USA

A federal judge Thursday struck down a law criminalizing pornography when website operators allow children to access "harmful" material. In a blow to government efforts to combat Internet porn, the court said that the rights of free speech could be upheld if parents protect their children through software filters and other less restrictive means.

US reconstruction efforts in Iraq were characterized as chaotic and poorly managed in an audit report shared Thursday by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general assigned to assess the nearly $400 billion reconstruction effort. In particular, the report cites a need for better cooperation between the Defense and State Departments.

After nearly two years of failed bargaining, leaders for unionized professors in the 400,000-student California State University system said Wednesday that members had authorized a strike that could occur as soon as next month.

Reports of sexual assault in the military rose 24 percent last year to nearly 3,000, according to a Pentagon report released Wednesday. An Army spokeswoman said the increase may stem from efforts to make soldiers more willing to report incidents, not necessarily from a rise in verifiable assaults.

Bishops of the Episcopal Church, the US wing of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, said Wednesday they hope to stay in the Anglican family despite a decision that threatens to divide them from the worldwide body. At a meeting in Texas, the bishops affirmed their support for gays and rejected a key demand that they give up some authority to non-US church conservatives.

New York will move up its presidential primary from March 4 to Feb. 5, 2008, so that it coincides with primaries in more than 20 other states, New York lawmakers decided Wednesday. The switch should give the state more campaign influence.

By a vote of her colleagues, Therese Murray became the first woman elected as president of the Massachusetts Senate. Murray, a Democrat who previously chaired the Senate Ways and Means Committee, replaces Robert Travaglini, who is entering the private sector.

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