USA

The government and attorneys for a pro-Taliban fighter imprisoned without charges since his capture in Afghanistan in 2001 said Wednesday they're nearing a deal for his release. The government is negotiating with the lawyers for Yaser Esam Hamdi, who was born in Louisiana to Saudi parents, and have requested a 21-day stay in all court proceedings as the sides try to hammer out the conditions of a release. According to sources familiar with the situation, an agreement, if reached, could require Hamdi to renounce his US citizenship, move to Saudi Arabia, and refrain from filing a lawsuit against the US.

While providing no details, acting Food and Drug Administration commissioner Lester Crawford said Wednesday that global intelligence "chatter" has raised concerns that terrorists might target US domestic supplies of such commodities. In particular, he noted the potential risks of importing drugs from other countries at a time of mounting pressure for federal approval to do so. On Tuesday, Vermont became the first state to sue the FDA, which rejected a deal the state had to supply Vermonters with mail-order drugs from a Canadian pharmacy.

The California Supreme Court was expected to rule on whether San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) exceeded his authority in facilitating the marriage of 4,037 same-sex couples at City Hall in February and March. Most observers anticipate Newsom will be found in violation of state laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but the constitutionality of that definition won't be heard by San Francisco County Superior Court until later this year.

Millions of people along the Gulf of Mexico coast were bracing themselves as both hurricane Charley and tropical storm Bonnie approached. Bonnie was expected to dump up to six inches of rain, flooding low-lying areas of the Florida Panhandle and southern Georgia. Charley, with 85 m.p.h winds, was heading toward Cuba and the Florida Keys, where evacuations were ordered. If Charley stays on track, forecasters projected that it would hit the US mainland around Fort Myers on Florida's west coast, although they gave no timetable.

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