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FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Opening statements were set to begin Friday in the court-martial of an Army general accused of sexually assaulting a captain under his command with whom he had a three-year affair. Prosecutors were expected to begin making their case against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair. It was a remarkable admission sure to end the military career of a man once regarded as a rising star among the Army's small cadre of trusted battle commanders. But by pleading guilty to the lesser charges, Sinclair's lawyers believe they will strengthen his case at trial by potentially limiting some of the salacious evidence prosecutors can present.
OTTAWA - Conservatives across the country are watching closely to see whether party brass live up to their promise of fair and open nominations, as the first races quietly get underway in the lead-up to the 2015 election. Former Alberta cabinet minister Ron Liepert, who is hoping to upset MP Rob Anders for the privilege of carrying the Conservative banner in Calgary-Signal Hill, said his team had to be on the ball to find out the nomination countdown had started in that riding. After the Toronto Star published a leaked memo last month that said the party wanted to speed up certain nominations to help incumbents â€” including Anders specifically â€” Liepert's people began making calls to Tory HQ to check the date. Sure enough, the nominations had opened last week, starting the 14-day clock.
TOKYO - North Korean voters will make a choice Sunday when they elect a new national legislature, but not for a candidate. Going to the polls is expected of all eligible voters, which effectively makes North Korean elections a powerful tool for checking up on the people. For outsiders trying to figure out what's going on in North Korean politics, Sunday's elections for the Supreme People's Assembly may shed some light on what personalities are currently in favour and likely to dominate in the years ahead. For North Korean authorities, the elections provide both a veneer of democracy and a means of monitoring the whereabouts and loyalties of average citizens.
GOSPORT, England - Two lines of trenches face off across No Man's Land. These are instantly familiar images of World War I â€” but this is Britain, a century on and an English Channel away from the battlefields of the Western Front. This overgrown and oddly corrugated patch of heathland on England's south coast was once a practice battlefield, complete with trenches, weapons and barbed wire. After the 1918 victory â€” which cost 1 million Britons their lives â€” the site was forgotten, until it was recently rediscovered by a local official with an interest in military history.
WASHINGTON - One by one, President Barack Obama's warnings to Russia are being brushed aside by President Vladimir Putin, who appears to only be speeding up efforts to formally stake his claim to Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.
CONROE, Texas - Now that prosecutors have persuaded a judge that a Texas man accused of setting an 8-year-old boy on fire as a teenager can be tried as an adult for murder, securing a conviction in a case where the victim died 13 years after the attack could prove difficult, legal experts say. Don Willburn Collins was 13 when Robert Middleton was attacked in 1998 on his eighth birthday, near the younger boy's home in Splendora, about 35 miles northeast of Houston. Middleton was burned across 99 per cent of his body and endured years of physical therapy before he died in 2011 from skin cancer blamed on his burns. Collins was always a suspect but never indicted as prosecutors in Montgomery County said they didn't have enough evidence.
TOKYO - The man once lauded as "Japan's Beethoven" bowed repeatedly and apologized Friday at his first media appearance since it was revealed last month that his famed musical compositions were ghostwritten and he wasn't completely deaf. Mamoru Samuragochi appeared clean-shaven and minus his trademark sunglasses and long hair, in what could be seen as a sign of remorse. He acknowledged he had worked with his collaborator Takashi Niigaki in secret for 18 years. Samuragochi, 50, said his hearing had been recovering from about three years ago, but denied he was posturing as deaf, and said he still had hearing problems.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto said Thursday that he is not the creator of bitcoin, adding further mystery to the story of how the world's most popular digital currency came to be. The denial came after Newsweek published a 4,500-word cover story claiming Nakamoto is the person who wrote the computer code underpinnings of bitcoin. In an exclusive two-hour interview with The Associated Press, Nakamoto, 64, denied he had anything to do with it and said he had never heard of bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a Newsweek reporter three weeks ago. The person â€” or people â€” behind the digital currency's inception have been known only as "Satoshi Nakamoto," which many observers believed to be a pseudonym.
Bill Gross, the co-founder and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co, has accused departing CEO Mohamed El-Erian of seeking to "undermine" him by talking to The Wall Street Journal about deepening tensions between the two executives who have been jointly running the world's largest bond house. Gross told Reuters that he had "evidence" that El-Erian "wrote" a February 24 article in the Journal, which described the worsening relationship between the two men as Pimco's performance deteriorated last year, including a showdown in which they squared off against each other in front of more than a dozen colleagues at the firm's Newport Beach, California headquarters. Gross, who oversaw more than $1.91 trillion in assets as of the end of last year and who is known on Wall Street as the 'Bond King', said in a phone call to Reuters last Friday: "I'm so sick of Mohamed trying to undermine me." When asked if Reuters could see the evidence about El-Erian and the allegation he was involved in the article, Gross said: "You're on his side.
CHATHAM, Ont. - An Ontario judge has issued an emergency order that 14 children from an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect at the centre of a custody case be placed in the care of children's aid, but police said Thursday most of the children have left the country. Two families whose children were ordered removed from their custody left Canada for Guatemala this week, but some of the travellers were detained in Trinidad and Tobago during a stopover, according to a Lev Tahor member's email to supporters, which was obtained by The Canadian Press. Immigration authorities in Trinidad met Wednesday with Canadian Embassy officials about the case, said Marcia Hope, a spokeswoman for that country's Ministry of National Security.
By Tim McLaughlin BOSTON (Reuters) - General Electric Co said on Thursday it will stop paying its senior executives dividends on stock awards that have not yet vested, after investors urged the company to end the long-held perk. The move, which affects only new stock awards and not old ones, comes amid growing scrutiny by shareholders of senior executive pay, which has been on the rise for years even as average Americans' salaries plateau. The dividends can add up to millions of dollars for executives with long tenure. That means some executives will continue to receive big dividend checks on stock awarded in previous years, but which has not vested.
By Aron Ranen and Brandon Lowrey TEMPLE CITY, California (Reuters) - A Japanese American man thought to be the reclusive multi-millionaire father of Bitcoin emerged from a modest Southern California home and denied involvement with the digital currency before leading reporters on a freeway car chase to the local headquarters of the Associated Press. Satoshi Nakamoto, a name known to legions of bitcoin traders, practitioners and boosters around the world, appeared to lose his anonymity on Thursday after Newsweek published a story that said he lived in Temple City, California, just east of Los Angeles. Newsweek included a photograph and described a short interview, in which Nakamoto said he was no longer associated with Bitcoin and that it had been turned over to other people.