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In the Nation

U.S. grandparents lose custody fight

BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that two orphaned children would remain with their maternal grandmother in Argentina, not with family members in California who also wanted custody.

The ruling means Alden and Aliana Heiss will stay with Violeta Conti in Ushuaia, a region dubbed "the end of the world" by locals.

The children's parents, Karl Heiss and Marisa Bauducco-Heiss, of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, were killed in a car crash last year. Aliana, then 10, sustained severe brain damage; Alden, then 6, suffered whiplash but has fully recovered.

The parents' handwritten wills granted custody to Conti, but paternal grandparents Fred and Anna Belle Heiss, of Malibu, Calif., sought custody, contending that Aliana needed care available only in the United States and that Alden would heal better from the trauma if he was in a familiar setting.

Chief Justice Daniel Eismann said state law puts the deceased parents' wishes first when determining guardianship. - AP

Release was error, Ill. governor says

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn yesterday reversed a secret policy change that had allowed the early release of more than 1,700 state prison inmates, some of whom have already been sent back for new offenses, including aggravated battery, weapons charges, and assault.

The inmates were freed after an unannounced change in prison policy, disclosed in an AP report earlier this month, that Quinn now calls a "big mistake." He blamed his Corrections director, Michael Randle, but did not fire him.

The AP reported that hundreds of inmates, some convicted of violent offenses, had been sent home after less than three weeks behind bars. Quinn said he was reinstating a policy requiring all inmates to serve 61 days before becoming eligible for good-conduct time off. - AP

Rush Limbaugh is hospitalized

HONOLULU - Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was in serious condition yesterday after being hospitalized with chest pains, a television station reported.

KITV said that paramedics responded to a call from the Kahala Hotel & Resort, where Limbaugh was vacationing.

The station said Limbaugh was taken to the Queen's Medical Center. Queen's spokeswoman N. Makana Shook said the hospital was unable to comment. - AP


A DNA test led to the arrest of a New York man in a 1986 killing, months after an innocent man who spent 20 years in prison for the crime was exonerated by DNA. New York police took Kevin Benefield, 45, of the Bronx, into custody yesterday on a warrant issued by Wallingford, Conn., police in the slaying of Barbara Pelkey. The man previously convicted in Pelkey's death, Kenneth Ireland, was freed in August.

A magnitude-5.8 earthquake rocked the U.S.-Mexico border region yesterday, leading hospitals to evacuate in the Mexican city of Mexicali as buildings swayed more than 100 miles to the west in San Diego and southwestern Arizona. No injuries were reported.