes Soar After IVF Breakthrough

SKY-A woman who had 13 failed attempts at IVF is expecting her first baby thanks to a new fertility technique.

Ultrasound scan of a baby in the womb

Other women may find hope after the breakthrough

The 41-year-old woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, is seven months pregnant. She had previously suffered two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy.

Dr Simon Fishel is director of the Care Fertility clinic in Nottingham, which pioneered the technique.

He said up to 70% of eggs from women approaching the age of 40 have abnormal chromosomes.

These are unlikely to implant successfully in the womb. By identifying healthy eggs, the chances of a pregnancy are far higher.

Dr Fishel said: "Chromosome analysis offers huge hope to many couples who have a poor chance of conceiving, those who have had many failures and for those who want to maximise their chance at each attempt."

Scientists at the clinic collected nine of the woman's eggs by stimulating her ovaries.

They extracted chromosomes that were no longer needed by the eggs and used a special machine to scan them for abnormal chromosomes.

Meanwhile, the eggs were fertilised using standard IVF techniques.

The results revealed that just two of the nine embryos were normal. These were successfully transferred into the woman's womb.

A version of the technique has been available for the last year - and studies have shown that it doubles the chances of pregnancy from 25% to 50%.

Previously, it took so long to scan the chromosomes that the embryos had to be frozen until the results came back.

The freezing process can destroy embryos, some of which may have been healthy.

The Nottingham scientists have been able to speed up the process so that it only takes a day or two. It means freezing is no longer necessary.

Dr Stuart Lavery, a senior consultant gynaecologist at London's Hammersmith hospital, described the pregnancy as a significant step forward.

"Although it is still at a very early stage, this technique may offer a new diagnostic and therapeutic hope to couples who suffer from repeated implantation failure in IVF," he said.

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Bolivians vote on new constitution

Bolivians were on their way Sunday night to overwhelmingly approving a new constitution that would allow leftist President Evo Morales to run for another term later this year, unofficial preliminary results indicate.

The nearly 4 million Bolivians who cast ballots approved the constitutional referendum 60 percent to 40 percent, the unofficial results show. An official tally was not expected until late Sunday, at the earliest.

There were no reports of major problems or irregularities, international observers said.

"Everything was tranquil today," said Hugo Quintana, who was working with a nine-person delegation of observers from the Carter Center in Atlanta.

One of the observers, Argentinean lawyer Alejandro Nato, said the vote went smoothly, calling it "transparent." He said he just heard ordinary complaints such as that the ink used to mark voters could be washed off and someone could vote twice. He did not find any instances of that, Nato said.

Morales, who campaigned hard for the new constitution, would not have been able to run for a second consecutive term under the current charter, adopted in 1967.

The new constitution will give greater voice to the indigenous people who make up most of the country and more power to the central government. Elections for the presidency and other federal posts will be held in December.

Morales, speaking at rallies in La Paz and Cochabamba last week, said the new document will propel the nation.

"Once approved, this will be the refoundation of Bolivia and the refoundation of a new state where there will be equality and we will all have the same rights and the same obligations," he said.

Others say the referendum was a way for Morales to keep himself in power, a move that could plunge the country into further violence, division and uncertainty. That strife, critics say, is already in ample evidence as some regions fight to break away and the deaths of up to 30 peasant government supporters a few months ago led to accusations of a right-wing massacre.

"What will be opened is a new chapter of violence," said Carlos Toranzo, an investigator in La Paz with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a policy institute associated with and partially funded by the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

The referendum was failing in the resource-rich eastern departments, or states, that want greater independence.
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Should Obama end the abortion funds ban?

President Obama has lifted a ban on US government funding for groups providing abortion services abroad. Is it the right decision?

The ban, known as "the global gag rule", stops funding to organisations that offer information on abortion and abortion-related services overseas.

Critics of the ban have said it adversely affected the family planning services that health groups could provide in the world's poorest nations, where infant mortality rates are high.

Pro-life groups in the United States say taxpayers money should not be used to pay for or promote abortion.

Should the US government fund health groups irrespective of whether they advise on abortion? Are you in a country where health services will benefit from the lifting of the ban? Should government funding to health groups contain restrictions on what the groups can do?
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UN reopens schools in Gaza Strip

Schools in the Gaza Strip operated by the United Nations have reopened for the first time since the Israeli offensive against Hamas militants.

About 200,000 Palestinian children were expected to return to class.

In the later stages of the three-week conflict, many of the schools were used to shelter Palestinians whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

It follows a decision by Israel on Friday to lift a ban on UN and foreign aid workers entering the Gaza Strip.

The ban had been in place since early November when tensions mounted between Israel and Hamas as the end of a six-month ceasefire approached.

Aid agencies welcomed the lifting of the restrictions, but warned that the task ahead was "enormous", with vast amounts of building materials alone needed to help rebuild schools, hospitals, mosques, and homes.

After a visit to the Gaza Strip, the top UN official responsible for emergency relief and humanitarian affairs told the BBC that he was shocked by the scale of destruction.

Sir John Holmes said it would have "disturbing" repercussions for the people of Gaza - with any private economic activity in Gaza is "set back by years or decades".

A humanitarian appeal was launched by a number of UK charities on Thursday to raise money for aid relief in Gaza.

Thirty of the UN's 200 schools in Gaza were damaged during the conflict, UN spokesman Christopher Gunness said.

In one of the deadliest incidents, about 40 Palestinian civilians were killed while sheltering at the al-Fakhura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Initially, Israel accused Hamas of firing from the school and using civilians as "human shields", but later changed its defence, blaming a stray Israeli mortar instead.

