Hagel orders review of sex-abuse prevention

WASHINGTON

- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday ordered the military to recertify all 25,000 people involved in programs designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault, an acknowledgement that assaults have escalated beyond the Pentagon's control.

He said this step, which also applies to the military's approximately 19,000 recruiters and must be completed by July 1, is one among many that will be taken to fix the problem of sexual abuse and sexual harassment within every branch of the military.

At a news conference with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hagel said he believes alcohol use is "a very big factor" in many sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, but there are many pieces to the problem.

Showgirl said to dress as prez at Berlusconi bash

MILAN - Silvio Berlusconi's private disco featured not only aspiring showgirls performing striptease acts as sexy nuns and nurses, but one woman dressed up as President Obama, according to the first public sworn testimony by the Moroccan woman at the center of the scandal.

Karima el-Mahroug's testimony yesterday at the trial of three former Berlusconi aides accused with procuring her and other women for prostitution confirms a sexually charged atmosphere at the "bunga bunga" parties of the then-sitting premier. The trial is separate from the one in which Berlusconi is charged with paying for sex with a minor - el-Mahroug when she was 17 - and trying to cover it up.

El-Mahroug, now 20, said she attended about a half-dozen parties, and that after each, Berlusconi handed her an envelope with up to $3,900. She said she later received cash through an intermediary - money that she told Berlusconi she wanted to use to open a beautician salon despite having no formal training.

7 Nawlins shooting arrests hailed as progress

NEW ORLEANS - Days after bursts of gunfire brought a chaotic and bloody end to a Mother's Day neighborhood parade in New Orleans, news of seven arrests gave an organizer of the traditional event reason to celebrate again.

"I'm just ecstatic," Edward Buckner, president of the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club, said.

Two brothers were booked with 20 counts each of attempted second-degree murder in Sunday's shooting spree in which 19 people were struck by bullets and one was injured while fleeing. Authorities said three people remain in critical condition.

Akein Scott, 19, was captured Wednesday night. A $10 million bond was set for him in the shooting case Thursday and he was ordered held without bond, pending another hearing on an unrelated gun and weapon charge. His brother, Shawn Scott, 24, was arrested Thursday morning. Five others were accused of helping suspects avoid capture.

- Daily News wire services