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Nation in Brief: Bill helps offices cut Sudan ties

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Wicker (The Spokesman-Review)

President Bush signed legislation Monday to allow states and local governments to cut investment ties with Sudan because of the violence in Darfur.

The bill permits state, county and municipal officials to adopt measures to divest their government investments from companies involved in the four sectors that provide vital revenue for Sudan’s government – oil, power production, mining and military equipment.

At least 200,000 people have been killed and millions driven from their homes in four years of violence in the Darfur region since ethnic African rebels took up arms against militia supported by the Arab-dominated central government.


Governor names Lott’s replacement

Gov. Haley Barbour on Monday announced his choice for Trent Lott’s replacement in the Senate: Rep. Roger Wicker, a conservative congressman.

Barbour said it was important to select a person with Lott’s “conservative values” and who would be able to work with Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, also a Republican.

Wicker, 56, will serve until a special election is held. He is expected to be a candidate in the special election, which Barbour has scheduled for Nov. 4.

Wicker was elected to the U.S. House in 1994 to succeed the late Rep. Jamie Whitten. He has been re-elected six times from the 1st District in north Mississippi.


Marine faces lesser charges in killings

A Marine will be court-martialed on reduced charges in the killings of 24 Iraqi men, women and children in the town of Haditha in 2005, the Marine Corps announced Monday.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 27, of Meriden, Conn., will stand trial on charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice. No trial date was set.

More serious charges of unpremeditated murder, as well as charges of soliciting another to commit an offense and making a false official statement, were dismissed by the Marine Corps.

The killings occurred Nov. 19, 2005, after a roadside bomb hit a Marine convoy, killing the driver of a Humvee and wounding two other Marines. Wuterich and a squad member, Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, allegedly shot five men by a car at the scene. Wuterich then ordered his men into several houses, where they cleared rooms with grenades and gunfire, killing unarmed civilians.


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