Islamabad – The United States has drastically scaled back the number of drone attacks against militants in Pakistan and limited strikes to high-value targets in response to growing criticism of the program in this country.
Those actions appear to have temporarily appeased Pakistan’s powerful generals, who publicly oppose the covert CIA strikes, U.S. officials said.
The future of the drone program is likely to be a key item on the agenda during U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Pakistan, which is expected soon.
Only 16 drone strikes have taken place in Pakistan so far this year, compared with a peak of 122 in 2010, 73 in 2011 and 48 in 2012, according to the New America Foundation, a U.S.-based think tank.
Simpson makes plea to Nevada parole board
Carson City, Nev. – O.J. Simpson went before a parole board Thursday and pleaded for leniency on his armed robbery and kidnapping sentence as he expressed regret for his actions and described being an upstanding inmate who earns pennies an hour keeping gym equipment sanitized and umpiring and coaching games in the prison yard.
Simpson also said he has become a counselor of sorts to fellow inmates doing time for similar crimes and noted that he has made amends with his victims in a botched heist of memorabilia in a hotel room in Las Vegas in 2007.
“I just wish I never went to that room,” the 66-year-old Simpson said during a 15-minute appearance.
Parole officials did not immediately rule on his request. But their decision will have little impact on his overall sentence because he is only eligible for parole on five sentences ordered to run concurrently – two counts each of kidnapping and robbery, and one count of burglary with a deadly weapon.
As a result, even if the Nevada Parole Board ruled in his favor, he would then begin serving sentences attached to other charges and spend at least another four years in prison. He still has four weapon enhancement sentences to serve, followed by consecutive terms for two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Parole from those sentences would be considered at future hearings.
San Diego Democrats want mayor to resign
San Diego – San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s own political party is calling on him to resign after seven women publicly identified themselves as targets of his alleged sexual advances.
The San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee voted 34-6 Thursday night to ask the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years to leave office.
The audience included political consultant Laura Fink, who says Filner patted her buttocks in 2005 when he was congressman and she was his deputy campaign manager. She said she was gratified by the vote.