The UN has called for an independent investigation and for criminal charges to follow if culpability is revealed.

Smuggling tunnels

Meanwhile the new US President, Barack Obama, has asked King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for his country's support in halting the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Israel, which ended its 22-day offensive last Sunday, has warned of renewed military strikes on the Strip if smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border are reopened.

Palestinians argue that Israel's tight control of their borders means the tunnels are the only way they can get enough basic supplies - food and fuel - to survive.

Israel said it launched its offensive to stop cross-border rocket attacks by militants in Gaza against its civilians.

Rocket attacks claimed the lives of three Israeli civilians during the conflict. Ten soldiers were also among the dead.

Palestinian medical officials said about 1,300 Palestinians were killed and thousands more were injured.
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Work begins now for President Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After a whirlwind of galas surrounding his inauguration, Barack Obama begins his first full day as U.S. president Wednesday with a full plate of reality staring him in the face.

"Tonight we celebrate, but tomorrow the work begins," Obama told troops Tuesday night at the Commander-in-Chief's Ball, one of 10 official events marking his inauguration.

After making the rounds of those celebrations with his wife, Michelle, until about 12:45 a.m., Obama is expected to meet with his economic team and top brass from the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Obama is expected to tell the top U.S. officers that he wants them to plan to have combat forces out of Iraq in 16 months, as he promised during his election campaign.

"It's something he still believes is a responsible timetable," White House adviser David Axelrod told CNN. "But they'll discuss it. Everyone agrees that we need to be on a pace to withdraw our troops, and how that will be implemented I'm sure will be something he'll discuss."

Gen. David Petraeus, whose command oversees American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, is also expected to attend the meeting, CNN learned Tuesday. Petraeus, who will have just arrived from Afghanistan and Pakistan, is expected to brief Obama on the latest developments in the troubled region.

Obama's administration was already in action Tuesday, ordering a 120-day halt to prosecutions of suspected terrorists at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to review the military commissions used to try them. Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent a memo to all federal agencies and departments to halt further consideration of pending regulations throughout the government until the new staff can examine those, White House officials told CNN.

An estimated 1.5 million people packed the National Mall in freezing temperatures to watch Obama take the oath of office at noon Tuesday, capping a remarkable rise for a politician who, until 2004, was a little-known Illinois state senator. The 47-year-old president, the son of a Kenyan immigrant, is the first African-American to hold the office. "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time," he told the crowd in his inaugural address. "But know this, America: They will be met."

Shortly after Obama assumed the office from George W. Bush, the Senate confirmed six members of his Cabinet on a single voice vote; Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Secretary of Veteran Affairs retired Gen. Eric Shinseki and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In addition, Peter Orszag was approved as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

An objection by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, delayed confirmation Tuesday of Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton. A roll-call vote on her nomination is expected to be held Wednesday.
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Obama: Challenges real, but 'they will be met'

Barack Obama delivered a sobering assessment of where America stands and a hopeful vision of what it can become during his inaugural address as the nation's 44th president.

"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time," Obama told those gathered on the National Mall -- a crowd estimated at about 2 million -- and millions more watching on television and the Internet.

"But know this, America -- they will be met," he said.

Obama acknowledged the "nagging fear" of an imminent decline of the U.S. He firmly asserted that Americans were up to reversing the trends spawning that fear, whether they be social, economic or political.

"Greatness is never a given. It must be earned," he said, further proclaiming that people who question the scale of U.S. ambitions "have forgotten what this country has already done."

His administration will "begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan," Obama said, adding that he intends to engage the Muslim world in a "new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

"America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace," he said.

He also vowed to end the divisiveness and partisanship he said was rampant through Washington.

"We come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics," he said.

In another allusion to Washington's shortcomings, Obama promised to hold accountable anyone handling taxpayer dollars.

"And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."

The new president also lauded the civil rights movement that ultimately made his election possible. Because of that movement, he said, "a man whose father, less than 60 years ago, might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."

Obama also said he would incorporate "old friends and former foes" in the battle to curb global warming and stave off the nuclear threat.

To terrorists, he spoke directly: "For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you," the president stated.

After the speech, spectator L.J. Caldwell said the moment represented the pinnacle thus far in the civil rights movement.

"When you think back, Malcolm [X] fought. Then we come a little further, Rosa Parks sat. Then come up a little further and [the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.] spoke. Then today, President Obama ran and we won," said Caldwell, of Somerset, New Jersey.

Wearing a navy suit and red tie, Obama was sworn in using the same Bible that was used in President Abraham Lincoln's inauguration.

The jubilant crowd became quiet as Obama began his address, with only an occasional "That's right" or "Amen" and scattered applause from the hundreds of thousands in front of him.

Saddleback Church founder Rick Warren delivered the invocation, applauding what he called "a hinge-point in history." Civil rights veteran the Rev. Joseph Lowery gave the benediction.

Aretha Franklin sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" before Joe Biden was sworn in as vice president.

Following the inauguration ceremony, Obama walked into the Capitol and signed his Cabinet nominations -- which the Senate will vote on when it convenes at 3 p.m. -- and signed a proclamation of national renewal and reconciliation.

"I was told not to swipe the pen," Obama quipped after signing the document, similar to proclamations signed by the last three presidents.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall -- dancing, singing and vigorously shaking flags -- before Tuesday's swearing-in.

"This is America happening," said Evadey Minott of Brooklyn, New York. "It was prophesized by King that we would have a day when everyone would come together. This is that day. I am excited. I am joyful. It brings tears to my eyes."

