Nation Briefs: New York synagogue bomb plot suspect pleads guilty

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PENNSYLVANIA

Nativity scene Jesus returned, replacement swiped

CHAMBERSBURG — A baby Jesus figure taken from a Pennsylvania church’s Nativity scene last year was found cradled in the arms of a nearby statue, just hours before the replacement statue was swiped.

The vintage figurine was taken last year from outside Chambersburg’s Central Presbyterian Church. It was found Sunday in the arms of a bronze Civil War soldier statue across the town square.

A local business had replaced the Jesus statue when the Nativity scene was set up a couple weeks ago. The Chambersburg Public Opinion reported that replacement statue was swiped sometime after services Sunday.

TEXAS

New Fort Hood judge to hear court-martial

FORT HOOD — The court martial against the Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage will move forward with a replacement to the military judge who insisted that the suspect be forcibly shaved — the biggest hurdle to a long-delayed trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled Monday that Col. Gregory Gross should no longer preside over the military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan due in part to what it called a “duel of wills” between judge and defendant. Maj. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of murder in the November 2009 shooting rampage.

While in custody, Maj. Hasan has grown a beard that he says is an expression of his Islamic faith. Col. Gross had sided with prosecutors who say the beard violates Army grooming standards and could confuse witnesses.

The court of appeals declined to rule on whether Maj. Hasan could keep the beard, but it also indicated that the next judge may not be the right authority to decide that issue, suggesting that the case will move forward.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-Penn State president seeks looser bail

HARRISBURG — Former Penn State President Graham Spanier wants looser bail rules so he can travel outside Pennsylvania and overseas for family and professional reasons.

Mr. Spanier’s request filed last month said his domestic travel needs included visits to his second home in New York City and holidays with relatives in Iowa and his ill mother in Chicago.

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