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In the Nation

CIA prosecutor may be appointed

WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is poised to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA abuses committed during the interrogation of terrorism suspects, current and former U.S. government officials said.

A senior Justice Department official said Holder envisions a probe that would be "narrow" in scope, focusing on "whether people went beyond the techniques that were authorized" in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws. - Los Angeles Times

Band's tour bus, car in deadly crash

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Christian rock band MercyMe canceled a show yesterday in the St. Louis area after its tour bus collided with a car in northeastern Indiana, killing two passengers in the car and the pregnant car driver's unborn baby.

No one in the band was seriously injured, sustaining what they called "minor bumps and bruises." A news story on the crash and a photo of the damaged front of the bus were posted on the band's Web site yesterday. "MercyMe would like to express their incredible heartache over this horrible accident," the band said.

Fort Wayne police Officer Liza Thomas said witnesses told police the bus was going through a green light about 1:15 a.m. when the car made a left turn in front of it. - AP

Cash for poppy growers planned

WASHINGTON - The U.S. and British governments plan to spend millions of dollars over the next two months to try to persuade Afghan farmers not to plant opium poppy, by far the country's most profitable cash crop and a major source of Taliban funding and official corruption.

By selling wheat seeds and fruit saplings to farmers at token prices, offering cheap credit, and paying poppy-farm laborers to work on roads and irrigation ditches, U.S. and British officials hope to provide alternatives before the planting season begins in early October.

Many poppy farmers survive Afghanistan's harsh winters on loans advanced by drug traffickers and their associates, repaid with the spring harvest. - Washington Post

Clinton: Chinese are reassured

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she thinks the Chinese "are breathing a little easier" about the health of the U.S. financial system after two days of high-level talks between the nations here last month.

The Chinese are the world's largest holder of U.S. Treasury securities. They have expressed concerns about the safety of their investments, given the rising U.S. budget deficit.

"It is fair to say that they are somewhat reassured," Clinton says in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that is set to air today. She says the U.S. economy is on the mend and President Obama is committed to getting a handle on the deficit. - AP


The University of Utah has agreed to pay nearly $500,000 to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the families of seven Chinese scholars killed in a 2003 van rollover near Williamsport, Pa.

A mouse found inside an automatic teller machine, along with a nest it had built with chewed-up $20 bills, at a gas station in La Grande, Ore., was released unharmed. The bank replaced most of the bills; the ATM still worked.

TV personality Ben Stein, who played a monotone economics teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, has been stripped of his Sunday New York Times business column because of his work for credit-monitoring company