Minott was at Lafayette Square near the White House, where Obama and his wife, Michelle, had coffee with President Bush and first lady Laura Bush before heading to Capitol Hill.

The Obamas attended a prayer service earlier at St. John's Episcopal Church to kick off the day of events surrounding Obama's inauguration.

As many as 2 million people were expected to crowd into the area between the Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.

Gerrard Coles of Norwalk, Connecticut, had staked out a position in front of St. John's.

"I think this was a beautiful thing," he said. "It's not every day that you get to be a part of history."

Nine-year-old Laura Bruggerman also hoped to catch a glimpse of the soon-to-be president. She waited with her mother, Wendy, and father, Jeff, of Bethesda, Maryland, amid an affable crowd that tried to let shorter onlookers and children to the front for better views.

"I want to see Obama. I think that would be really cool. I could tell all of my friends that I got to see him," the youngster said.

Some spectators were more than a mile from the swearing-in ceremony, watching on giant TV screens erected along the National Mall. The ceremony also drew celebrities like actors Dustin Hoffman, Denzel Washington and Steven Spielberg.

"It's behind the dream. We're just here feeling it with the throngs of people. It's amazing grace personified," Oprah Winfrey said.

Obama and congressional leaders formally bade farewell to Bush, and the now-former president took a presidential jet to Midland, Texas, shortly afterward

After taking a motorcade to the White House, Obama and his family will watch the inauguration parade from a reviewing stand. The parade begins at 3:45 p.m. ET.

The new president and first lady will close the night by attending 10 official inaugural balls.

In addition to Secret Service, the security effort will involve 8,000 police officers from the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions, 10,000 National Guard troops, about 1,000 FBI personnel, and hundreds of others from the Department of Homeland Security, the National Park Service and U.S. Capitol Police.
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Hundreds of thousands on Mall as inauguration nears

CNN-President-elect Barack Obama is at the White House on Tuesday to meet with President Bush, as hundreds of thousands gathered at the Capitol for Obama's inauguration.

The Obamas attended a prayer service at St. John's Episcopal Church on Tuesday morning and then headed to the nearby White House for a meeting with the outgoing president and first lady Laura Bush.

The 9 a.m. church service kicked off a day of events for the man who will become the nation's 44th president at noon ET.

As many as 2 million people are expected to crowd into the area between the Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial as Obama takes the oath of office.

Some will be more than a mile from the swearing-in ceremony, watching on giant TV screens erected along the National Mall.

Thousands arrived before daylight Tuesday in standing-room-only trains. They carried blankets and wore Obama scarves to ward off the wind chills of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Suburban Washington train stations were jammed. A four-story parking deck at the Springfield, Virginia, station was filled at 5 a.m. Trains rolling into the stop about 15 miles south of the Capitol had no room for the hundreds on the platform.

But just being among the crowd is good enough for many.

Gerrard Coles of Norwalk, Connecticut, had staked out a position in front of the church.

"Everyone's down here -- hopefully to catch a glimpse of Barack, just for a split second," he said. "I think this was a beautiful thing. It's something I always wanted to do. It's not every day that you get to be a part of history. Rather than just watch it on TV, you actually get to partake in it and you have a story to tell your kids."

A crowd gathered at a barricade near the church was letting children and shorter onlookers move to the front of the crowd so they could get a better view.

Visitors wandered around the Mall on Monday night, snapping pictures and shooting video of the Capitol and monuments.

The scene around Lafayette Square was almost chaotic, with cars turning around in the street as they were confronted with barriers to closed-off areas and clots of pedestrians crossing streets against the light.

The visitors' excitement rubbed off on some of the jaded locals, one of whom said D.C. residents were "cynical of government."

"The energy on the streets is something I've never seen before," said Nancy Wigal, a 45-year-old technical writer who lives in the Mount Vernon Square area. "People are walking lighter, standing taller and are reaching out to one another. It feels like hope. It feels like shared happiness."

The morning began at 4 a.m. for many as those without tickets made a land grab on the Mall, rushing to stake out positions for the ceremony.

After Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden take their oaths of office on the western front of the Capitol, Obama will deliver his inaugural address, which Obama aides say will emphasize that America is entering a new era of responsibility.

In the approximately 20-minute speech, Obama will say America has been hurt by a "me-first" mentality that contributed to the current economic crisis, aides say, and he will call on individuals -- as well as corporations and businesses -- to take responsibility for their actions.

After a formal farewell to President George W. Bush and lunch with congressional leaders, Obama will head up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where he and his family will watch the inauguration parade from a reviewing stand. The parade begins at 3:45 p.m. ET.Video Watch the final preparations for Inauguration Day »(CNN)

The new president and first lady will then close the night by attending 10 official inaugural balls.

Officials say they really don't know how many will show up, but estimates range from 1 million to 2 million.

Organizers have said about 280,000 people can fit into the secure zones around the Capitol and roughly 300,000 into the area around the parade. A mere 28,000 seats are available on Capitol grounds. Video Watch how Washington has become the "it" place »(CNN)

Those with tickets to the inauguration will undergo tight screening, including passing through magnetometers, when they enter the seating area in front of the Capitol.

Spectators without tickets will be routed to the Mall, which for the first time will be open from end to end for an inauguration. Security there will be less stringent.

Jeri Pickett of Rochester, New York, was one of the few who got a ticket.

"I'd just like to see the inspiration of America," said Pickett, when asked what he was expecting from Inauguration Day. "There's so much warmth here now, and excitement -- rejuvenation."

Transportation officials say they will run subway trains on rush-hour schedules starting at 4 a.m. as well as extra buses. The area's rail system, Metro, expects more than 1 million riders.

