- The Washington Times - Monday, January 21, 2002

American Taliban due home soon
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday "American Taliban" fighter John Walker would return home "very soon."
"It depends on when airplanes can pick people up and transport them to the proper place here in the U.S., but I would think in the immediate future, several days," Mr. Rumsfeld said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Mr. Rumsfeld said the young U.S. national who enlisted as a Taliban fighter and was captured in Afghanistan was being treated well.
The secretary of defense said Walker, who is currently being held aboard the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea, will be handed over to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Tibetan scholar released by China
A Tibetan scholar who was serving an 18-year prison term in China on spying charges has been granted early release on medical grounds, the State Department said yesterday.
In a gesture likely aimed at improving relations with the United States before President Bush's visit to China next month, former Fulbright scholar Ngawang Choephel arrived in Detroit yesterday from China, where he had served about a third of his prison term.
"We are pleased that after persistent efforts by many players, he has been released," said a State Department spokeswoman, confirming the arrival in Detroit of Mr. Choephel, who is believed to be suffering from bronchitis.
A Tibetan advocacy group, the International Campaign for Tibet, welcomed Mr. Choephel's release and urged China to free hundreds of other Tibetan political prisoners.

Increased funding for minority colleges
President Bush will propose increasing federal funding for colleges and universities that traditionally attract black and Hispanic students.
Mr.Bush will call for more than $350 million for historically black and Hispanic colleges, universities and graduate institutions. The grants, delivered directly to the campuses, would be $12 million over current funding levels, the administration said.
The president presents his proposed budget to Congress in coming days, and the administration has been dribbling out good-news nuggets as Bush shifts his focus from the war on terrorism to a domestic agenda.
The proposal also represents a second phase in Mr. Bush's efforts to bolster education, his top priority before the terrorist attacks. Mr. Bush signed a bill earlier this month that makes sweeping changes to the federal government's role in K-12 education.
Education Secretary Rod Paige was to announce the proposal today, Martin Luther King Day.

Roy Rogers saddle set sells for $412,000
MESA, Ariz. Roy Rogers' sterling silver, gold and ruby-studded saddle, which the cowboy movie star claimed as one of his prized possessions, sold together with a harness set for $412,000 at an auction late Saturday during a Western collectors' show.
After some spirited bidding among 30 collectors, an anonymous bidder rode away with the 1931 saddle, bridle and martingale owned by the "King of the Cowboys," event organizers said.

Yates believed devil possessed her
Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub, believed she was possessed by the devil and could only be freed by her own execution, Time magazine reports.
"Andrea Yates told homicide Sergeant Eric Mehl what she had done and why," Time magazine says in an article due on newsstands today. "She did not hate the children. Nor was she mad at them."
Jury selection is continuing for her trial in Houston. Mrs. Yates, 37, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and her lawyers have said a psychotic form of postpartum depression caused her to kill her children.
"They weren't developing correctly," she was quoted as saying. Asked by Sgt. Mehl how long she had considered murder, she replied: two years, "since I realized I have not been a good mother to them." She believed "only her execution would rescue her from the evil inside her," the magazine said.

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