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Nation in brief

House, Senate pass about $80-billion for war

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 4, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Congress voted overwhelmingly Thursday to give President Bush about $80-billion for initial costs of the invasion of Iraq and other antiterrorism efforts.

Senators approved their measure 93-0 and the House adopted a similar bill by 414-12. The votes put the two chambers on track to send Bush a final package by his deadline of April 11.

The lopsided votes masked partisan disputes that raged in both chambers over the measures' funds for security at home. Both bills contained more than $4-billion for securing potential terrorist targets on America's shores, which Democrats said fell billions short.

Besides domestic security funds, both bills contained more than $62 billion for the Pentagon and roughly $8 billion for aid to countries supporting U.S. efforts overseas. Included was money for replacing satellite-guided munitions, setting up a tribunal to try Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for alleged war crimes and letting state and local agencies bolster security at home.

Court allows execution

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court overturned a stay Thursday and allowed Oklahoma to execute a man who killed two people when he was 17.

The 5-4 vote illustrated the court's bitter division over capital punishment for people who commit crimes as juveniles.

Scott Allen Hain had won the stay a day earlier from an appeals court. Oklahoma asked the high court to intervene, arguing that Hain's appeals had run out.

Hain was put to death Thursday night for helping to burn to death a man and woman in 1987.

The execution of people who were juveniles when they committed their crimes is a particularly charged issue for the court, which has held that states can put to death people who were 16 or 17 when they killed. The United States is one of the few countries that allow such executions.

U.N. shooter pleads guilty

NEW YORK -- A Korean American postal worker admitted in court Thursday that he fired a pistol seven times outside the United Nations last fall, saying he was protesting the plight of North Koreans.

Steve Kim, 57, pleaded guilty to a single charge of making a violent attack on foreign officials. He said he did not intend to hurt anyone when he opened fire Oct. 3. Two bullets struck the U.N. building but no one was injured.

'To Die For' killing accomplice paroled

CONCORD, N.H. -- One of four teenagers convicted of helping school aide Pamela Smart kill her husband in 1990 -- a case that triggered a media frenzy and spawned the 1995 movie To Die For starring Nicole Kidman -- won parole Thursday.

Raymond Fowler, 31, who has been living in a halfway house in Concord since January, will be released after a parole officer approves his work and living arrangements. That process usually takes several weeks.

Fowler was 18 when he waited in a car while a friend shot salesman Gregory Smart. He has said he believed the other teens were going to burglarize Smart's home, not kill him. William Flynn shot Gregory Smart in the Derry condominium he shared with his wife, Pamela, prosecutors said.

Flynn, 16 at the time, had been having an affair with Pamela Smart, a 22-year-old high school media coordinator.

Twins surgery will go on

DALLAS -- Surgery to separate conjoined 22-month-old Egyptian twins will go on regardless of whether a hospital can raise money to offset costs of the procedure, officials said Thursday.

The Associated Press had reported that an operation to separate them could be delayed or canceled unless $125,000 is raised.

Children's Medical Center of Dallas said it's seeking funds for the anticipated $2-million surgery, but denied the operation might be delayed or canceled.

Also ...

KING REMEMBERED: On the 35th anniversary of his death, Martin Luther King Jr. will be remembered today with a march, panel discussions and historical reviews of his life and a candlelight prayer vigil at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

FEMALE DEAN AT HARVARD: Elena Kagan, a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton, was appointed dean of the Harvard University Law School on Thursday. Kagan, 42, will be the first woman to lead the law school.

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