Inauguration events have already drawn record crowds. A crowd attending an inauguration concert Sunday was estimated between 300,000 and 400,000 and stretched from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the Washington Monument, which stands at the midpoint of the Mall. Video Watch iReporter who lives near the Mall describe the atmosphere »(CNN)

While Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said Monday there was "no credible threat" to the inauguration events, a security cordon has been put in place around the city's core, turning much of downtown Washington into a pedestrian-only zone.

In addition to Secret Service, the security effort will involve 8,000 police officers from the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions, 10,000 National Guard troops, about 1,000 FBI personnel, and hundreds of others from the Department of Homeland Security, the National Park Service and U.S. Capitol Police.

Another 20,000 members of the National Guard are ready to respond if there is an emergency, according to outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
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Authorities: 7 dead from Brazil church roof fall

CNN-Brazilian firefighters used search dogs to comb the rubble of a church early Monday after the building's roof collapsed during a service, killing seven and injuring nearly 100, authorities said in Sao Paulo said.

Several hundred worshippers were attending Sunday evening services at the evangelical church when the structure's concrete roof fell in on them. Firefighter Mauricio Donatel told CNN that seven people had been killed and another 95 hurt by early Monday.

Miguel Jodas, a Fire Department spokesman, told Brazil's Record TV, said injuries range from lesions to head injuries and fractures.

"We are doing everything in our power to get all the victims out as soon as possible," Jodas said. "This is a task that requires agility and minutia as we sift through the rubble."

Jodas did not comment on what could have caused the collapse at Reborn in Christ Church, a popular evangelical congregation in the heart of Brazil's largest metropolis. The incident took place at approximately 7 p.m. (9 p.m. GMT).

Witnesses told Record TV that they felt a strong wind followed by a blast -- after which, as one put it, the roof collapsed "like dominos." Swarms of church members crowded the scene, many of them praying for loved ones as bodies were pulled out.

Victims were treated on the pavement in makeshift emergency care units, while others in critical condition were rushed off to nearby hospitals.

Attendance at U.S.-style evangelical churches has mushroomed in Brazil, challenging the long-dominant Roman Catholic church with rousing Sunday worship services. Reborn in Christ is one of the largest congregations in Sao Paulo.
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Iranian media report Baha'i missionary arrests

TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested several women for doing missionary work for the Baha'is, the religious group whose persecution by the Islamic republic has been condemned by human rights activists and governments around the globe.

Tabnak, a semi-official Iranian news service, reported the development but did not specify how many women were arrested or when they were seized.

The arrests took place in Kish Island, Iranian territory in the Persian Gulf, the agency said. Tabnak said some of those arrested came from Tehran and others from abroad.

"For a long time now, those who wanted to recruit young Iranian men to join the Baha'is used attractive women as bait," the site said. "Israel has given sanctuary to the leaders of this perverted group [Baha'is] for many years, and the United States and Britain have provided them with billions of dollars to engage in propaganda
This news comes after the Baha'i movement reported that six members of the group were arrested in Tehran this week, including one who works with lawyer and activist Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel peace laureate. Seven leaders of the group seized in 2008 remain in jail.

In a resolution Thursday, the European Parliament condemned Iran's harassment of Ebadi, who had been threatened when she undertook the defense of the seven people arrested. The parliament also criticized the dissemination of "false information" by Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency, which said Ebadi's daughter converted to the Baha'i faith.

The parliament says "allegation can have serious consequences since Baha'i believers are harshly persecuted in Iran."

The Baha'is -- who believe they are targeted in the predominantly Shiite nation because of their faith -- have faced oppression, including arrests, over the years.

They say the persecution is part of a pattern of religious persecution that began in 1979. That's when the monarchy of the Shah of Iran was toppled and an Islamic republic was created.

The Baha'is say the government's philosophies are based largely on the idea that there can be "no prophet following Mohammed" and that their faith "poses a theological challenge to this belief."

The Baha'is say they regard their founder, Baha'u'llah, as "the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Mohammed."

The Baha'is, regarded as the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran, say they have 5 million members around the globe and about 300,000 in Iran.

The Baha'i World Center, which the movement refers to as its "spiritual and administrative heart," is in the Acre/Haifa area in northern Israel. That location predates the founding of the state of Israel; it was formed during the Ottoman Empire's rule of Palestine
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CNN: Pilot praised for 'masterful' landing

Passengers on the US Airways flight that crash-landed into the Hudson River Thursday afternoon praised the actions and courage of the pilot, a safety consultant with 40 years of experience in the aviation industry.

Sources tell CNN that Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger was piloting US Airways flight 1549 from New York's LaGuardia airport to Charlotte, North Carolina, when at least one of the plane's engines failed.

Passenger Jeff Kolodjay offered "kudos" to Sullenberger for a landing that minimized damage to the aircraft and its 155 passengers and crew.

"All of a sudden the captain came on and he told us to brace ourselves and probably brace ourselves pretty hard. But he did an amazing job -- kudos to him on that landing," said Kolodjay, who was sitting in seat 22A.

Sullenberger's wife told CNN that she was stunned to hear the news from her husband after it was all over.

"I hadn't been watching the news. I've heard Sully say to people, 'It's rare for an airline pilot to have an incident in their career,' " said Lori Sullenberger of Danville, California.

"When he called me he said, 'There's been an accident.' At first I thought it was something minor, but then he told me the circumstances and my body started shaking and I rushed to get our daughters out of school."

US Airways said all 155 passengers and crew are alive and safely off the plane.

