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Obama inks bill on drug sentences

President Obama on Tuesday signed a bill reducing the disparity between federal mandatory sentences for convictions for crack cocaine and the powder form of the drug.

Mr. Obama’s signing of the bill in the Oval Office was open to news photographers but not to the rest of the media. He made no remarks. But as a longtime thorn in the side of the black community, the matter is important to a key Obama constituency.

The quarter-century-old law that Congress changed with the new bill has subjected tens of thousands of blacks to long prison terms for crack-cocaine convictions, while giving far more lenient sentences to those, mainly whites, caught with powder.

However, the new law is not retroactive. And it applies only to federal defendants, with no impact on state mandatory-sentencing laws.

PENTAGON

WikiLeaks: We sought military’s review

The Pentagon said Tuesday it had not been contacted by WikiLeaks, despite claims that the whistle-blowing website sought its help reviewing thousands of classified Afghan war documents ahead of their release.

U.S. officials have appealed to WikiLeaks not to post any additional documents and accused the group of endangering the lives of Afghan contacts named in its initial release of tens of thousands of classified U.S. military reports last month.

A WikiLeaks spokesman said Tuesday he wanted the Defense Department’s help reviewing 15,000 additional U.S. documents ahead of their potential release, according to the Daily Beast website.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said WikiLeaks had not contacted the Defense Department. He declined to speculate on what might happen if it did request assistance.

SENATE

Reid has slim lead in Nevada

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid leads his Republican rival Sharron Angle by 48 percent to 44 percent among likely Nevada voters, a Reuters-Ipsos poll found Tuesday.

Mr. Reid led “tea party” favorite Ms. Angle 52 percent to 36 percent among registered voters, but when the likelihood of actually voting was considered, his lead slipped to just 4 percentage points, 48 percent to 44 percent, the poll showed.

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