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Former Hastings aide files harassment suit

A former aide to Rep. Alcee L. Hastings is suing the Florida congressman for sexual harassment, allegations Mr. Hastings calls “ludicrous.”

The conservative legal group Judicial Watch is representing Winsome Packer in her lawsuit filed Monday against Mr. Hastings, a Democrat, and the Helsinki Commission, which he chaired. Miss Packer claims Mr. Hastings repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances, including trying to invite himself to her apartment and hugging her, and threatened her position when she refused him.

Miss Packer served as the commission’s staff representative in Vienna, Austria, and says much of the harassment occurred when Mr. Hastings was in Europe on commission business. The commission advises on U.S. policy about security, human rights and other issues involving Europe.

Mr. Hastings issued a written statement saying that he never sexually harassed anyone and predicting that he will prevail.


House Democrats continue boycott

INDIANAPOLIS | Most Indiana House Democrats remain in Illinois to boycott Republican proposals and say they will stay away as long as necessary, even if their absence shuts down state government when the current budget expires.

Democrats want to negotiate a compromise on the bills they oppose, but Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma of Indianapolis refuses to hash out a backroom deal.

Rep. Terry Goodin, a Democrat from Austin, said in Indianapolis on Monday that Democrats are prepared to stay out “as long as it takes” to get Republicans to agree to changes, even if that means staying out past June 30, when the current budget expires.

Mr. Goodin said if that happens, Democrats wouldn’t be to blame for shutting down the government. He says it is Mr. Bosma’s responsibility to negotiate and bring back Democrats.


Report: Too many white, male leaders

The U.S. military is too white and too male at the top and needs to change recruiting and promotion policies and lift its ban on women in combat, an independent report for Congress says.

Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women, the report issued Monday by an independent panel said, quoting data from September 2008.

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