The crash-landing has also earned the former fighter pilot and private safety consultant accolades from state and government officials.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg commended the pilot for not leaving the plane without checking to make sure every passenger had been evacuated.

"It would appear that the pilot did a masterful job of landing the plane in the river and then making sure that everybody got out," Bloomberg said at a press conference Thursday. "I had a long conversation with the pilot. He walked the plane twice after everybody else was off and tried to verify that there was nobody else on board -- and assures us there was not."

Sullenberger apparently was forced to make an emergency landing after geese were sucked into one or both of the jet's engines. An eyewitness working on the west side of Manhattan said the belly of the plane touched the water first.

An official who heard tape recordings of the radio traffic from Flight 1549 reported the pilot was extraordinarily calm during the event.

"There was no panic, no hysterics," the official said. "It was professional, it was calm, it was methodical. It was everything you hoped it could be."

The pilot and air traffic controller discussed options, including landing at Teterboro airport in New Jersey, the official said. Then there was a "period of time where there was no communications back, and I'm assuming he was concentrating on more important things."

Sullenberger's background in aviation appeared to have prepared him for such a situation.

He has been a pilot with US Airways since 1980, following seven years in the U.S. Air Force.

His resume -- posted on the Web site for his safety consulting firm, Safety Reliability Methods, Inc. -- lists piloting procedures, technical safety strategies, emergency management and operations improvement, as areas of industry expertise.

He served as an instructor and Air Line Pilots Association safety chairman, accident investigator and national technical committee member, according to a biography on the site. He participated in several USAF and National Transportation Safety Board accident investigations, and worked with NASA scientists on a paper on error and aviation, his site says.

For the passengers on flight 1549, Sullenberger's skill and expertise were apparent. Did you see the crash-landing? Send images

"I've flown in a lot of planes and that was a phenomenal landing," said passenger Fred Berretta said.

Berretta was sitting in seat 16A right over one of the engines when it failed and the pilot turned the plane to align it with the Hudson River. He described silence in the plane as the passengers waited to hear from the crew.

A few moments later, the direction to brace for landing came.

"It was an amazing piece of airmanship," said Peter Goelz, a former NTSB managing director.
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Racist Punch Victim Faces Surgery

A young English woman may need surgery on her face after being violently attacked in Scotland because of her accent.

Lucy Newman, 22, suffered a fractured cheekbone, severed nerves behind her eye and a gash to the bridge of her nose, requiring stitches, after being punched in the face.

Lucy Newman before and after the attack

No one has been arrested for the attack

The swelling has been so severe that she has to wait for it to go down before doctors can tell her if she will need surgery.

Miss Newman had been out clubbing with a pal in Aberdeen when they headed home about 2am on Saturday.

The girls were approached by two men on Union Street, one of whom shouted: "Get back to England you English bastard."

Miss Newman, a 5'3" beauty therapist from Gourdon, near Inverbervie, was then struck in the face by one of the men and fell to the ground.

Speaking to Sky News Online about the attack, she said: "I turned around to see who had shouted when I was hit in the face.

"I fell to my knees straight away. There was blood everywhere.

"My first concern was for my friend, I was worried that they would attack her too so I grabbed her arm, there was blood all over her jacket from my face."

Miss Newman, originally from Cheltenham, has lived in Aberdeenshire for 18 years.

"I have gotten the odd comment about my accent, like when the football is on, but I have never been physically attacked before," she said.

After the attack, Miss Newman described how the two men walked away calmly.

"They just walked off casually as if they did it everyday," she said.

"The other man didn't even react to what had happened."

Grampian Police say they are treating the attack as racially motivated but have made no arrests.


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'Adolf Hitler' Is Taken Into Care

Three young children with Nazi-themed names, including a boy called Adolf Hitler, have been taken into care.
Officials removed Adolf Hitler Campbell and his sisters, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie, from their home in Holland Township, Sergeant John Harris said.

But the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) did not reveal the reason why the children were taken into the custody of the state, he told Fox News.

The children's father Heath Campbell is expected in court today in New Jersey in connection with the case.

Kate Bernyk, a spokeswoman for the DYFS, said confidentiality laws prevented her from confirming the Campbell children were involved.

"DYFS has their reasons and they normally don't release any information, so we kind of have to go on faith with them," Sergeant Harris said.

"I've dealt with the family for years and as far as the children are concerned, I have never had any reports of any abuse with the children.

"As far as I know, he's always been very good with the children."

In December, a shop refused to sell a birthday cake to Mr Campbell and his wife Deborah because they asked for three-year-old Adolf Hitler's name to be iced onto it.

Bakers ShopRite said it would be "inappropriate" to put such a name on a cake and added they would not be willing to provide a cake for JoyceLynn Aryan Nation when she turns two in February.

Mr Campbell said he named his son after Hitler because he liked the name and because "no-one else in the world would have that name".
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Childbirth 300 times riskier in poor countries than in rich: UNICEF

Women living in poor countries are 300 times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than if they lived in rich countries, UNICEF said in a report released Thursday in Johannesburg. Skip related content.

"The divide between industrialised countries and developing regions -- particularly the least developed countries -- is perhaps greater on maternal mortality than on almost any other issue," the UN Children's Fund said.

"No other mortality rate is so unequal," it added.

The lifetime risk of a maternal death for a woman is one in seven in Niger, compared to one in 47,600 in Iceland, the agency said in its annual report on the world's children, this year focusing on health for mothers and newborns.

On average, 1,500 women die every day during pregnancy or childbirth, or about half a million per year, with 95 percent of them in Africa or Asia. India alone accounts for 22 percent of the global total.

