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UPI NewsTrack TopNews

April 2, 2013 at 10:00 PM   |   Comments

Hagel to take pay cut

WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will take a pay cut this year in light of the 14 furlough days some employees will be forced to take, the Pentagon said.

"The secretary plans to subject his pay to furlough levels even though he is not required to because he is a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed official in this department," Politico quoted Pentagon press secretary George Little as telling reporters Tuesday.

"We expect the vast majority of civilians, at least at this point, to be subject to furlough," Little said.

Hagel, who earns about $200,000 a year, would have to write a check to the federal government to reflect the pay he would lose over 14 furlough days, Politico said.

Some department employees -- uniformed personnel, those deployed to Afghanistan, foreign national workers in other countries who are protected by status of forces agreements, and civilian workers deemed vital to national security -- will be exempt from the furloughs.

An estimated 750,000 workers are waiting for news of the furloughs.

"We are working through all the analytics on the number of civilian employees who we expect, regrettably, to have to furlough in the coming weeks, including me," Little told reporters. "I don't know that we've arrived at a specific number yet."


Former official eyed in DA's slaying

KAUFMAN, Texas, April 2 (UPI) -- A federal law enforcement official says investigators are looking at a former local official as a person of interest in the slaying of two Texas prosecutors.

Citing a federal official it did not name, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday investigators were scrutinizing the former local official, who was dismissed after being arrested for alleged possession of stolen goods in connection with a corruption investigation. The former official was prosecuted by Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland, 63, who was shot and killed at his home along with his wife, Cynthia, 65, during the weekend.

Assistant prosecutor Mark Hasse, who was shot and killed Jan. 31, also was involved in the prosecution of the local official, who subsequently threatened to retaliate against McClelland and allegedly threatened to burn down the home of another official, the Times reported.

Authorities have said they were starting virtually from scratch in the investigation into the killing of the McClellands and Hasse, WFAA-TV, Dallas, reported Tuesday.

Justice officials across the state are on high alert, unsure if or when a similar attack might occur, CNN said.

"This, I think, is a clear concern to individuals who are in public life, particularly those who deal with some very mean and vicious individuals -- whether they're white supremacy groups or drug cartels that we have," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.


Former radical now university lecturer

NEW YORK, April 2 (UPI) -- A 1980s-era radical who spent 22 years in prison for a violent armed robbery now teaches at two prestigious universities in New York City, officials say.

Kathy Boudin was a member of the Weather Underground when she acted as the getaway driver for an armed robbery in October 1980 in New York state in which two police officers and a Brinks guard were killed, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

Boudin, now 69, was paroled in 2003 and this year was named the Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence at NYU Law School.

She teaches about issues facing convicts and their families after someone is released from prison. Last month, Boudin presented a lecture there on "the politics of parole and re-entry."

She also is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of Social Work.

The widow of one of Boudin's victims in the deadly robbery was angered by the former radical's transformation into respectability.

"She doesn't deserve anything, nothing at all," said Josephine Paige, 74, whose husband Peter was gunned by Boudin's accomplices from the Black Liberation Army. "I think she should be back in an institution."

Marianne Yoshioka, associate dean of Columbia School of Social Work who hired Boudin in 2008, praised her as an excellent teacher "who gets incredible evaluations from her students each year."


Arkansas AG seeks Exxon pipeline docs

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 2 (UPI) -- The Arkansas attorney general is opening an investigation into the cause of an Exxon oil pipeline that burst, forcing evacuation of a neighborhood last week.

State Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said his office has requested Exxon preserve and maintain all relevant records relating to the Pegasus oil pipeline that began spilling thousands of gallons of crude oil on streets in Mayflower, Ark., Friday from a 2- or 3-inch gash, CNN said.

"This incident has damaged private property and Arkansas's natural resources. Homeowners have been forced from their homes as a result of this spill," McDaniel told KARK-TV, Little Rock, Ark. "Requesting that Exxon secure these documents and data is the first step in determining what happened and preserving evidence for any future litigation."

McDaniel would be responsible for representing the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in court, KARK-TV said.

The pipeline transfers oil from Canada to American refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.


Priest guilty in meth ring conspiracy

HARTFORD, Conn., April 2 (UPI) -- A suspended Catholic priest pleaded guilty in a Connecticut court Tuesday to participating in a methamphetamine distribution ring.

Monsignor Kevin Wallin, 61, of Bridgeport, Conn., will be sentenced in June after pleading guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to possess the stimulant with intent to distribute, court documents said.

His indictment in January stunned the Bridgeport diocese, where he formerly served in positions including personal secretary to a succession of bishops. He resigned in 2011 from his last appointment as the monsignor of St. Augustine's Church, Bridgeport's principal parish, citing "health and personal issues," the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Tuesday.

Wallin was accused of buying methamphetamine from two California suppliers, who, with two other Connecticut men, were charged in the conspiracy with Wallin. All but Wallin have pleaded not guilty, the newspaper said.

Wallin entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Hartford, before Senior Judge Alfred V. Covello, and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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