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At Hague, Libya insists it
should try Gadhafi’s son

PARIS — Libya is preparing to bring a wide range of charges against a son of Moammar Gadhafi, and to begin his trial by February, lawyers for Libya told the International Criminal Court at The Hague on Wednesday. They appeared at a hearing dealing with the question of whether Libya or the international court has the right to try the younger Gadhafi as well as a powerful intelligence chief in his father’s regime.

Libyan authorities insist that the two men, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, and the former intelligence chief, Abdullah el-Senussi, must be tried in their own country by Libyan judges.

A team of 12 investigators is collecting evidence against Gadhafi, including crimes like murder, torture, indiscriminant violence against demonstrators and recruiting mercenaries from Pakistan, lawyers for Libya told the panel of judges. They said he might be tried jointly with el-Senussi.

Judges at the International Criminal Court indicted the two men and signed their arrest warrants last year after the U.N. Security Council sent a request to the court to investigate reports of Libyan atrocities.

—Marlise Simons, The New York Times

Polled Latinos favor Obama

Latinos who are registered voters favor President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by 69 percent to 21 percent, according to a national poll published Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

Obama’s lead over his Republican challenger among Latinos in the final stretch of the race is larger than his final margin in 2008 over Sen. John McCain. Obama won 67 percent of the Latino vote then, to McCain’s 31 percent.

The Pew survey was conducted from Sept. 7 to Oct. 4, the day after the first presidential debate, which Romney is widely viewed as having won. The lift in polls that Romney has received since then is not reflected in this survey.

Approval for the Democratic Party among those voters is at its highest level since the Pew Center began asking survey questions on the issue in 2002, said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the center, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. In the poll, 61 percent of Latinos said the Democrats had “more concern” for them, up from 45 percent in 2011. Only 10 percent now say the Republican Party is more concerned about Latino issues, the poll found.

The impact of Latinos in the presidential election will very much depend on their turnout. According to the Pew poll, they are likely to continue to vote at lower rates than the general public, with 77 percent of registered Latinos saying they are “absolutely certain” to vote. In a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, the parent organization of the Hispanic center, 89 percent of all registered voters said they were certain to cast ballots.

—Julia Preston, The New York Times

Ex-aide to governor pleads

A former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin pleaded guilty to one count of felony misconduct in public office in a deal with prosecutors Thursday, a week after Walker was subpoenaed to testify at the trial.

The former aide, Kelly M. Rindfleisch, who was Walker’s deputy chief of staff when he was the Milwaukee County executive, before he was elected governor in 2010, was charged with four felony counts in January for spending “significant time” working as a fundraiser on government time for Brett Davis, then a lieutenant governor candidate. Her trial was scheduled to begin Oct. 15.

The plea bargain that Rindfleisch, 43, accepted Thursday would drop the remaining three charges. Prosecutors would also recommend that she serve probation and jail time on the remaining charge, which carries up to 3 1/2 years in prison. A sentencing hearing was set for Nov. 19.

“It holds public officials to account,” said Bruce J. Landgraf, an assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County, who prosecuted the case.

The deal was the most recent development in a continuing secret investigation into former aides and associates of Walker. The investigation has brought six criminal complaints from the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office and has dogged the governor for months.

—Steven Yaccino, The New York Times

U.S. revises estimates for

WASHINGTON — After months of battling sweltering heat and drought, a bit of good news emerged for farmers on Thursday: The Agriculture Department revised its estimates for soybean production higher, a sign that the drought had less of an impact on the crop than feared.

The news was not all good, however. The department, for the fourth consecutive month, lowered its estimates for corn, the country’s largest cash crop. The lower estimates for corn supplies means customers will most likely see an increase in meats and dairy prices at the grocery store next year as the cost of animal feed — made primarily from corn and soybeans — remains high.

The Agriculture Department crop estimates are published monthly, but analysts say the October report is significant because it is during the harvest across the Midwest and probably provides the most comprehensive view yet of the impact of the drought on the size of the corn, soybean and other crops.

“I don’t think you are going to see any more significant changes in production figures,” said Jerry Norton, an analyst at the Agriculture Department. “The figures out today capture most of the impact of the drought, so it’s hard to see estimates getting much lower from here on.”

Grain prices rose after the release of the new estimates. Corn rose 36 1/2 cents higher, to $7.73 a bushel, while soybeans jumped 25 1/4 cents higher, to $15.49 a bushel.

—Ron Nixon, The New York Times