Nation/world briefs 8/17/14

Published:

AUSTIN, Texas -- A grand jury has indicted Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts of abuse of power for making good on a veto threat -- a case the possible 2016 presidential hopeful is dismissing as nakedly political, but which his opponents say is just deserts.

The indictments for abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant came late Friday, after a special prosecutor spent months calling witnesses and presenting evidence that Perry broke the law when he carried out a promise to nix $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit run by the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. The Democratic official was convicted of drunken driving, but refused Perry's repeated calls to resign.

The case means the longest-serving governor in state history also became the first Texas governor since 1917 to be indicted. Abuse of official capacity is a first-degree felony with potential punishments of five to 99 years in prison. Coercion of a public servant is a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of two to 10 years.

Perry vowed Saturday to fight the indictment against him, calling it an "outrageous" abuse of power.

"This indictment amounts to nothing more than abuse of power and I cannot and will not allow that to happen," Perry said at a news conference a day after he was charged with violating state law.

More realistic view of frontier life: Laura Ingalls Wilder penned one of the most beloved children's series of the 20th century, but her forthcoming autobiography will show devoted "Little House on the Prairie" fans a more realistic, grittier view of frontier living. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography -- Wilder's unedited draft that was written for an adult audience and eventually served as the foundation for the popular series -- is slated to be released by the South Dakota State Historical Society Press nationwide this fall. The not-safe-for-children tales include stark scenes of domestic abuse, love triangles gone awry and a man who lit himself on fire while drunk off whiskey. Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane, herself a well-known author, tried and failed to get an edited version of the autobiography published throughout the early 1930s. The original rough draft has been preserved at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum in Mansfield, Mo., for decades but hadn't been published.

Pakistanis protest vote outcome: Tens of thousands of protesters thronged the streets of Pakistan's capital Saturday, defying pouring rain to answer the call of a fiery cleric and a cricket star-turned-politician who are both demanding the government step down immediately. Anti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and Pakistan's most famous cricket player, Imran Khan, have led dual mass protests that have disrupted life across Islamabad. They demand Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down over alleged fraud in the country's May 2013 election, something Sharif has refused to do. The protesters have vowed to remain in the streets until Sharif leaves office.

Russian trucks waited near border: Hundreds of trucks in a Russian aid convoy waited Saturday near the Ukrainian border as complicated procedures dragged on for allowing them into eastern Ukraine to help civilians suffering amid fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatists. The main holdup was a lack of security guarantees from all sides in the conflict, said the International Committee of the Red Cross, which would have responsibility for distributing the aid. Ukrainian officials are concerned that the mission, including around 200 trucks, could be a guise for Russia to send in equipment for the rebels, whom Kiev and Western countries claim are backed by Moscow. But Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement under which the trucks could enter with Red Cross accompaniment if Ukrainian border guards and customs agents approve the cargo.

Factory output rises again: U.S. factory output rose for the sixth consecutive month in July, led by a jump in the production of motor vehicles, furniture, textiles and metals. Manufacturing production rose 1 percent in July compared with the prior month, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Factory output in June was revised slightly higher to a 0.3 percent increase. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has risen 4.9 percent. Demand for autos surged 10.1 percent last month, the largest increase since July 2009.

Bergdahl case still under investigation: A general investigating the disappearance of a U.S. Army sergeant in Afghanistan is getting several more weeks to complete his probe. U.S. Army spokesman Wayne Hall said in an email Saturday that the final draft of the report on Sgt. Bowe Berdahl will take another three weeks to complete. Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl had 60 days from his June 16 appointment to finish his work. That deadline was Friday.

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