Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Agents cleared in imam shooting

The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday that FBI agents acted properly when they fatally shot a Detroit Muslim cleric who brandished a gun and fired at them as they tried to arrest him last year.

FBI agents tried to arrest Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah on charges of trafficking in stolen property, illegal possession of firearms and other charges, along with some of his suspected associates at a warehouse in Dearborn, Mich., the Justice Department said.

Abdullah initially tried to escape but was cornered by dozens of FBI agents. He waved a 9mm handgun and fired three shots at a police dog that had grabbed his arm and at nearby agents, according to a 17-page report released Wednesday.

With concerns by local Muslim leaders that the agents used excessive force, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division reviewed the shooting, checked surveillance tapes, interviewed agents at the scene and examined other evidence.

“After a thorough and rigorous investigation … the Civil Rights Division has concluded that the evidence does not reveal a violation of the federal criminal civil rights statutes or warrant further federal criminal investigation,” the report said.


IG blunts charges of Goldman report timing

The watchdog of the Securities and Exchange Commission has found no hard evidence that the SEC timed the announcement of its fraud case against Goldman Sachs to eclipse negative news about a separate case.

Inspector General David Kotz’s report Wednesday was a response to demands from congressional Republicans who had questioned the timing of the Goldman charges. The SEC announced the charges on April 16, the same day it released Mr. Kotz’s blistering report on the agency’s failure to catch R. Allen Stanford’s reputed Ponzi scheme.

But the report says that the way the SEC managed the Goldman case showed it was trying to maximize positive press coverage. Mr. Kotz’s report says the agency didn’t want a congressional panel to break the news first.

Mr. Kotz found that the SEC’s timing of its Goldman announcement was delayed a day so as not to overshadow its announcement of a settlement with investment firm Quadrangle Group.


Toomey attacks Sestak on housing

PHILADELPHIA | Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey says Congress could have avoided the housing market collapse if it had heeded his warnings to increase regulation of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in 2003.

With less than three weeks until the Nov. 2 election, Mr. Toomey and Rep. Joe Sestak are in a competitive race to replace five-term Sen. Arlen Specter, whom Mr. Sestak defeated in the May primary.

Mr. Sestak decided not to seek re-election to his House seat while running for Senate.

Mr. Toomey spoke at a hotel in downtown Philadelphia on Wednesday and criticized Mr. Sestak for voting to bail out Fannie and Freddie.

A Sestak spokesman called Mr. Toomey’s attacks unfounded. He says the Democrat voted in favor of more oversight for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as soon as he got into office.


First lady says arts ‘lift’ youths

First lady Michelle Obama says she has opened the White House to the arts to “lift young people up.”

Last year, the first lady started a regular series of events focused on different genres of music from jazz and country to Latin and classical. This year, she launched a dance series. All the events include an instructional component for students, led by professionals.

In an interview in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, Mrs. Obama says the goal is to lift young people up. She says the country needs to be mindful of the “diamonds” that are out there and how it would be “a shame” not to invest in their talents.

The magazine is to be on newsstands on Oct. 26.


Fractures possible drug side effect

Government health officials warned doctors and patients Wednesday about an increased risk of thigh fractures with a widely used group of bone-strengthening drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration said patients taking bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax and Boniva appear more likely to suffer a rare type of fracture of the femur. The fractures occurred just below the hip joint and make up less than 1 percent of all femur fractures.

“We know from clinical trials that these drugs do prevent the common osteoporosis fractures,” said Dr. Sandra Kweder, FDA’s deputy director for new drugs. “The fractures we’re talking about today are very unusual and rare.”

In more than half the cases reported to the FDA, patients experienced pain or aching of the groin before the fracture.

It’s unclear whether the drugs directly trigger the problem, but the FDA said it is updating the drugs’ labels about the potential risk.


Mexican sanctioned for reputed drug ties

The Treasury Department said Wednesday it is sanctioning a Mexican pilot, alleging he runs a fleet of airmen who transport drugs and money for a Mexican cartel.

Treasury said it named Alejandro Flores Cacho as a foreign drug trafficker under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The designation prohibits anyone in the U.S. from conducting transactions with him or his businesses and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

The department said Mr. Flores’ businesses include an aircraft hangar and maintenance operation, a flight school and an air cargo carrier.

Mr. Flores has a “cadre of pilots and operatives who coordinate the delivery and distribution of narcotics by air and sea from South America to Mexico and then on to the United States,” a Treasury Department statement said.

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