In Brief | Nation & World 08-19-13


Prosecutor asks judge to give Manning 60 years; defense, no more than 25

FORT MEADE, Md. — Army Pfc. Bradley Manning should spend 60 years in prison because he betrayed the U.S. by giving classified material to WikiLeaks, a prosecutor said Monday.

The soldier’s defense attorney didn’t recommend a specific punishment, but suggested any prison term shouldn’t exceed 25 years because the classification of some of the documents Manning leaked expires in 25 years.

Defense attorney David Coombs said Manning, who was 21 when he enlisted in 2007, had limited life and military experience. His youthful idealism contributed to his belief that he could change the way the world viewed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and all future wars, by leaking the secret files, Coombs said.

“He had pure intentions at the time that he committed his offenses,” Coombs said. “At that time, Pfc. Manning really, truly, genuinely believed that this information could make a difference.”

Manning faces up to 90 years in prison, but Capt. Joe Morrow only asked the judge to sentence him to 60. Morrow did not say during closing arguments of the court-martial why prosecutors were not seeking the maximum punishment.

Thousands of Syrian refugees pour into Kurdish region of Iraq

BAGHDAD — Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds swarmed across a bridge into neighboring Iraq’s northern self-ruled Kurdish region over the past few days in one of the biggest waves of refugees since the rebellion against President Bashar Assad began, U.N. officials said Monday.

The sudden exodus of around 30,000 Syrians amid the summer heat has created desperate conditions and left aid agencies and the regional government struggling to accommodate them, illustrating the huge strain the 2½-year-old Syrian conflict has put on neighboring countries.

The mostly Kurdish men, women and children who made the trek join some 1.9 million Syrians who already have found refuge abroad from Syria’s relentless carnage.

“This is an unprecedented influx of refugees, and the main concern is that so many of them are stuck out in the open at the border or in emergency reception areas with limited, if any, access to basic services,” said Alan Paul, emergency team leader for the Britain-based charity Save the Children.

“The refugee response in Iraq is already thinly stretched, and close to half of the refugees are children who have experienced things no child should,” he said, adding that thousands of refugees were stranded at the border, waiting to be registered.

City Hall opens but San Diego mayor a no-show after therapy

SAN DIEGO — City Hall opened as usual Monday but Mayor Bob Filner was nowhere to be found, still out of public view as he tries to survive a recall effort prompted by a cascade of sexual harassment allegations that led the entire City Council and many leading fellow Democrats to call for him to resign.

City Council President Todd Gloria said he didn’t know if Filner would make a public appearance on Monday, the day the mayor promised to return to work after receiving two weeks of therapy to address behavioral issues.

Filner is not obligated to show up but owes the people of San Diego an explanation of his whereabouts, Gloria said. The city’s daily operations have been running fine without Filner, he said, and should the mayor appear it could make female employees uncomfortable.

“Those of us who have called on the mayor to resign know he is not being effective at this time,” Gloria said. “The mayor’s presence is a distraction.”

The mayor has not made his schedule public.

By wire sources

His spokeswoman Lena Lewis and lawyer James Payne did not respond to calls.

By wire sources