The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 32.0°F | Fair

News Briefs

Druce Was Angry, Unwanted As a Child, Court Records Show

THE BOSTON GLOBE

Darrin Smiledge was an unplanned child, his mother said, and his birth process was “a disaster and I wanted to die.” By age 9, Darrin was obsessed with sex and violent fantasies, often picking on smaller children, and Donna Smiledge blamed his frequent misbehavior on his hatred for her, according to court records released Wednesday.

Smiledge, who changed his name in 1999 to Joseph L. Druce, grew up to be a murderer, killing an older man because he was “bored,” according to a psychologist who testified on his behalf at the 1989 trial for the slaying.

Druce, the angry, unwanted child, is now accused of strangling John J. Geoghan, the defrocked priest who authorities say was killed Saturday in a state prison cell.

A fuller picture of Druce’s life emerged Wednesday in psychiatric testimony and documents entered into evidence during his 1989 murder trial. They painted him as a man given to deviant behavior, a hatred of authority, and the inability to deal with boredom.

Though mental health professionals, writing in reports submitted to his elementary school, indicated that Druce suffered from a personality disorder as a child, a psychologist who testified on his behalf in the murder trial said he suffered from severe attention deficit disorder.

Bush Loosens Clean Air Law

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- WASHINGTON

The Bush administration relaxed its clean air rules on Wednesday to allow thousands of industrial plants to make upgrades without installing pollution controls, arguing that other regulations were in place to reduce emissions.

Utilities, which sought the new rule, said it would allow them to make improvements that will ensure the reliability of the power supply, a high-profile issue after the Aug. 14 power failure that led to the biggest blackout in the nation’s history.

In one of its most far-reaching environmental actions, the Bush administration signed a rule that will allow thousands of power plants, refineries, pulp and paper mills, chemical plants and other industrial facilities to make extensive upgrades that increase their pollutants without having to install new antipollution devices. The rule, for which industries have lobbied the Bush administration for two years, could save them billions of dollars.

Administration officials said it would clarify an otherwise subjective standard and allow plants to modernize more easily, thus leading to greater efficiency and potentially lower consumer costs.

Germany May Be Willing To Expand Military Presence in Iraq

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- BERLIN

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Wednesday that Germany would expand its military presence in Afghanistan if the United Nations extended the mandate for the international force there.

Schroeder, speaking after a meeting with his defense and foreign ministers, told reporters that he would seek parliamentary approval to send 250 German troops to Kunduz, a city about 150 miles north of Kabul.

If the troops are sent, it will be a significant expansion not only of Germany’s role in Afghanistan but also of the operations of the International Security Assistance Force, which until now has been restricted to the area around the Afghan capital.

Germany now contributes about 2,000 troops to the 5,000-member force, command of which was transferred from the United Nations to NATO this month.