Judge denies bid to delay hearings

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - A military judge yesterday denied motions to delay the arraignments of five Guantanamo detainees suspected of mounting the 9/11 attacks.

In his ruling, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann said the military commission found that the interests of justice in the complex case would be best served by completing the arraignments June 5.

Military lawyers had sought to postpone the first pretrial hearings for the men charged in the 2001 attacks, saying the government had made it impossible to defend them. The United States is seeking the death penalty for all five defendants, including confessed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule before June 30 on the legitimacy of the first U.S. war-crimes trials since World War II.

- AP

House panel OKs Amtrak aid bill

WASHINGTON - The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee yesterday approved a measure that would invite proposals to privatize Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and boost spending on the passenger railroad.

The bill also calls for more than doubling Amtrak funding to $14.3 billion over five years, and the panel's backing paves the way for a vote in the full House. The Senate passed a different Amtrak measure last year.

Last week, union leaders criticized the proposal to allow private operation of high-speed rail service between Washington and New York, saying the plan amounted to "cherry picking" Amtrak's best asset

. - Bloomberg News

Immigration raid hits kosher plant

A huge immigration raid last week on the country's largest kosher slaughterhouse could have a substantial impact on the thousands of Jews who follow Jewish dietary laws, as well as on non-Jews who buy kosher meat.

The Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville, Iowa, is one of a small number of meat producers that satisfy Jewish dietary restrictions. Federal authorities arrested 400 people in the raid, and the Justice Department said 85 had pleaded guilty to felonies involving the use of false IDs to obtain employment.

They also admitted to being in the country illegally and face deportation, the department said. As a result, the plant, which was shut down the day of the arrests, will face a challenge replenishing its 800-person workforce.

Industry-watchers and butchers say they have heard reports of hoarding, but the impact will not be known for several days, as individuals and stores still have frozen supplies.


- Washington Post

Elsewhere:

NASA's final visit

to the Hubble Space Telescope is now scheduled for Oct. 8. The repair mission by Atlantis was delayed from late August because of extra time needed to build the shuttle fuel tanks required for the flight and for a potential rescue mission.

Court officials

and lawyers preparing for O.J. Simpson's armed-robbery trial, due to start Sept. 8, said yesterday that lengthy questionnaires would be given to a jury pool that could number 400 or more.