USA

Maj. Harry Schmidt, the US fighter pilot who mistakenly killed four Canadian soldiers in a friendly-fire bombing in Afghanistan in 2002, was found guilty Tuesday of dereliction of duty and was docked $5,700 in pay during a hearing at Louisiania's Barksdale Air Force Base. The lawyer for Schmidt, who originally was charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault, claimed his client's superiors never told him that the Canadians would be conducting exercises near Kandahar airport and that he mistook their gunfire for that of Taliban fighters.

The commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks refuted the assertion by Vice President Cheney that its members probably didn't have the same information he has cited in pointing to a collaborative relationship between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. The panel said Tuesday it sticks by its conclusion that only limited contact occured, based on the same intelligence.

To keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, two tons of low-enriched uranium and 1,000 radioactive research samples have been moved from Iraq's Tuwaitha Nuclear Center to the US, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said Tuesday.

An investigative report by the Health and Human Services Department released Tuesday maintained that administration officials broke no laws by not sharing with Congress that in-hand estimates for the cost of the new Medicare legislation were $100 billion higher than acknowledged.

As Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his new running mate, John Edwards, prepared to begin a four-day barnstorming tour across the US, President Bush's reelection campaign took a swipe at Edwards with an ad declaring, in essence, that the North Carolina senator is no John McCain, his Republican colleague from Arizona. Kerry reportedly asked McCain to join his ticket before turning to Edwards. McCain, however, has endorsed Bush.

A shrimping industry alliance succeeded Tuesday in persuading the Commerce Department to impose steep duties on imports from China, Vietnam, and possibly on four other countries. Duties for dumping frozen and canned shrimp onto the US market at artificially low prices could mean American consumers would have to pay a 44 percent price hike for them.

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