- The Washington Times - Monday, February 8, 2010


Palin e-mails show husband’s role

JUNEAU | E-mails obtained by the Associated Press suggest Todd Palin was intimately involved in decisions related to state government when his wife was governor of Alaska.

The e-mails show Mr. Palin was included in messages on a wide range of government and political issues. Aides to then-Gov. Sarah Palin regularly sought Mr. Palin’s advice on such things as state board appointments.

In one e-mail, Mr. Palin advocated having an Alaska newspaper removed from a press release list after Sarah Palin complained about an editor’s fairness.

The e-mails, released to AP after a public records request, were accompanied by a 19-page list detailing those withheld, citing executive privilege, privacy or other reasons.


Jackson death case to be filed Monday

LOS ANGELES | Michael Jackson’s doctor wanted to seek his day in court Friday by surrendering before being charged in the pop singer’s death, but prosecutors upstaged the plan by announcing that no case would be filed until next week.

District attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons released the plan fewer than two hours before Dr. Conrad Murray and his attorneys were going to show up at an airport-area courthouse in an effort to force the prosecution’s hand while avoiding having the physician arrested and handcuffed.

Miss Gibbons’ statement did not mention Dr. Murray, but said information on charges will be released after the case is filed on Monday.

Dr. Murray’s attorneys have said they expect the Texas cardiologist to be charged with involuntary manslaughter for administering drugs to Jackson before his death last June 25.


Panda Tai Shan arrives in China

Two American-born pandas arrived in their new China home Friday, bringing a welcome dose of cuddly to the countries’ currently strained relations.

Special crates carrying Tai Shan, Mei Lan and armloads of bamboo were eased from a cargo jet and onto the tarmac in southwestern China, the start of a breeding mission in efforts to keep the well-loved but endangered species going.

Immediately, the giant pandas faced live TV coverage and a passionate crowd.

“On the way over they were both OK. Mei Lan was a little nervous, but basically they were both OK,” said a tearful Nicole Meese, Tai Shan’s longtime keeper at the National Zoo.

“Both pandas have become endearing goodwill ambassadors for China in the United States,” said David Brown, U.S. consul general in Chengdu.


Flu epidemic shows signs of being over

ATLANTA | Is the U.S. swine flu epidemic over? Federal health officials won’t go so far as to say that, but on Friday they reported for the fourth week in a row that no states had widespread flu activity.

U.S. cases have been declining since October. An official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said swine flu cases are still occurring and are likely to continue a while longer at some level.

But another expert said a future large wave of cases now seems very unlikely. Vanderbilt University’s Dr. William Schaffner said the epidemic has “one foot in the grave.”

An estimated 70 million Americans have been vaccinated against swine flu through a government vaccination campaign that started in October. Meanwhile, an estimated 55 million or more got sick from swine flu and recovered, meaning they developed some level of natural immunity from the experience.


Abu Ghraib convictions upheld

HAGERSTOWN | The U.S. military’s highest court has upheld the convictions of two soldiers for abusing Abu Ghraib prison detainees in Iraq.

In opinions released Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington affirmed the conviction of former Army Spc. Sabrina Harman, who helped place a hooded detainee atop a box with wires in his hands.

Harman, of Lorton, Va., also was photographed giving a smiling “thumbs-up” beside a pyramid of naked detainees.

The court found no errors by the judge who presided over the court-martial of former Sgt. Michael Smith, an Army dog handler.

Smith, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was convicted of offenses that included letting his dog bark and lunge at prisoners for his own amusement.


Ex-Choctaw chief dies

JACKSON | Phillip Martin, a longtime chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, was remembered Friday as a visionary who lifted the tribe from stifling poverty with casinos and other businesses.

Mr. Martin died Thursday night at a Jackson hospital with his family by his side after suffering a massive stroke a few days earlier, said his niece, Natasha Phillips. He was 83.

Mr. Martin’s 28-year tenure saw the construction of an industrial park and the $750 million Pearl River Resort, complete with two casinos, a golf club and a water park, on tribal land in rural east central Mississippi, about 65 miles northeast of Jackson. He was praised for creating thousands of jobs. He also set up a scholarship that pays 100 percent of college costs for tribal youth.


Man charged with operating on dog

BARRINGTON | A man who says he couldn’t afford veterinary care for his dog has been charged with illegally operating on the pet.

Alan MacQuattie recently removed a cyst from the leg of his 14-year-old Labrador mix. The dog was operated on again by professionals to deal with an infection from the first surgery.

E.J. Finocchio, a veterinarian and president of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, calls the surgery a “heinous crime.”

Court records show Mr. MacQuattie pleaded no contest last week to misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty and unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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