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World and nation briefs

Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 10:20 am

Female officer's wife can join Army club

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – A woman who is married to a female Army officer at Fort Bragg and who was recently denied membership in its officers' spouses club said late Friday that she has been invited to become a full member.

Ashley Broadway told The Associated Press that she received the invitation from the club's board in an email Friday.

The invitation came on the same day that Broadway also learned she'd been named Fort Bragg's 2013 “Military Spouse of the Year” by Military Spouse magazine. She is married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack, who gave birth this week to the couple's second child, a girl.

Woman convicted of abusing missing girl

MIAMI – A former caretaker was convicted Friday of child abuse and kidnapping in a 4-year-old foster child's disappearance more than a decade ago, but a mistrial was declared on a murder charge after jurors were narrowly unable to agree.

The jury members said early on they were split 11-1 on whether 67-year-old Geralyn Graham killed Rilya Wilson and could not persuade the holdout over two days of deliberations. The murder charge carried a potential life sentence, while the charges on which Graham was convicted carry potential sentences of at least 30 years behind bars.

Graham has long maintained her innocence in Rilya's disappearance in late 2000, which wasn't discovered for 15 months.

Dolphin wanders into polluted NY canal, dies

NEW YORK – A dolphin seen shaking black gunk from its snout after wandering into a polluted urban canal may well have been ill before it lost its way and died, a marine expert says.

The wayward dolphin splashed around in the filthy waters of the Gowanus Canal before it died Friday evening. The canal is a Superfund site, where for years factories and fuel refineries operated.

The deep-freeze weather hadn't seemed to faze the dolphin as it swam in the canal, which runs 1.5 miles through a narrow industrial zone near some of Brooklyn's wealthiest neighborhoods.

Experts aim to conduct a necropsy to determine why the dolphin died, but it may have been ill when it got into the canal, said Robert DiGiovanni, a senior biologist with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, which specializes in cases involving whales, dolphins, seals and sea turtles.

Sentencing group's website hacked

WASHINGTON – The hacker-activist group Anonymous says it hijacked the website of the U.S. Sentencing Commission to avenge the death of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who committed suicide.

The website of the commission, an independent agency of the judicial branch, was taken over early today and replaced with a message warning that when Swartz killed himself two weeks ago “a line was crossed.”

The hackers say they've infiltrated several government computer systems and copied secret information that they now threaten to make public.

Family and friends of Swartz, who helped create Reddit and RSS, say he killed himself after he was hounded by federal prosecutors.

Officials say he helped post millions of court documents for free online and that he illegally downloaded millions of academic articles from an online clearinghouse.

Ohio village darkens street lights for savings

MINGO JUNCTION, Ohio – Leaders of a cash-strapped eastern Ohio village have approved shutting off hundreds of streetlights – and some traffic lights – as a cost-cutting measure.

The village council in Mingo Junction has been talking about the move for months. WTOV-TV reports that about half of the village's 600 streetlights will go dark in coming months.

In addition, the village of about 3,500 residents is doing away with traffic lights at at least one intersection, replacing them with stop signs.

The moves will save Mingo Junction tens of thousands of dollars this year.

US might give $32M to train troops in Mali

SEVARE, Mali – The Obama administration is seeking an additional $32 million to train African troops to fight Islamic extremists in Mali.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Friday the request had been made to Congress.

The United States is not providing any direct aid to the Malian government because the democratically elected president was overthrown in a coup last year.

However, it has been providing aid to the French-led mission, transporting French troops and equipment to Mali.

France has some 2,400 forces in the West African nation but says it wants African nations to take the lead in fighting the extremists who rule northern Mali.

The French-led operation began Jan. 11 after the militants surged southward from their strongholds and took the town of Konna, later recaptured by government forces.

Algeria admits mistakes in standoff

DAVOS, Switzerland – Algeria's foreign minister acknowledged that security forces made mistakes in a hostage crisis at a Saharan gas plant in which many foreign workers were killed by Algerian military strikes.

Mourad Medelci, in an Associated Press interview, also conceded that Algeria will need international help to better fight terrorism.

Algeria's decision to refuse foreign offers of aid in handling the crisis, and to send the military to fire on vehicles full of hostages, drew widespread international criticism.

The Jan. 16 attack, which an al-Qaida-affiliated organization has claimed responsibility for, sent scores of foreign energy workers fleeing across the desert for their lives.

A four-day siege by Algerian forces on the complex left at least 37 hostages and 29 militants dead.

Medelci said Algeria is likely to reinforce security at sites where multinationals operate.

–From wire reports