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Originally published Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Nation Digest

House approves spending package

The House passed a $630 billion-plus spending bill Wednesday that wraps together a record Pentagon budget with aid for automakers and natural-disaster...


The House passed a $630 billion-plus spending bill Wednesday that wraps together a record Pentagon budget with aid for automakers and natural-disaster victims, and increased health-care funding for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The year-end budget measure also would lift a quarter-century ban on oil drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Senators are expected to approve the legislation and send it to President Bush for his signature.

The spending bill, which passed 370-58, is fueled by a need to keep the government running past the Oct. 1 start of the new budget year. Passage also was greased by 2,322 pet projects totaling $6.6 billion.


Fugitive mom gets probation for escape

A California woman who escaped from a Michigan prison 32 years ago and lived on the lam as a suburban mother of three was sentenced to probation Wednesday, five months after her capture in a San Diego neighborhood.

"I knew for years this was coming," Susan LeFevre said.

Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner said LeFevre had already served 14 months in prison on a drug conviction when she escaped.

LeFevre, 53, however, is not a free woman. Her attorneys will focus on trying to get her original 10-year sentence for heroin thrown out. She's back behind bars in that case.

Guantánamo Bay, Cuba

Prosecutor quits over detainee case


A U.S. military prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay has quit because his office suppressed evidence that could clear an Afghan detainee of war-crimes charges, a defense lawyer said Wednesday.

The prosecutor, Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, is supporting a defense bid to dismiss the charges against Mohammed Jawad, said Michael Berrigan, deputy chief defense counsel for the Guantánamo tribunals.

Jawad, who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 16 or 17, is accused of throwing a grenade that wounded two U.S. soldiers and their interpreter in December 2002.

Vandeveld said prosecutors knew Jawad may have been drugged before the attack and that the Afghan Interior Ministry said two other men had confessed to the crime, Berrigan said.

Vandeveld declined to comment.

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