Menendez will fill N.J. seat in Senate

Jersey City, N.J. Gov.-elect Jon Corzine announced Friday that he would appoint Democratic Rep. Robert Menendez to serve the remaining year of his Senate term, giving New Jersey its first minority senator.

After Corzine is sworn in as governor on Jan. 17, he will officially make Menendez the third Hispanic in the Senate, joining Democrat Ken Salazar of Colorado and Republican Mel Martinez of Florida.

“Bob is a fierce and articulate advocate. He’s a man of integrity,” said Corzine, who was elected governor last month. “He is eminently electable.”

Menendez, with his huge $4.1 million campaign war chest and status as the third most powerful Democrat in the House, was long considered the front-runner for Corzine’s seat. National Democrats pushed for a solid candidate to keep the seat in the party’s hands in the 2006 election.

Outed CIA officer leaves the agency

Washington Valerie Plame, the CIA officer whose exposure led to a criminal investigation of the Bush White House, spent her last day at the spy agency Friday.

Neither the agency nor Plame’s husband would confirm her departure, but two people who have known Plame for a number of years confirmed she was leaving.

Married to Bush administration critic and former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame was working at agency headquarters in Langley, Va., in 2003 when her CIA status was disclosed by conservative columnist Robert Novak. That triggered a probe that led to the recent indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.

She was an employee in the CIA’s Counterproliferation Division.

NYC still can’t find source of sweet smell

New York For the second time in two months, a mysterious maple syrup aroma wafted over Manhattan on Thursday, and city officials still don’t know what caused it.

Callers to the city’s 311 help line and the Fire Department reported the pleasant scent around 3:30 p.m. in neighborhoods from midtown to the Upper East and West sides.

The city Department of Environmental Protection sent out its hazardous materials team to take instant readings of the air from neighborhoods where the calls originated, but nothing dangerous was found.

Police not liable in shooting of officer

Providence, R.I. A federal jury Friday rejected a $20 million civil rights lawsuit against the Police Department over the fatal shooting of a black officer by two white colleagues who mistook him for a suspect.

Sgt. Cornel Young Jr., 29, was off duty and in civilian clothes when he was killed outside a diner in 2000.

The shooting sparked charges of racism on the police force, where Young’s father, a major, was the highest ranking black officer.

Young’s mother, Leisa Young, claimed in her lawsuit that the department had not properly trained one of the officers to recognize off-duty or undercover officers.

Jurors ultimately agreed that the department’s training was not to blame for Young’s death, but they also agreed that the training could be improved.


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