Nation/World Briefly

WASHINGTON — A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both. Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al-Qaida, the study found.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.

Indian health bill objections

The Bush administration on Tuesday threatened to veto Senate legislation designed to improve health care on American Indian reservations, objecting to expanded labor provisions in the bill. The legislation would boost screening and mental health programs at the Indian Health Service, increase tribal access to Medicare and Medicaid and prompt new construction and modernization of health clinics on reservations. The bill would also expand the Davis Bacon Act, which requires contractors and subcontractors to pay workers locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits, to apply to some of the new American Indian projects.

Troop pay raise passes Senate

The Senate voted Tuesday to approve a revised defense bill authorizing a 3.5 percent pay raise for troops. The 91-3 vote sends the $696 billion measure to President Bush for his expected signature. The revised bill also makes the raise retroactive to Jan. 1.

Colorado: Inmate freed by DNA

Timothy Masters walked out of a Fort Collins court a free man for the first time in nearly a decade Tuesday, his murder conviction wiped out by DNA evidence that points to another suspect. Masters, 36, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1999 for a murder that occurred in 1987, when Masters was 15, was ordered freed on a personal recognizance bond. Prosecutors promised to decide quickly whether to try him again. Tests showed DNA found on the clothes of a stabbed and mutilated manager at a woman’s clothing store was not from Masters but from someone else.

U.N.: Iran resolution weakened

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany agreed Tuesday on a new draft U.N. resolution on Iran, but the compromise incorporates weakened language that only calls for “vigilance” or “monitoring” of financial and military institutions without most of the tough economic sanctions sought by the Bush administration, according to European officials. The toughest restriction is a travel ban on key officials, the officials said. It is not expected to be put to a vote until next month.

Afghanistan: Student gets death

An Afghan court on Tuesday sentenced a 23-year-old journalism student, Sayad Parwez Kambaksh, to death for distributing a paper he printed off the Internet that three judges said violated the tenets of Islam, an official said. The case now goes to the first of two appeals courts.

Mexico: Suspect Marine sighting?

Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean, wanted in the slaying of a pregnant colleague, was in Mexico last week, a man identified as his cousin said Tuesday. Juan Antonio Ramos Ramirez said Laurean walked into his liquor store in Zapopan, just outside Guadalajara, last week for a brief visit. Days later, Ramos Ramirez saw a television report that Laurean was wanted in the United States for the December killing of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was pregnant.

Gaza Strip: Israel allows supplies

Israel eased its blockade of the Gaza Strip for at least a day Tuesday, allowing the European Union and United Nations to truck in the first food shipments to Gaza in five days, along with fuel to restart the Palestinian territory’s idled power plant. Gaza Strip, with 1.5 million people, had been cut off since Friday, when Israel closed entry points in response to increased rocket barrages from Gaza. Despite the easing of the closure, Palestinian militants fired 19 rockets toward Israel on Tuesday, the military said.

From Herald news services

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