Biden wants special counsel
to probe CIA video destruction
WASHINGTON - A Senate Democratic leader said yesterday the attorney general should appoint a special counsel to investigate the CIA's destruction of videotaped interrogations of two suspected terrorists.
Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, a Democratic presidential candidate and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, cited Michael Mukasey's refusal during confirmation hearings in October to describe waterboarding as torture.
Mukasey's Justice Department and the CIA's internal watchdog announced Saturday they would conduct a joint inquiry into the matter. That review will determine whether a full investigation is warranted.
"I just think it's clearer and crisper and everyone will know what the truth is . . . if he appoints a special counsel," said Biden.
That view was not shared by fellow Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who said Congress can get to the bottom of it.
3 slain after birthday party
in Va.; suspect arrested in Pa.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. - Three people were killed and two wounded in a shooting after a child's birthday party yesterday, and police arrested a suspect in upstate Pennsylvania.
Anastacio Sanchez-Miranda, 39, was arrested a the home of a relative in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., about six hours after the shooting at the Woodbridge home was reported, Prince William County police said.
First Sgt. Kim Chinn said police believe the mother of Sanchez-Miranda's children, who was unhurt, was the intended target.
Police said the victims were all adults. They said a 30-year-old man was in critical condition and an 18-year-old man was in stable condition. Five children, ranging in age from 2 to 7, were in the house at the time of the shooting but were not hurt, Chinn said.
Drive drunk in Phoenix, get
your picture on the Internet
PHOENIX - A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol is something many people try to conceal, even from their families. But now the bleary-eyed, disheveled and generally miserable visages of convicted drunken drivers, captured in their mug shots, are available to the entire world via a Web site.
The hall of shame is even worse for drunken drivers convicted of a felony. A select few will find their faces plastered on billboards around Phoenix with the banner headline: Drive drunk, see your mug shot here.
The Web site and billboards, which began last month, are the brainchildren of Andrew P. Thomas, the county attorney here who has served as the prosecutorial counterpart to the county's hard-edged sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who has been known to force inmates into pink underwear.
European-African summit ends
in conflict over trade, rights
LISBON, Portugal - European and African leaders wound up a summit meeting yesterday in open conflict over trade deals between the continents and over human rights violations in Zimbabwe, despite committing themselves to a new partnership of equals.
President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe used the final day of the meeting to denounce European critics of his government as stooges of the country's former colonial master, Britain. Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain had stayed away from the two-day meeting in Lisbon to protest Mugabe's presence.
Africans closed ranks around Mugabe, refusing to criticize a government that is accused of persistent human rights abuses and of impoverishing its citizens.
European leaders had hopes that the meeting, the first such gathering between European and African leaders in seven years, would help the Europeans retain their influence in Africa. That has been challenged by China, which has pursued an aggressive strategy of African investment.
Election boycott in Pakistan
fails to gain parties' support
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The two main opposition parties led by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif said they would participate in Jan. 8 parliamentary elections, despite deep misgivings about whether the vote could be free and fair.
Sharif, the former prime minister who returned from exile two weeks ago, had called for a boycott of the election to protest the continued rule of Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, who imposed a state of emergency on Nov. 3. But Bhutto, also a former prime minister, made it clear that her party would run. *