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The Californian from Salinas, California • 7

The Californiani
Salinas, California
Issue Date:
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Wednesday, February 18, 2004 OPINION ON 43: Prop. 55 is ill-advised HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS Man executed for fire that killed children Spewing profanities at his ex-wife standing a few feet away, a man was executed Tuesday tor the deaths of his three i i i young aaugniers in a lire two l- 1 days before Christmas 199L Vfm "The onlv statement I want ALEXANDRIA, VA. Witness says men trained with militants Weeks after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, three Americans spent a month training with a militant Islamic group in hopes of fighting US. troops in Afghanistan, according to court testimony Tuesday. Khwaja Mahmood Hasan testified he and the other two Americans Yong Ki Kwon and Masoud Khan left the Pakistani training camp run by the group Lashkar-e-Taiba only after it became apparent they wouldn't be able to cross the border and fight alongside the Taliban.

Prosecutors allege the group used paintball games near Fredericksburg to prepare for holy war against India and other nations with whom the United States is at peace. Salinas Californian wire services JERUSALEM Arafat in dispute over financial reform A disagreement over financial reform erupted into a major dispute between Yasser Arafat and his prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, and threatens to hold up vital foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, officials said Tuesday. The confrontation, which centered on salary payments to Palestinian security forces, is seen as a key test of Qureia's ability to clean up his government's finances. International donor countries are becoming increasingly impatient with what they see as Palestinian foot-dragging on reform, and are scaling back aid. Financial reform is one of the Palestinian obligations under the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plaa TEHRAN, IRAN Dissident Iranian lawmakers break taboo In a daring protest described Tuesday as a "cry of agony," more than 100 reformist lawmakers accused Iran's supreme leader of allowing freedoms to be "trampled" and rigging upcoming parliament elections in favor of hard-line backers.

The attack in a letter sent to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei raised political dissent to levels unimaginable just a few weeks ago and shattered taboos about public criticism of Iran's unchallenged political and spiritual authority. The letter struck right at a core complaint: that Khamenei's regime has corrupted the spirit of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled a Western-backed monarchy. His supporters believe he is incapable of error. to make is that I am an innocent man convicted of a crime I did not commit," Cameron Willingham said. "I have been persecuted for 12 years for something I did not do." Using obscenity-laced language, Willingham said he Cameron Willingham hoped his former wife, Stacy Kuykendall, would "rot in hell" and attempted to maneuver his hand into an obscene gesture.

NATION NATION WASHINGTON Cheney or not, speculation abounds President Bush strongly backs Vice President Dick Cheney but some Republicans are quietly asking whether Cheney will help or hinder the ticket in November. That and his own political baggage have raised talk about some possible replacements, few opMbs Dw Edwards close behind front-runner in Dean considers endorsing a rival Gov. Bill Tom Ridge Rep. Rob Portman Owens Sen. Bill Frist Senate Homeland Gov.

George Pataki New York governor Rudolph Giuliani Former New York mayor Ohio Colorado security secretary majority congressman governor leader (51 777'7Z, JVM SOURCE: Associated Press AP one of his rivals, advisers said. Close race or not, Kerry said, "A win is a win." Edwards, his dream of a mi bedel "to 0 head fcJJ matchup 2 0 0 4 ow a 8 1 i declared, "We'll go full-throttle to the next group of states." He pledged to campaign in each of the 10 states holding primaries or caucuses March 2, including California, New York and Ohio, and awarding 1,151 delegates, more than half the total needed to claim the nomination. The North Carolina lawmak er's breakout was fueled by the highest Republican turnout of the primary season and voters who made their decision in the last week. His deepest support was in the GOP suburbs of Milwaukee. "That's been happening in other primaries, too," Edwards told The Associated Press in an interview.

