Judge orders release of Guantanamo detainee
WASHINGTON: A federal judge ordered the military yesterday to release one of its first Guantanamo Bay detainees, a 21-year-old man who has been detained and accused of being a terrorist since he was 14. Mohammed el Gharani, who is of Chadian nationality but had lived in Saudi Arabia, should be released from the U.S. prison in Cuba "forthwith," U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said in a ruling from the bench. The military had accused el Gharani of being part of al-Qaida, working for the Taliban and fighting American forces in Afghanistan. But Leon said those accusations were based on testimony from other Guantanamo Bay detainees, which he found unreliable. El Gharani listened to the ruling live by telephone from Cuba. He could be on his way home to his family in a few weeks, lawyer Zackary Katznelson said. The government can appeal Leon's decision.
Bank of America could get more federal aid
NEW YORK: The U.S. government is nearing a deal to inject Bank of America Corp. with billions of dollars in more aid, The Wall Street Journal reported late yesterday, citing people familiar with the situation. The nation's biggest bank by assets acquired Merrill Lynch & Co. on Jan. 1. Bank of America received $25 billion from the government's $700 financial rescue fund, including $10 billion that would have gone to Merrill had it not been acquired. Bank of America and U.S. Treasury spokesmen declined to comment to inquiries made by the Associated Press. The Journal, citing a person familiar with the talks, reported that the discussion between the government and Bank of America began in mid-December when the Charlotte, N.C., bank said it wasn't likely to go through with its acquisition of New York-based Merrill, because the losses at the troubled company were larger than expected. Treasury Department officials grew concerned that the stability of the U.S. financial markets would be at risk if the deal fell apart, the newspaper reported.
Young remain biggest online social site users
NEW YORK: More people are embracing social networks like MySpace and Facebook, but use of these friend-gathering sites remains a much bigger phenomenon among the young, according to a report released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Of the roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults who go online, 35 percent use social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, Pew found in a survey of 2,250 people late last year. Just 8 percent of adult Web users were on social networking sites four years ago. Through the most recent survey and other polls last year, Pew determined just how much more likely it was for younger people to be participating in social networks. Some 65 percent of online teenagers 12 to 17 use the sites, and three-quarters of Internet users between 18 and 24 have a profile. In comparison, just 7 percent of Internet users who are 65 and older are on the sites.
Investment manager charged in plane crash
CHATTAHOOCHEE, Fla.: An Indiana investment manager who allegedly staged a plane crash to evade personal and financial ruin was charged yesterday with intentionally downing the plane and faking a distress call, a U.S. Marshals spokesman said. The charges came a day after investigators tracked Marcus Schrenker, 38, to a campground in northern Florida. He had apparently tried to kill himself when federal agents discovered him bleeding from a slashed wrist, investigators said.