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Nation in brief: Palin’s daughter gives birth to boy

Tue., Dec. 30, 2008

The teenage daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has given birth to a son months after the announcement of her pregnancy became one of the first dark clouds to swirl over the Alaska governor’s candidacy.

People magazine reported that 18-year-old Bristol Palin gave birth to Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on Sunday. He weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Colleen Jones, the sister of Bristol’s grandmother, told the magazine that “the baby is fine and Bristol is doing well.”

The governor’s office said it would not release information because it considers the baby’s birth a private family matter.


Soldier’s lawsuit claims religious bias

An atheist soldier suing over prayers at military formations claims a larger pattern of religious discrimination exists in the military, citing attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and an evangelical bias in a suicide prevention manual.

The expanded lawsuit filed Monday by Spc. Dustin Chalker and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in U.S. District Court in Kansas City also claims the military doesn’t take complaints of religious discrimination seriously enough.

The Defense Department has identified fewer than 50 complaints about alleged violations of religious freedoms during the past three years, with 1.4 million personnel in uniform, spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said.

She declined to comment on a pending lawsuit but noted that the military has policies against endorsing any religious view.


Class action denied in toxic trailer suit

A federal judge on Monday refused to grant class action status to lawsuits claiming that thousands of Gulf Coast hurricane victims were exposed to potentially toxic fumes while living in government-issued trailers.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ruled that a batch of lawsuits on behalf of hundreds of plaintiffs against the federal government and several trailer manufacturers can’t be handled as a class action because each claim is unique and must be examined individually.

Government tests found elevated levels of formaldehyde in many of the trailers that housed victims of Katrina and Rita after the hurricanes clobbered the Gulf Coast in 2005. Formaldehyde can cause breathing problems and is classified as a carcinogen.


Robbery note written on pay stub

The robber’s threatening note made a Chicago bank job easy to solve: The FBI says the suspect wrote it on his pay stub.

An FBI affidavit said the man walked into a Fifth Third Bank on Friday and handed a teller a note that read “Be Quick Be Quit. Give your cash or I’ll shoot.”

The robber got about $400 but left half of his note. Investigators found the other half outside the bank’s front doors. Authorities said that part of the man’s October pay stub had his name and address.

The suspect was arrested at his Cary home. A judge ordered him held without bond Monday. If convicted of bank robbery, he faces 20 years in prison.

From wire reports


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