- The Washington Times - Friday, August 29, 2003

Bush bans foreign aid to pro-choice groups

CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush ordered the State Department yesterday to withhold U.S. family-planning help from overseas groups that promote or perform abortions with their own money.

The decision expands an order issued two years ago that applied only to family-planning money administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, a division of the State Department.

The White House announced the president’s decision in a statement issued in Crawford, Texas, where he has been vacationing. Mr. Bush opposes abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when pregnancy endangers a woman’s life.

Family-planning advocates criticized the latest action, calling it a byproduct of the State Department’s decision this week to end funding for an AIDS program for African and Asian refugees.

Removal of monument fulfills judge’s order

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A federal judge said yesterday that the state of Alabama is in compliance with his order requiring the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.

The 5,300-pound monument that Chief Justice Roy Moore installed two summers ago was moved Wednesday and is now inside a locked storage room off an employee lunchroom, Attorney General Bill Pryor said in a conference call yesterday with U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson.

“We told the court that we had verified the monument was moved and are satisfied the state is in compliance with the court order,” said Richard Cohen, an attorney for the plaintiffs who sued to have the monument removed.

The judge told attorneys he would issue an order later yesterday declaring the state in compliance, according to Mr. Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Convictions upheld in 1963 church bombing

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A state appeals court upheld the murder convictions of a former Klansman for a 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals rejected arguments by Thomas Blanton Jr. that FBI agents illegally taped him talking about making the bomb. Blanton’s attorneys also argued the law in 1964 did not allow eavesdropping evidence to be used in a trial.

Blanton’s attorney, John Robbins, said he planned to appeal.

The tape played a crucial role in Blanton’s conviction in 2001 for the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham.

Blanton’s attorneys claimed the recording device used by FBI agents penetrated Blanton’s apartment, a case of illegal trespassing. But the court said testimony from FBI Special Agent Ralph Butler indicated that did not happen.

Parent sues schools, seeks reimbursement

NEW ORLEANS — A student’s parents sued the New Orleans public school system, saying it is so bad that it should have to reimburse tuition for students who are forced to turn to private schools.

Gregory Guth, whose son attends a public magnet high school, said that although he believes the new superintendent for Orleans Parish is taking the right steps, parents who can afford private school have no other choice.

Mr. Guth said the school system is failing to live up to state and federal legal mandates to “provide a free and appropriate public education.”

He and his wife, Maria, filed the lawsuit in state court Aug. 21 on behalf of themselves and their son, Jacob, but they want the case to become a class action.

Many female cadets fail to report assaults

Many female Air Force Academy cadets didn’t report sexual assaults to academy authorities because they feared being punished or ostracized, a Pentagon survey found.

Nearly one in five female cadets said they were sexually assaulted during their time at the academy, according to the May survey of 579 female cadets. The cadets said they reported only 33 of the 177 incidents of sexual assault.

The Defense Department’s inspector general surveyed the cadets as part of its probe into a sexual-assault scandal at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Scores of female cadets have reported being raped or sexually assaulted, and some have said they were ostracized or punished for offenses after they reported the assaults.

The survey results were contained in a preliminary report Pentagon officials described to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. A full report, including results from later surveys at the Air Force, Army and Navy academies, is due out this fall, the officials said.

Several academy leaders have been ousted.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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