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Nation in brief

Indiana fire kills four children, two adults

By wire services
Published September 22, 2005

GARY, Ind. - Fire gutted a small house early Wednesday, killing four children and two adults, as intense heat drove back relatives and neighbors who tried to break windows to get them out, authorities said.

Two adults and three children ages 1 to 12 were pronounced dead of burns and smoke inhalation shortly after the blaze. An 11-year-old boy died Wednesday afternoon at a hospital.

A 7-year-old boy and a woman remained hospitalized.

The blaze was sparked by the misuse of smoking materials, said Gary fire investigator Norman Roby.

Senator questions Pentagon testimony ban

WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Wednesday he would look into whether the Pentagon obstructed his committee by refusing to allow testimony from five people who had knowledge of a secret military unit named Able Danger.

They were expected to testify Wednesday about a link between al-Qaida and four of the Sept. 11 hijackers - including leader Mohamed Atta - that the unit is said to have uncovered more than a year before the 2001 attacks.

"I think the Department of Defense owes the American people an explanation of what went on here," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said later Wednesday during a briefing on Capitol Hill that an offer was made to do a classified briefing on Able Danger.

"As I understand it, the Judiciary Committee preferred to have an open hearing on a classified matter, and therefore the department declined to participate in an open hearing on a classified matter," Rumsfeld said.

Silicone gel-filled breast implants closer to sale

WASHINGTON - A second manufacturer of silicone gel-filled breast implants moved a step closer to returning the implants to the market Wednesday, when the FDA announced that the company's products can be approved under certain conditions.

The Food and Drug Administration did not detail what conditions were required of Inamed Corp. before its implants would be approved for sale in the United States.

The FDA's finding goes against a recommendation by a government advisory panel in April that Inamed's implants not be approved. The panel, which voted 5-4 against recommending Inamed's implants, cited safety concerns that were not addressed by the company's research.

The FDA said Wednesday that Inamed subsequently provided additional information to address those concerns.

Elsewhere . . .

ACADEMY CHARGE DROPPED: An indecent assault charge has been dropped against an Air Force Academy graduate accused of assaulting female classmates at the Colorado school, Air Force officials said. A separate rape charge is still pending against 1st Lt. Joseph Harding, but is on hold due because a counselor for the accuser has refused to release records.

PRISON ABUSE TRIAL: At Fort Hood, Teas, a lawyer for Army Pfc. Lynndie England said Wednesday that she posed for graphic photos of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison at the direction of her soldier boyfriend. Capt. Jonathan Crisp also told jurors that England, charged with seven counts of conspiracy and abuse, had learning disabilities and was prone to clinical depression that made it difficult for her to function as a soldier in the stress of the Iraq prison.

[Last modified September 22, 2005, 01:04:14]

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