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In the Nation

Rangel sets up legal defense fund

WASHINGTON - Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D., N.Y.) has established a defense fund that will allow supporters to contribute up to $5,000 a year to help pay his legal bills.

The 80-year-old congressman still owes money to his former lawyers, who represented him in an ethics case that ended with his Dec. 2 censure.

The Charles B. Rangel Legal Expense Trust was approved by the House ethics committee, the same panel that successfully recommended that the House censure Rangel for financial and fund-raising misconduct.

Rangel announced the establishment of the fund Tuesday. H. Carl McCall, the former New York state comptroller, will serve as trustee. Contributions will be reported quarterly and disclosed publicly. - AP

Yemeni detainees see family via link

MIAMI - With the prison camps at Guantanamo approaching their 10th year, the majority Yemeni captive population has just received a new perk: video conferencing back to family via a new link set up by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Geneva-based group announced the service's inauguration Tuesday, saying four Yemeni captives had been allowed to use the teleconferencing this month in calls beamed between the Navy base in Cuba and the nation on the Arabian Peninsula.

Prisoners and family can speak by video for up to an hour, according to a Red Cross statement. It said some detainees and their families can now see and speak to each other "for the first time in almost a decade."

The United States holds 90 Yemenis at Guantanamo, according to the Red Cross. They account for the largest nationality among the 174 captives at the prison camps. - Miami Herald

Pilot shocked at uproar over videos

SAN FRANCISCO - A pilot who posted YouTube videos criticizing security at San Francisco International Airport said Tuesday that he was shocked at the national uproar they had created.

Chris Liu, 50, told ABC's Good Morning America that he wasn't aware so many people watched YouTube. He and his attorney, Don Werno, defended the footage showing how grounds crew can enter secure areas by swiping security cards and without undergoing further screening.

"There have been numerous articles written about this security problem, and I just wanted to address it," Liu said. Liu posted the videos in late November or early December. He took them down after the Transportation Security Administration objected, Werno has said.

Liu has been suspended from a federal antiterror program that let him carry a gun on planes, and the TSA is investigating whether he revealed sensitive information. He works for a major airline but has declined to identify it. - AP


A salmonella outbreak that was tied to tainted alfalfa sprouts has grown to at least 94 cases in 16 states. More than half the cases have been in Illinois. No deaths have been reported. The FDA advised the public not to eat alfalfa sprouts produced by the Tiny Greens Organic Farm in Urbana, Ill., because of possible salmonella contamination.