One quarter of these women die from post-partum haemorrhage, 15 percent from infections, 13 percent from complication in an abortion, 12 percent from eclampsia (a metabolism problem that causes hypertension and convulsions) and eight percent from obstructed labour.

The maternal deaths also affect the mortality rate among newborns, especially when infants are at greatest risk in the first 28 days of life.

Babies whose mother died during the first six weeks of their life are much more likely to die before their second birthday than infants whose mother survives, the report said.

In an extreme case, 75 percent of babies in Afghanistan whose mother dies in childbirth do not live more than one month, it added.

UNICEF said that about 80 percent of maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to primary health care or basic obstetrics.
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Bill would allow same-sex marriage in Maine

A Maine lawmaker introduced a bill on Tuesday that would allow same-sex marriages in the state.

Democratic state Sen. Dennis Damon's bill is entitled "An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedoms." It would allow any two people in Maine to apply for a marriage license.

Mary Bonauto, a Maine resident and civil rights project director for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), held a news conference Tuesday to show support for the bill.

"Loving, committed same-sex couples in my home state deserve all the rights and responsibilities of marriage," she said.

The bill, however, is sure to face opposition.

Maine Gov. John Baldacci, also a Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday that he is focused on the economy, but in the past has "opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions."

Fellow New England states Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only two in the nation where same-sex marriage is allowed, according


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Mockry?I'll see what I can do! High priest of the bizarre David Gest lays his hands on troubled Kerry Katona in stage stunt

There are plenty of things Kerry Katona could claim to need saving from - her bankruptcy and alcohol problems being just two of them.


And so perhaps David Gest was simply trying to help when he got the reality TV star onstage during a performance of David Gest - My Life at the indigO2 at the O2 arena complex last night.

But it is questionable how being 'baptised' onstage by the TV personality might help Miss Katona.

Will this help? Daivd Gest performs a mock Baptism on Kerry Katona during a performance of David Gest - My Life at the O2 Arena last night

Will this help? Daivd Gest performs a mock Baptism on Kerry Katona during a performance of David Gest - My Life at the O2 Arena last night

As the smiling blonde singer acted up for the cameras Gest tipped her head back and, microphone in hand, performed the ceremony.

Gest was dressed as a priest for the occasion, while Miss Katona wore black PVC trousers, black top and a crystal embellished belt.

She smiled and laughed and held her hands out to the crowd, appearing not to have a care in the What have I got myself into? Kerry appeals to the audience during the showworld.

What have I got myself into? Kerry appeals to the audience during the show

But at the mother-of-four's home six accountants were collecting boxes of files.

Whoops! Kerry Katona at the charity auction hosted by David Gest where she spent £3,000 on dinner with... close friend Gest

Miss Katona was made bankrupt in August after failing to pay £417,000 worth of unpaid tax dating from 2004 to 2006.

It was also reported she owes £73,000 tax from 2007.

Following her court appearance last year, her legal team managed to get the bill reduced from £417,000 to £82,000.

Yesterday the team of legal representatives, from Touchstone Accounts & Legal, was spotted carrying documents in folders labelled Kerry Katona.

And one member of the team, which amongst other things specialises in debt collection, was carrying a book entitled Sealy & Milmam: Annotated Guide to the Insolvency Legislation 2008/2009.

But despite her money worries, Miss Katona still managed to fork out £3,000 at a charity auction recently to have dinner with a celebrity.

Miss Katona, who had been knocking back champagne and shots at the bar, bid for the date with the I'm A Celebrity winner at Liverpool's Adelphi Hotel on Friday night, where she attended an event hosted by Gest.

She entered the bidding at £3,000 and looked surprised when the hammer went down at £3,200.

After winning she returned to her husband at the bar and told him: 'I've just paid over three grand for something and I don't know what it is.'

It turned out to be dinner with Gest, who she could easily dine with at any time.

Her bid was a surprise to many in the audience since her bank account has been frozen and she's not allowed a credit card.

Miss Katona, who receives a reported £750,000 for being the face of supermarket Iceland.

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Sex offender wins $500,000 Alaska lottery

An Alaska lottery held to raise money for a group that helps sexual abuse victims had a surprise winner: a convicted sex offender.

Alec Ahsoak, who according to the state sex offender registry was convicted in 1993 and 2000 for sexual abuse of a minor, came forward Saturday with the winning ticket for the $500,000 Lucky Time Pull Tabs jackpot.

Proceeds of the lottery help Standing Together Against Rape in Anchorage, a nonprofit group that offers support to sexual assault victims among other services.

"It's not how we had envisioned the story going," Nancy Haag, the group's executive director, told CNN Radio.

Alaska has the highest per capita number of rape cases in the United States, according to FBI statistics.

"With a ranking that high, it's ironic that the person who wins is a convicted sex offender," Haag added.

Ahsoak's past was first revealed by KTUU-TV in Anchorage on Sunday. His attorney, Lance Wells, did not immediately return a call Monday from CNN.

Efforts to reach lottery organizer Abe Spicola, who owns Lucky Times Pull Tabs, were unsuccessful late Monday. But Spicola told the Anchorage Daily News that Ahsoak "was going to buy a house and said he was going to donate part of it to God, and, you know, charity."
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Gay NH bishop to offer prayer at inaugural event

CONCORD, N.H. – The first openly gay Episcopal bishop will offer a prayer at the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural event for President-elect Barack Obama.

The selection of New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson for Sunday's event follows weeks of criticism from gay-rights groups over Obama's decision to have the Rev. Rick Warren give the invocation at his Jan. 20 inauguration.

Warren backed the ban on same-sex marriage that passed in his home state of California on the November ballot.

