USA

Another day of controversy swirled around the treatment of prisoners detained by the US in Iraq and elsewhere. According to current and former counterterrorism officials interviewed for a New York Times report Thursday, concerns have grown within the CIA about the handling of high-value Al Qaeda suspects held in the counter-terrorism war, such as forcing them underwater while strapped down. As for Iraq, senior US defense officials told members of Congress Wednesday that interrogation techniques approved for use there, such as depriving detainees of sleep and placing prisoners in "stress positions" do not violate international law. Regarding abuses at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, further documented with the viewing of new videos and photos by lawmakers, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said that while what took place was "inhumane," the actions of a few were not the result of Pentagon policies.

Senior Airman Ahmad Al Halabi, a Syrian-born US citizen accused of spying while he worked at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, was ordered released from military jail Wednesday because he is not considered a flight risk. Al Halabi alleges that prosecutors mishandled evidence in his case and that witnesses lied. They have asked that all charges be dropped. A June 15 hearing is scheduled on the motion.

The FBI and other agencies turned a blind eye to alleged Nazi collaborators living in the US, according to thousands of government files released at the National Archives in Washington. Government historian Norman Goda said immigration officials were "not asleep at the switch," but that the FBI, CIA, and others in government wanted such people on the US side during the cold war.

Ralph Nader's stalled presidential candidacy won the endorsement of the Reform Party, founded by Ross Perot in the 1990s. The endorsement gives Nader, an independent who had yet to quallify for any state ballots, access to those in Florida, Michigan, and Colorado.

A circuit court in Memphis, Tenn., awarded custody of a Chinese girl to her American foster parents in the latest development in a four-year battle that drew international attention. Anna Mae He will stay with Jerry and Louise Baker, the couple who took her in when she was three weeks old after her biological parents placed her in foster care because of financial and legal hardships. Shaoqiang and Qin Luo He, who came to Memphis in 1998 for college studies, vowed to appeal.

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report maintaining that the multibilllion-dollar US ballistic missile shield, due to start operating Sept. 30, appears incapable of shooting down incoming warheads. The Pentagon rejected the conclusion.

Retail sales slid a greater-than-expected 0.5 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted $331.84 billion, the Commerce Department reported.

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