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Nation in brief

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 3, 2002


Teen says girls tried to kill their abductor

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Two teenage girls tried to kill their kidnapper while he slept by stabbing him and hitting him on the head with a whiskey bottle, one of the teens said in a TV interview Friday.

The girls, 16 and 17, were abducted by Roy Dean Ratliff, 37, early Thursday. Kern County Sheriff Carl Sparks said they were raped.

Deputies shot and killed Ratliff after a manhunt that led to a remote desert region more than 100 miles north of Los Angeles.

The 17-year-old said the girls took Ratliff's knife from its holster in the truck. She said she stabbed Ratliff in the throat, and "he woke up and he was like shocked and everything" as the 16-year-old hit him in the face with the whiskey bottle.

Ratliff opened the door and "we both kicked him out and I threw the knife at him," the 17-year-old said. The kidnapper then brandished his gun and regained control of the girls, who did not know each other before the abduction.

Judge orders surrender of Cheney panel's papers

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge Friday ordered the Bush administration to turn over more documents about its energy task force, as government lawyers noted that Secretary of State Colin Powell may have been among the senior officials attending some of the meetings.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the Bush administration has 30 days to turn over documents and written responses to questions from two interest groups that have sued to know the names and positions of everyone who took part in the National Energy Policy Development Group, chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Simply citing special presidential privileges or the Constitution would not be enough to keep those records from public view, Sullivan said.

Official: Plutonium likely has arrived in S.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Department of Energy has begun shipping weapons-grade plutonium from Colorado to the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C., according to a Colorado official.

That almost certainly means at least one shipment of plutonium has arrived in South Carolina, said Sean Conway, a spokesman for Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.

Also . . .

GIRL REPORTED MISSING: San Francisco authorities searched Friday for a 12-year-old Chinese girl who was reported missing from a youth tour group that had an overnight layover in the area before heading to a space camp in Alabama.

CHARGES SOUGHT IN BEATING DEATH: Chicago police were pursuing murder charges Friday against seven gang members in the beating deaths of two men who were dragged from a van after an accident. Chief of Detectives Phil Cline said the suspects, ages 16 to 57, were identified by witnesses after community leaders went door to door, urging cooperation with investigators.

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