National briefs: Base sex-crime data sought

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WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is coming under pressure to give Congress detailed information on the handling of sex crime cases in the armed forces following an Associated Press investigation that found a pattern of inconsistent judgments and light penalties for sexual assaults at U.S. bases in Japan.

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who has led efforts in Congress to address military sexual crimes, is pressing the Defense Department to turn over case information from four major U.S. bases: Fort Hood in Texas, Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton in California, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Border patrol-killing case

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A federal judge sentenced a Mexican man to 30 years in prison Monday for the 2010 killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, a slaying that led to the unraveling of the failed federal gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious.

Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in October 2012 in exchange for avoiding the death penalty, was part of a group of bandits who engaged in a shootout with Agent Terry and three other Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona, just south of Tucson.

After serving his sentence, Osorio-Arellanes is to be deported and banned from the United States.

Immigration, food prices

WASHINGTON -- Immigration overhauling that focuses solely on enforcement would cut agriculture production and cause a sharp rise in food prices, according to a new study released Monday.

The study -- which was commissioned by the American Farm Bureau, the nation's largest farm lobby organization -- said food prices would increase an additional 5 percent to 6 percent over the next five years if enforcement-only policies were put into place, because of a lack of workers to harvest crops. It would cost the agriculture sector as much as $60 billion over the same period.

Chemical-spill hearing

WASHINGTON -- The West Virginia storage facility that leaked a chemical tainting the water supply of 300,000 Charleston-area customers shouldn't have been built upstream from a treatment plant, a federal investigator said Monday.

At a congressional hearing into the spill at a Freedom Industries site that leaked last month, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said regulators should limit where such storage facilities are built or operate.

Southern storm looms

ATLANTA -- A one-two punch of winter weather was expected for Atlanta and northern Georgia with rain and snow were forecast today, followed by sleet and freezing rain Wednesday.

Salt trucks, snow plows were ready to roll and the National Guard has 1,400 four-wheeled drive vehicles to help anyone stranded, unlike weeks ago, when Atlanta became a national punch line as a few inches of snow crippled the city.

Also in the nation ...

The Food and Drug Administration is warning against eating Uncle Ben's rice products served at schools, restaurants, hospitals and other food service institutions after children in three states had skin reactions and other symptoms that were linked to the rice. ... New York City's underground cockfighting industry received a rude wake-up call over the weekend when authorities raided three locations where they arrested nine people on felony charges and freed 3,000 birds.


-- Compiled from news services


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