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Nation in brief

U.S. invites U.N. experts to Guantanamo camp

By wire services
Published October 29, 2005

WASHINGTON - The United States has invited independent experts from the United Nations to visit detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, almost four years after the U.N. first asked permission to inspect the prison.

The prison has become one of the symbols of the ongoing controversy over detainee abuse by the U.S. military. About two dozen prisoners are on hunger strikes to protest what they say is cruel and inhumane treatment.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros said the invitation "was extended in an effort to broaden understanding of U.S. detention operations and to demonstrate that detainees at Guantanamo are treated humanely."

There is no set timeline for the visit.

Husband, wife kill children, then selves

NEW YORK - Toxicology tests showed a couple killed their two young children before committing suicide with carbon monoxide from burning coals, the medical examiner's office said Friday.

The agency's spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove, would not give more details about the deaths of Fred Wang and his wife, Christine, both 42, their 11-year-old son, Dennis, and 8-year-old daughter, Serena.

Police said a cousin found the bodies in their Harlem apartment Thursday night after family members in Taiwan said they had received a letter from Christine Wang despairing about a failed business venture.

Coals were burning in bowls in the Wangs' bedroom and a blanket was hanging over the door, police said.

Hybrid cars to get parking discount in Baltimore

BALTIMORE - Drivers of fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles soon won't have to pay as much at city parking facilities.

The program, which applies to select hybrids including the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius, will net drivers an average of $55 in savings a month, officials said Friday.

There were 1,514 new hybrid vehicles registered in the Baltimore area in 2004, an increase of about 80 percent compared with the year before, Mayor Martin O'Malley said.

[Last modified October 29, 2005, 01:46:07]

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