"Republicans who would consider voting Democratic and independents are the people we have to win over to win the general election. That's why I'm the best candidate to take on George Bush." See DEMS, Page 2B By RON F0URNIER The Associated Press John Kerry squeezed out a victory in Wisconsin, barely holding off hard-charging rival John Edwards who established himself as the front-runner's sole rival as the Democratic presidential race thunders toward a 10-state showdown March 2. Howard Dean trailed far behind, winless in 17 contests, his candidacy doomed less than a month after he stood atop the Democratic field. The fallen front-runner retreated to Vermont, where he will consider several options, including endorsing Cheney off the ticket? Midcourse GOP change seems unlikely, but Washington abuzz about possibility THE ASSOCIATED PRESS John Kerry takes the stage Tuesday during an election-night party in Middleton, Wis. NATION Utah lawmakers challenge standards of No Child Left Behind who served as his father's defense secretary and President Gerald Ford's chief of staff.

But some Republicans are quietly asking whether Cheney will help or hinder the ticket among voters this November. That has raised speculation about possible Cheney replacements. Among those mentioned: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee; Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio; Colorado Gov. Bill Owens; former Pennsylvania Gov.

Tom Ridge, now Bush's homeland security secretary; and two New Yorkers: former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Gov. George PatakL A recent poll showed nearly as many Americans think Cheney should be replaced as kept See CHENEY, Page 2B By TOM RAUM The Associated Press WASHINGTON Dick Cheney is only six years older than President Bush, but his long government resume and graying presence helped ofiset the Texas governor's lack of seasoning and foreign policy experience in 2000. Those same avuncular qualities seem less politically reinforcing now, with Bush facing a difficult re-election battle and Cheney, 63, burdened by political baggage of his own. Allegations of profiteering in Iraq by oil services giant Halliburton, which Cheney once headed, and his frequent claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction have become standard Democratic targets. Bush strongly backs the former Wyoming congressman, NATION WASHINGTON 7c- 'I A JS Jut War on terror sparks lawsuit Prosecutor sues attorney general T3WARon TERROR letter alleging that a prosecution witness lied until long THE ASSOCIATED PSESS after a trial ended.

In his lawsuit, Convertino says the Justice Department is retaliating against him because he has Sophomore Jayda Ritchie works on a math test Jan. 30 at the rural southern Illinois school Oongola High School in Dongola. Richie was thrilled at the chance to transfer to the larger Anna-Jonesboro High School under the new No Child Left Behind law. But she and IS of her classmates who also wanted to transfer are still attending Dongola's only high school. States rebel against new education rules The Associated Press WASHINGTON The Justice Department has exaggerated its performance in the war on terrorism, interfered with a major terror prosecution and compromised a confidential informant, a federal prosecutor has alleged in an extraordinary lawsuit against Attorney General John Ashcroft The lawsuit by Assistant US.

Attorney Richard Convertino is the latest twist in the Bush administration's first major post-Sept 11 terrorism prosecution, a Detroit case jeopardized over allegations of prosecutorial misconduct Convertino was the lead prosecutor on the case, in which the government did not provide defense attorneys a AtA. GLANCE. John Ashcroft frequently and publicly about "the lack of support and cooperation, lack of effective assistance, lack of resources and intradepaxtmen-tal infighting" in terrorism cases. "These concerns directly related to the ability of the United States to effectively utilize the criminal justice system as a component in the war on says his lawsuit The Republican-controlled Utah House voted 64-8 last week not to comply with any provisions for which the federal government has not supplied enough money. The bill which now goes to the Senate, represents the strongest position yet taken by lawmakers around the country.

Elsewhere, lawmakers have passed or introduced legislation or nonbinding resolutions challenging the 2002 law's tougher standards for student testing and teacher credentials. Many legislators are angry over what they see as a federal takeover of education that leaves states to pay the bill. See EDUCATION, Page 2B By PAUL F0Y The Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY With Utah in the vanguard, about a dozen states are rebelling against President Bush's centerpiece education law, the No Child Left Behind Act, complaining it imposes costly new obligations without providing the money to carry them out No Child Left Behind requires teachers to have specialized training for every core subject they cover. The law also requires virtually all students to test at their grade level for math and reading. Schools that do not measure up two years in a row have to provide more tutoring or let students transfer.

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