Graphic photos of Iraqi prisoners allegedly abused by US military police were made public Wednesday night on CBS's "60 Minutes II." The pictures are among the evidence in a case against six soldiers accused in March of abusing about 20 prisoners last year. At a Baghdad news briefing Wednesday, military officials said they were "appalled" by the mistreatment evident in the photos and confirmed that the images originated with the soldier who reported the abuse.
The House voted to keep President Bush's tax cuts for married couples, in the first in a series of bills designed to make permanent the reductions set to expire at year's end. Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) of Texas said the GOP's next target will be the alternative minimum tax, which aims to keep wealthy families from dodging taxes but which has crept into the ranks of those in the middle class.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) took a first step toward fulfilling his campaign promise to give the state a comprehensive energy program to head off future electricity crises. His proposal - made public Wednesday as unseasonably hot weather revives concerns that a torrid summer could lead to blackouts like those that crippled the state in 2000 and 2001 - calls for modest deregulation of the electricity market.
An insurer of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston refused to cover payments to victims of abuse by priests, arguing in a US District Court filing Wednesday that its policy does not make it liable for damages resulting from crimes. The archdiocese sued Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Co. last fall, saying it should be required to pay $67 million of the $85 million settlement the church negotiated in September with 552 victims of clergy abuse.
The American Civil Liberties Union revealed it has secretly sued the government over a USA Patriot Act provision that allows the FBI to demand customer records from businesses without court approval. The ACLU said it filed the suit under seal April 6 to avoid prosecution for violating a Patriot Act gag order. The government agreed Wednesday not to seek the penalty, but many details of the New York federal court case must remain secret.
Hatchery-bred salmon now are considered wildlife, according to the Bush administration. In a change to the $700 million-a-year federal effort to protect Pacific salmon, wild salmon (now outnumbered 4 to 1 by hatchery fish in West Coast rivers) may not be protected under the Endangered Species Act any longer. Salmon experts denounced the decision.
Highway deaths across the US hit a 13-year high in 2003, rising for the fifth straight year to 43,220. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed much of the problem to a 10 percent increase in accidents involving sport-utility vehicles.