USA

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there is "no evidence of systemic abuse" in the treatment of Iraqi prisoners of war by US troops. On ABC's "This Week," he said the actions of "just a handful" of soldiers in Baghdad were to blame for published accounts of threats of rape and other unacceptable treatment. Lt. Gen. James Helmly, chief of the US Army Reserve, said Saturday he'd ordered a study of whether reservists are sufficiently trained in ethical conduct and in the proper handling or prisoners. At least six reservists face courts martial on charges of dereliction of duty, cruelty, assault, and indecent acts in connection with the scandal.

A Justice Department report released Sunday reveals an 85 percent surge in the number of covert searches by the department in the past two years, according to The Los Angeles Times. In its annual report to Congress, the department said it obtained approval to conduct electronic surveillance and physical searches in more than 1,700 intelligence cases last year, and about 1,200 the year before. Civil liberties groups have expressed concern about the secrecy with which these searches are approved and carried out under the Patriot Act.

After disrupting Los Angeles-area rush-hour traffic late last week, independent truckers said they could stage further protests over high fuel costs in the coming weeks or simply stop hauling goods. Five truckers were arrested Friday after they parked or jack-knifed three rigs on I-5 south of Los Angeles in one of several attempts to focus public attention on the rising price of diesel, which reportedly runs $1 more per gallon in California than in other states. Truckers also complained about rising road taxes and license fees.

About 3,000 counter-protesters chanted and waved signs as an estimated 20,000 people entered Seattle's Safeco Field Saturday for a "Mayday" worship service and rally in support of heterosexual marriage. Conservative Christian churches around Washington State rented the stadium for the event. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, United Methodists, through their General Council, directed the denomination's top court to review Saturday's ruling that gay sex violates Christian teaching. The decision runs counter to the acquittal in March by a jury of 13 pastors in Bothell, Wash., of the Rev. Karen Dammann, an avowed homosexual now on leave.

Supreme Court Justice David Souter was released from a Washington hospital early Saturday after being assaulted by several young men while jogging alone near his home Friday night. Souter was slightly injured but was not robbed.

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