Sebelius vetoes bill on late-term abortion
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SEBELIUS VETOES BILL ON LATE-TERM ABORTION
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius stuck to her ideological guns yesterday, vetoing legislation that would have imposed new requirements on late-term abortion.
Sebelius has vetoed similar measures in the past, but yesterday's action comes as she awaits a final vote by the U.S. Senate on her nomination to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Anti-abortion groups oppose her nomination based on her support for abortion rights and her ties to late-term abortion provider George Tiller of Wichita, Kan.
The legislation would have required late-term abortion providers to report to state health officials the specific medical diagnoses used the justify the otherwise illegal procedure. Late-term abortions are prohibited unless necessary to save the life of the women or prevent a serious medical threat.
CALIF. FIRST TO SET LOW-CARBON STANDARD
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California air regulators yesterday adopted a first-in-the-nation mandate requiring low-carbon fuels, part of the state's wider effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The California Air Resources Board voted 9-1 to approve the standards, which are expected to create a new market for alternative fuels and could serve as a template for a national policy. The rules call for reducing the carbon content of fuels sold in the state by 10 percent by 2020.
U.S. AFFIRMS COMMITMENT AT CLIMATE TALKS
SIRACUSA, Sicily — The United States insisted yesterday that it had a common purpose and felt a sense of urgency over climate change, taking part in environment talks with other Group of Eight nations and developing countries.
Delegates are holding three days of talks in this eastern Sicilian city amid high expectations over the extent of the U.S. commitment to tackle climate change.
The Siracusa meeting is intended to lay some groundwork ahead of a crucial U.N. conference in December in Copenhagen. That meeting aims to replace the 1998 Kyoto Protocol and draft a new agreement to regulate carbon emissions. The Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
$250 MILLION GOING TO SOMALIA SECURITY
BRUSSELS — International donors pledged more than $250 million yesterday to strengthen Somalia's security forces and try to stop the rampant attacks by armed Somali pirates that have plagued one of the world's most important waterways.
The hefty sum, which included funding for military equipment and material as well as development aid, exceeded the initial request made by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel said.
"We have just begun the first step of an important process to restore rule of law in Somalia ... which has been a lawless state for 20 years," Ban told a news conference following a one-day, U.N.-sponsored donors' conference.
MEXICO'S ANTI-GANG PLAN OPPOSED
MEXICO CITY — A bill that would let Mexico declare temporary states of emergency and expand the army's power in a bloody fight against powerful drug gangs drew immediate fire yesterday from human rights activists who say soldiers should not be doing the job of police.
President Felipe Calderon's proposal, which centers on the idea of declaring drug trafficking hotspots "domestic security" zones, would give the army access to civilian court and police files. Calderon's government has dispatched 45,000 troops to drug-plagued areas where cartel battles have cost more than 10,700 lives since Calderon took office in December 2006.
N.Y. MAN GETS 6 YEARS FOR HEZBOLLAH AID
NEW YORK — A Pakistani immigrant described by prosecutors as "Hezbollah's man in New York City" was sentenced yesterday to nearly six years in prison for airing the militant group's television station.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman handed down a sentence of five years and nine months to Javed Iqbal, who had pleaded guilty in December to providing aid to a terrorist organization. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said Iqbal, 45, bought special satellite equipment to allow Al Manar to provide 24-hour programming from November 2005 through May 2006 so Hezbollah could use it to recruit followers and suicide bombers. Hezbollah has been fighting Israel since the early 1980s and has been branded by the U.S. government as a terrorist group.