Jury is seated in Padilla trial
MIAMI - A jury was seated yesterday to hear the trial of alleged al-Qaeda operative Jose Padilla and two codefendants, accused of being part of a North American support cell for Islamic extremists around the world.
Padilla, 36, a U.S. citizen who was previously held as an enemy combatant for 31/2 years, has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to "murder, kidnap and maim" people overseas and to terrorism support. If convicted, he and his codefendants face possible life sentences.
The seven male and five female jurors were selected from a final pool of 88 people after nearly a month of questioning. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday, and the trial is expected to last into August. - AP
House endorses Bush's tax cuts
WASHINGTON - The House gave solid but nonbinding endorsement yesterday to a variety of President Bush's tax cuts as Democrats sought adoption of a compromise $2.9 trillion budget plan for next year.
By a 364-57 vote, the House agreed to support $180 billion in tax cuts for 2011-12, enough to cover the extension of tax relief for married couples, people with children, and people inheriting large estates.
The vote came on a GOP procedural motion as the House officially named negotiators to a House-Senate panel that is expected to work out a congressional budget plan for the next fiscal year. The underlying Democratic budget blueprint is also nonbinding but sets the outlines for subsequent appropriations legislation. - AP
U.S. plans complex for fleeing Cubans
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The United States, which has been planning for possible waves of fleeing Cubans when Fidel Castro dies, has hired a Florida company to build a temporary complex to hold migrants at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, the military said.
Islands Mechanical Contractors Inc. of Jacksonville won a $16.5 million contract to build a "migrant operations complex" at the U.S. base in Cuba, the Pentagon said.
The fenced complex would include showers and laundry facilities and is to be finished by next May, according to a Pentagon publication that announces contracts. The announcement did not specify the capacity of the complex, and a department spokesman said additional details were not immediately available. - AP
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he would not veto a bill that blocks state officials from following his order that all sixth-grade girls be vaccinated against a virus that causes cervical cancer.
A team co-led by the University of California is getting the management contract for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, despite past financial and security gaffes at the lab under UC's management, the Energy Department announced yesterday.
Police in California yesterday arrested a 19-year-old Fresno State college freshman suspected of opening fire at an apartment during a dispute over a video-game console, killing one man and wounding two.