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Nation in brief

Bush ignores objections, appoints base closings panel

By wire services
Published April 3, 2005

WASHINGTON - President Bush, brushing aside a stall tactic by Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., appointed the nine-member commission that will determine military bases closings without waiting for Senate confirmation.

Bush made the appointments while the Senate was in recess, the White House announced Friday night. The recess appointments prevent delays as the commission prepares to make the first round of base closings in a decade.

Before it left for its spring recess, the full Senate had been expected to vote on the nomination of Anthony J. Principi, former secretary of veterans affairs, as chairman of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission. The other commissioners, nominated by Bush on March 15, also required Senate confirmation.

Lott has said the United States should not be closing bases while troops are at war. "I will try to stop it at any point and in any way I possibly can," he said in February.

Man arrested, accused of dragging man behind car

GALLUP, N.M. - A 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the dragging of a Hispanic man behind a vehicle, which left the victim with burnlike abrasions over half his body.

John Pete Talamante was booked Friday on charges of kidnapping, aggravated battery and assault with intent to commit a violent felony.

Talamante was being held without bail in the McKinley County Detention Center, said Gallup police Chief Sylvester Stanley. More arrests were likely, he said.

The victim, 32-year-old Fausto Arellano, remained hospitalized in critical condition. He had been bound by the ankles and pulled by a rope for some 4,000 feet on Easter morning, according to police.

Gallup, a town of 20,000 just east of the Arizona state line, is known as one of the largest American Indian trading centers in the Southwest.

King honored on 37th anniversary of his death

ATLANTA - The voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. boomed again from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church on Saturday as dozens of people gathered to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination.

Excerpts of several King speeches were played over a loudspeaker at the church where King preached from 1960 to 1968, including his "I've Been to the Mountain Top" speech, delivered in Memphis just hours before his death.

After listening to the speeches, the multiracial audience of at least 100 people joined hands and sang the battle hymn of the civil rights movement, We Shall Overcome.

"Martin Luther King, more than any other American of the 20th century, had the power, the ability and the capacity to bring more people together to do good," said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a lieutenant of King's during the civil rights movement.

Nine killed in two nearby car crashes in Michigan

ALMONT TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Two separate traffic accidents within two minutes and 35 miles of each other killed nine people, authorities said Saturday.

Police believe speed was likely a factor in both crashes.

One car apparently ran off a two-lane road late Friday in Almont Township, slammed into a large rock and several trees and caught fire, police said.

Five people died in that car.

In the second crash, a car crossed a center line while coming over a hill on a curve and struck another car head-on. The car that crossed the center line rolled over onto its roof and caught fire.

Passersby pulled people from the burning car, the Lapeer County Sheriff's Office said.

Two people in each car were dead at the scene, the Sheriff's Office said. Two other people from the car that caught fire were in good condition Saturday at a hospital in Flint.

Almont Township is about 50 miles north of Detroit.

[Last modified April 3, 2005, 00:11:06]

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