Robinson said last month the choice of Warren was like a slap in the face. In an interview with the Concord Monitor, he said he doesn't believe Obama invited him in response to the Warren criticism but said his inclusion won't go unnoticed by the gay and lesbian community.

"It's important for any minority to see themselves represented in some way," Robinson told the newspaper for a story in Monday's editions. "Whether it be a racial minority, an ethnic minority, or in our case, a sexual minority. Just seeing someone like you up front matters."

Clark Stevens, a spokesman for the inaugural committee, said Robinson was invited because he had offered his advice to Obama during the campaign and because of his church work. When asked whether Robinson was included to calm the Warren complaints, he said Robinson is "an important figure in the religious community. We are excited that he will be involved."

Robinson, 61, said both Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden will attend the event, and Obama is expected to speak. As for himself, Robinson said he doesn't yet know what he'll say, but he knows he won't use a Bible.

"While that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many Americans," Robinson said. "I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation."

Robinson said his prayer will be reflective of the times.

"I think these are sober and difficult times that we are facing," he said. "It won't be a happy, clappy prayer."

Robinson's 2003 consecration has divided the church in the United States and abroad. Last month, theological conservatives upset by liberal views of U.S. Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans formed a rival North American province.

Information from: Concord Monitor,


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Amy Winehouse's husband seeks divorce

Blake Fielder-Civil is trying to kick his Amy Winehouse habit now that he's seen photos of the singer cavorting with another man in the Caribbean while he sits in a British jail.

Celebrity lawyer Henri Brandman confirmed to CNN that Fielder-Civil has asked him "to commence divorce proceedings on the grounds of Amy's adultery."

Winehouse was quoted by a London tabloid last week saying she was "off the drugs for good" and has a new man in her life, 21-year-old actor Josh Bowman.

"I've finally escaped from hell," Winehouse told the News of the World. "I'm in love again, and I don't need drugs. Look at me; I'm glowing!"

The tabloid also published pictures of Winehouse and Bowman in playful poses on a beach on the island of St. Lucia.

Grammy-award-winning singer Winehouse, 25, married Fielder-Civil, 26, in May 2007.

Since then, both have been arrested on drug charges together and separately.

"I don't know what's going on with us now, and for the time being I've just forgotten I'm even married," Winehouse told the tabloid.

"I'm just here on my own, happy and having a good time with Josh," she said. "I'll deal with Blake when I get back. But our whole marriage was based on doing drugs."

Fielder-Civil is currently jailed in England after a failed drug test in December.

Winehouse, 25, is well-known for her song "Rehab," which describes the singer's reluctance to enter a clinic. She won five Grammy awards last year -- three for "Rehab" as well as Album of the Year and Best New Artist.

Winehouse has battled drug addiction and spent about two weeks in a rehabilitation clinic last January.

Police started investigating her last year after obtaining a leaked home video that showed her smoking something in a glass pipe minutes after she was heard saying she had just taken six tablets of the anti-anxiety drug Valium.

The Sun, Britain's top daily tabloid, made the 19-minute video public. It said the video was shot in Winehouse's East London home. The Metropolitan Police investigated after receiving a copy of the video from The Sun.

She and her husband were arrested at a Norwegian hotel on marijuana possession in October 2007.
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Australia seeks answers to worst naval disaster

Australia's navy Monday opened two weeks of hearings into the World War II sinking of the cruiser Sydney II, an effort to formally close the book on the country's worst naval disaster.

The ship's entire crew of 645 died when it was sunk by the German commerce raider Kormoran. About 15 relatives of the lost men attended Monday's opening session, said Cmdr. Jack Rush, the lawyer presenting the evidence gathered by investigators to a commission of inquiry led by a retired judge.

"I don't think until today -- until you actually get to hear the evidence of the impact of a bombardment of the ship and the nature of the injuries -- I think there are some pretty mixed emotions as a consequence of it," Rush said. The inquiry could produce its report on the sinking by April, he said.

In March, researchers discovered the Sydney's wreckage in the Indian Ocean, about 207 km (128 miles) off Australia's west coast. At the time it sank, searchers found only two floatation belts and an empty life raft -- and the only accounts of its November 1941 destruction came from survivors of the Kormoran, an armed cargo ship flying a false flag.

The German ship inflicted "enormous damage" on the Sydney during a battle that is believed to have lasted about 35 minutes and left 70 percent of its crew dead or incapacitated, Rush said.

"It is likely that the captain, the navigator, all the senior officers were taken out on the first salvo," he said.

A torpedo tore into the Sydney's bow, flooding the forward end of the ship, while the Kormoran fired an estimated 87 rounds from its 15-cm (5.9-inch) guns into the Australian cruiser. The Sydney limped away and sank sometime between two to four and a half hours later, Rush said.

During the battle, however, the Kormoran was hit by an Australian shell that damaged its engines and set the vessel ablaze. With hundreds of mines aboard, its captain ordered the crew to abandon ship, fearing the fire would set those off.

A search began only five days after the battle, when the Sydney had failed to return to port in Fremantle. And an 11-day delay by Australia's government in announcing the ship's loss fueled what a 1999 parliamentary report called "a proliferation of theories" about the fate of the crew -- that the ship was actually sunk by a Japanese submarine, that survivors were machine-gunned in the water or that the government hid bodies after they washed up on the beach.

Rush said some of the proponents of those theories will be allowed to present their cases to the inquiry as well.

"We're not hearing from everyone, but we are giving an opportunity to people to make those arguments," he said
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Britain's Prince Harry apologizes for offensive language

(CNN) Videos purportedly shot by Britain's Prince Harry and including offensive language prompted an official apology Saturday from the prince and the royal family.

