Nation, World Briefs: Democrat take seat left by GOP’s Rep. Dennis Hastert

CHICAGO — Democrat Bill Foster has snatched former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s congressional seat in a closely watched special election that gave the longtime Republican district to the Democrats. Foster has won 52 percent of the vote compared to 48 percent for Republican Jim Oberweis with 565 of 568 precincts reporting. Foster’s special election win means he will fill the remainder of Hastert’s term until it ends next January. The 66-year-old Hastert, who lost his powerful post as speaker when Democrats took control of Congress, resigned late last year.

D.C.: Superdelegate decisions

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s trio of victories over Sen. Barack Obama last week appears to have convinced a sizable number of uncommitted Democratic superdelegates to wait until the end of the primaries and caucuses before picking a candidate, according to a survey by The Washington Post. “You’re going to see a lot of delegates remaining uncommitted,” said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., who has not endorsed either candidate. “There’s a sense that this is going to Denver not resolved.”

@3. Headline Briefs 14 no:Bush vetoes torture limitations

President Bush said Saturday that he has vetoed legislation meant to ban the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics because it “would take away one of the most valuable tools on the war on terror.” In his weekly radio address, Bush said, “This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe.” Congress approved an intelligence authorization bill that contains the waterboarding provision on slim majorities, far short of the two-thirds needed to override a presidential veto.

California: Sumatran tiger born

The San Francisco Zoo, which lost a tiger on Christmas, is celebrating the arrival of a newborn cub. The cub born Friday belongs to Leanne and George, two Sumatran tigers on loan from a zoo in San Antonio and an aquarium in Denver. The tiger that was shot by police after killing a teenager and mauling his two friends was a Siberian tiger. Both species are endangered. The zoo’s chief veterinarian says the cub was seen nursing and the mother appeared to be “very attentive and gentle.”

Florida: Arrest in child spraying

Authorities have arrested a mother who was videotaped spraying her young daughter with a high-pressure water hose at a Florida car wash. Deputies arrested Niurka Ramirez in Orlando on Friday on a child abuse charge. Ramirez says she was trying to discipline her 2-year-old daughter for throwing a temper tantrum. She told authorities she did not use the high-pressure feature on the hose when spraying the child. A nurse reported the girl had no visible injuries 11 days after the incident.

Virginia: Law targets French kiss

State legislators passed a law Saturday that would require adults who French kiss a child younger than 13 to register as a sex offender. Those convicted of tongue-kissing a child would be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The House of Delegates passed the legislation 96-1 and the Senate 39-0. Lawmaker Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell, introduced the bill on behalf of a woman whose 10-year-old daughter was French-kissed by the 62-year-old husband of her babysitter.

Israel: Peace talks to resume

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will proceed within days despite a shooting attack that killed eight students at a Jewish seminary, Israeli officials said Saturday. The comments came hours after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for Israel not to abandon peace efforts after a recent escalation of violence. The attack in Jerusalem on Thursday and the continuing violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel had threatened to stall the U.S.-backed talks that aim for a peace deal by the end of the year.

Norway: Honors for WWII ship

Britain’s Royal Navy floated a wreath Saturday over the recently discovered wreck of a World War II destroyer that went down with 110 men on board in a battle with Nazi forces. The HMS Hunter was found this month by a Norwegian minehunter participating in exercises with British, Dutch and other NATO warships off the Norwegian coast, Britain’s Defense Ministry said. The 2,100-ton destroyer went down on April 10, 1940, as the Royal Navy tried to keep German forces from overrunning the strategic Norwegian port.

Thailand: Ruling on arms suspect

Thai police received court permission Saturday to retain custody of a reputed Russian arms dealer dubbed the “Merchant of Death” who was arrested in a U.S.-led sting operation that lured him from his home in Moscow. Viktor Bout, 41, was arrested Thursday at a luxury hotel in Bangkok and held on suspicion of engaging with and supporting terrorist groups. The Bangkok Criminal Court authorized his continued detention while an investigation continues. Suspects may be held for up to 84 days without being formally charged for trial.

From Herald news services

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