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News Briefs

Bush Eyes Lifting Curbs On Aid for Colombia


The Bush administration plans to ask Congress next week to remove all restrictions on U.S. military aid to Colombia, including those that limit assistance to counter-narcotics efforts, impose human rights standards on the Colombian military and cap the number of U.S. military personnel in the country, administration and congressional sources said.

The plan, which also seeks to ward off restrictions on any future aid, is included in legislation that the administration expects to submit to Congress asking for additional funds for global and domestic anti-terrorism efforts this year.

The White House put aside a similar Colombia proposal barely two weeks ago on grounds that Congress might not support a significant broadening of the U.S. military mission there to assist the government of President Andres Pastrana in its fight against leftist guerrillas. The Pentagon, backed by some officials in other departments, had proposed including Colombia in the global war on terrorism.

To the administration’s surprise, however, a number of key congressional figures subsequently said that they would support expanded U.S. aid in response to the changed circumstances in Colombia, where Pastrana last month abruptly ended three years of peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Testimony Questions Knoller’s Effort to Shield Victim


A San Francisco attorney whose dog fatally mauled a neighbor probably would have suffered severe injuries if she had attempted to shield the victim as the defense has argued, a prosecution witness testified Thursday.

Dr. Randall Lockwood, a canine behavior specialist who said he reviewed all the testimony and evidence in the case, testified that defendant Marjorie Knoller’s injuries appeared “inhibited” and showed she was not as close to the attack as the defense has portrayed.

“They suggest to me that she was probably at some distance, at least a few feet” away from the dog and victim Diane Whipple, said Lockwood, a vice president of the U.S. Humane Society.

“In a situation where there is close physical proximity between one victim being bitten severely and another person who is close at hand, I would expect at least some redirected bites that were of equal severity to the bites the victim received,” Lockwood testified.

Whipple, a 33-year-old lacrosse coach, died from bleeding and asphyxiation in the hallway just outside her San Francisco apartment Jan. 26, 2001. She had been attacked by two Presa Canarios owned by Knoller and her husband, Robert Noel. The dogs, Bane and Hera, have since been destroyed.