According to the British-based News of the World, which released the videos on its Web site, the videos show British soldiers while a voice presumed to be Harry's calls one solider a "Paki," and in another clip tells soldier wearing a cloth on his head that he looks "like a raghead."

A spokesman for Prince Harry apologized in a statement released by St. James's Palace Saturday after the videos surfaced online. The spokesman said the prince -- who is third in line to the British throne -- "understands how offensive this term can be, and is extremely sorry for any offense his words might cause."

It is not first apology for offensive behavior by Prince Harry. In 2005, he was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform to a party, for which he said he was sorry.

"It was a very stupid thing to do and I've learned my lesson, simple as that really," he said in a September 2005 interview marking his 21st birthday. "I'd like to put it in the past now. What's done is done. I regret it."

The videos, filmed during his military service in 2006, were shot by the prince, according to the Web site.

In one video, a voice from behind the camera says "Ah, our little Paki Friend...Ahmed," as the camera zooms in on a soldier from across the room. The video does not show Prince Harry's face, but News of the World suggests that the voice is his.

The soldiers were waiting for their flight to Cyprus for a mission, according to the Web site.

The royal family said the 'paki' term was a nickname for a friend in his platoon.

"There is no question that Prince Harry was in any way seeking to insult his friend," the St. James's Palace statement said.

The second video was filmed after arriving in Cyprus, according to News of the World, and shows a British soldier with a cloth over his head.

A voice, which the News of the World claims to be Harry's, is heard saying, "(explicative) me, you look like a raghead."

In response to that comment, St. James's Palace said, "Prince Harry used the term 'raghead' to mean Taliban or Iraqi insurgent."

Dickie Arbiter, a former press secretary to Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry's grandmother, urged people to take the prince's words in context.

"Harry is not the same man as he was three years ago," Arbiter told Britain's ITN network. "You don't think when you are shooting a video."

And he pointed out that Harry was serving in the army, where language is not always delicate.

"It is quite common for names to be used in the military.... He's a serviceman first and foremost, but people see him as a prince first and he has to be careful of what he says."

The British Ministry of Defense said it was not aware of any complaints against Prince Harry and would investigate the allegations of inappropriate behavior, according to a written statement released Saturday.

"Bullying and racism are not endemic in the Armed Forces," it said.
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Witnesses: Israelis and Hamas clash near Gaza City

JERUSALEM, Israel (CNN) — Clashes between Hamas militants and Isaeli Defense Forces soldiers raged to the north and east of Gaza City early Sunday morning, according to eye-witness accounts and medical sources.

Heavy machine gun fire could be heard east of Gaza City as fighting moved closer to the city, according to a CNN stringer in the area.

Israeli shelling north of the city killed two Gazan residents, medical sources at Shifa hospital told CNN.

Meanwhile, forty-nine people were being treated for severe burns suffered after Israeli shelling near the city of Khan Younes in the southern Gaza strip ignited several buildings, including a U.N. school, medical sources at an area hospital told CNN. A girl died as a result of burns from the ensuing fire, sources at Khan Younes hospital said.

Hamas militants fired 20 Grad rockets into Israel Saturday, injuring four civilians, according to an Israeli Defense Forces spokesman.

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Polygamy leader's alleged bride subject of custody trial

CNN: Court proceedings will be held in September to determine whether a 14-year-old girl believed to have married polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs should permanently remain in state custody.

The September 28 proceedings were scheduled at a hearing Thursday in San Angelo, Texas, according to CNN affiliate KLST.

The 14-year-old girl was one of 400 children removed in April from the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Yearning for Zion (YFZ) ranch near Eldorado, Texas. A judge later ordered the children returned after the Texas Supreme Court ruled there was no evidence the children were in imminent danger on the ranch.

The girl was among those ordered released, but was taken back into foster care in August after child protection officials alleged her parents did not take measures to limit her contact with men involved in underage marriage.

According to court documents filed in December, the girl's mother, Barbara Jessop, "has not demonstrated herself as a safe and responsible caregiver" and "has not demonstrated that she can provide a safe and stable home" for the girl. In counseling sessions, Jessop has denied that her daughter was abused, the documents said.

The girl is believed to have married Jeffs as a 12-year-old in July 2006 with the consent of her parents. At the time, Jeffs was 50. Jeffs is also accused of marrying several other underage girls, authorities have said.

Jeffs was indicted last year by a Texas grand jury, along with five FLDS members, on sexual assault charges. He is already facing a sentence of up to life in prison in Utah and is awaiting trial in Arizona. As part of the case, Texas authorities took DNA samples from Jeffs in May, saying at the time they were investigating allegations he "spiritually" married four girls ranging in age from 12 to 15.

Authorities in the criminal case have pictures showing Jeffs and the girl kissing, apparently at their wedding. Police believe she was sexually assaulted later in the day, according to court documents.

Court documents note the girl's father, Frederick Jessop, was among those indicted and faces felony charges of conducting an unlawful marriage ceremony involving a minor.

While in foster care, the girl has been home-schooled and received counseling. She has supervised visits and phone calls with her mother, the documents said.

The girl has "expressed sadness with not being around her family" to a counselor, but in weekly therapy sessions, she has "slowly been sharing more information about her family and how she sees herself," according to the documents.

The FLDS, a 10,000-member offshoot of the mainstream Mormon church, openly practices polygamy on the ranch, as well as in the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. Critics of the sect say young girls are forced into "spiritual" marriages with older men and sexually abused. Sect members have denied any sexual abuse takes place.
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