Franken's lead in Minn. Senate race grows

ST. PAUL, Minn.: Democrat Al Franken increased his small lead over Republican Norm Coleman on Tuesday in the protracted dispute over Minnesota's Senate race, but it remains unclear when the five-month legal battle will end. A state court ordered more than 300 absentee ballots that had previously been excluded to be counted Tuesday, and the results increased Franken's lead from 225 votes to 312. Lawyers representing Coleman, who has held his seat since 2003, have already said he will appeal the panel's decisions to the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Court cuts sentence of Iraqi shoe-thrower

BAGHDAD: A judge reduced the sentence of an Iraqi journalist convicted of assaulting President George W. Bush by throwing his shoes at him from three years to one, the man's relatives said Tuesday. Muntadhar al-Zeidi, a broadcast journalist who gained wide recognition in the Arab world when he lashed out at Bush during the president's final visit to Iraq, was convicted last month of assaulting a visiting head of state. Because al-Zeidi spent nearly five months behind bars before his conviction, he could be released as early as this fall, said his brother, Dirgham al-Zeidi.


Biden warns Israel not to attack Iran

WASHINGTON: Amid growing concern that Israel might attack Iran, Vice President Joe Biden warned Tuesday that Israel's new government would be "ill advised" to launch such a strike. Biden also said in a CNN interview that he does not believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would take such a step.

Democrat wins Illinois congressional seat

CHICAGO: A reform-minded Democrat has claimed the high-profile Illinois congressional seat that Rahm Emanuel gave up to be President Barack Obama's chief of staff. Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley, 50, trounced GOP nominee Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel on Tuesday for the 5th District seat that Emanuel first won in 2002. With 59 percent of precincts reporting, Quigley had 15,977 votes, or 74 percent. Pulido had 4,184 votes, or 19 percent; and Reichel had 7 percent.

Fidel Castro meets 3 U.S. lawmakers

HAVANA: Signaling its willingness to discuss improved relations with the Obama administration, Cuba granted three visiting members of the Congressional Black Caucus the first meeting with Fidel Castro by American officials since he fell ill in 2006. The surprise meeting Tuesday came a day after the full delegation of six representatives spent more than four hours talking privately with Cuban President Raul Castro. Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat who heads the 42-member caucus, said at a news conference that lawmakers met for nearly two hours with Fidel Castro and found him "very healthy, very energetic, very clear thinking."

BYU paper publishes an ungodly typo

PROVO, Utah: Thousands of issues of Brigham Young University's student newspaper were pulled from newsstands because a front-page photo caption misidentified leaders of the Mormon church as apostates instead of apostles. An apostate is a person who has abandoned religious faith, principles or a cause. The photo in The Daily Universe on Monday was of members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The typo was an honest mistake, said Carri Jenkins, spokeswoman for church-owned BYU.