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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn and Mary Wiltenburg / December 19, 2003



President Bush does not have authority to detain American citizen Jose Padilla, the former gang member arrested on US soil as an enemy combatant, a federal appeals court ruled. By a 2-to-1 vote, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found that because Padilla's detention wasn't authorized by Congress, Bush had no right to designate him as an enemy combatant. The decision could force the government to try Padilla, held in a "dirty bomb" plot, in a civilian court.

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) plans to declare a financial emergency and bypass the legislature to provide millions of dollars due cities and counties, aides said Wednesday. To make up for $4 billion lost in his first act as governor last month - cutting an unpopular car tax - Schwarzenegger will send $40 million to local governments to prevent the layoffs of police and firefighters, they said. He'll get the money from cuts that will fall heavily on public health and welfare programs, they said.

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was charged with presiding over more than a decade of corruption involving millions in state contracts. He is the fourth Illinois governor to be indicted in 40 years. Prosecutors said his 22-count indictment is not the final chapter in a 5-1/2-year corruption investigation. A critic of the state's death penalty, Ryan emptied death row before leaving office - pardoning four condemned prisoners and commuting the death sentences of 167 others, for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The New York Stock Exchange named John Thain, president of financial services giant Goldman Sachs, as its new chief executive, a day after the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a proposal to overhaul the exchange's governing structure. Thain will succeed interim chairman and chief executive John Reed, who has held the positions since predecessor Richard Grasso resigned in September amid controversy over his $140 million compensation package.

A federal judge OK'd unsupervised visits around Washington with his parents for John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Reagan in 1981. Hinckley has been in a mental hospital there since being acquitted of the crime by reason of insanity a year later. US District Judge Paul L. Friedman granted his request over the objections of the Reagan family and the federal government, attaching strict conditions to the trips.

A 100th anniversary attempt to recreate the Wright brothers' first flight failed when a delicate wood-and-muslin replica of their plane failed to get off the ground, splashing into a mud puddle before a crowd of 35,000 in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Wednesday. Engineers tinkered with the plane and waited for breeze before abandoning efforts to match the historic flight by two Ohio bicycle mechanics.

Otto Graham, who died in Sarasota, Fla. Wednesday, was a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Cleveland Browns to 10 consecutive championship games in the 1940s and '50s. His success led to the nickname "Automatic Otto."

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