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April 22, 2006 at 11:58 AM
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Rice asked to testify in Israel spy case

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 22 (UPI) -- Top Bush administration officials, including Condoleezza Rice, reportedly will be asked to testify in the Virginia espionage case of former Israeli lobbyists.

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis allowed the defense of former staff members of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee to subpoena Secretary of State Rice, along with former Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni, former assistant Secretary of State for Near East William Burns and Burns' former deputy David Satterfield, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Burns is now ambassador to Moscow and Satterfield the deputy chief of mission in Baghdad.

Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman are accused of passing on U.S. defense secrets to Israel.

Former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin pleaded guilty to giving the information to the two and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

But Rosen and Weissman said the information was the same that was passed to them from Rice and the other four, and not an anomaly.

Ellis' granting of the defenses request means they can officially enter subpoenas but doesn't guarantee they will agree to testify.

The pair's trial was supposed to start late next month but was postponed again after lengthy procedural tactics.

Ellis is also considering arguments made by both sides on the defense request to have the charges dismissed.


Senate immigration bill debate will return

WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- A federal immigration bill that died in the U.S. Senate the day before Congress recessed for Easter reportedly will be brought back by Memorial Day.

An aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said the senator will bring back the ailing legislation and include a $2 billion boost to border security, which CNN reports is a toss to arch-conservatives in Congress.

Millions have protested across the United States in recent weeks in protest of a House bill that would make the country's estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants felons, along with people who assist them.

A Senate compromise bill that had a border security component but instead created a way for undocumented immigrants to earn U.S. citizenship looked likely to pass until Senate Democrats blocked a move to led Republicans amend it.


GOP to ask Bush for oil price inquiry

WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- Top congressional Republicans reportedly will ask U.S. President George Bush to investigative excessive profits by oil companies as gas prices surge.

Barrels of oil closed at $75.17 Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- a record high before adjusting for inflation.

The Washington Post reports House Speaker Rep. J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., will send a letter to Bush Monday asking for an investigation into oil company pricing by the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department.

They also want the Environmental Protection Agency to relax regulations so oil refiners will up production for the United States.

The Republican duo, some Democrats and consumer advocates say oil companies are in cahoots to boost oil prices.

Hastert also questioned the retirement package of former Exxon Mobil head Lee Raymond, who made $48.5 million in 2005 and was given a $98.5 million retirement check. He also held more than $250 million in stock.

Raymond led the company for twelve years with growth that peaked last year when it grossed the highest annual profit total in U.S. history.

Exxon Mobil officials say the retirement package is in line with company standards for years serviced and performance quality.


China's Hu visits Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 22 (UPI) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao was in Saudi Arabia for his first state visit to the country Saturday and plans to discuss trade and international issues.

Hu began his three-day visit by reading a prepared statement in Riyadh, where he commended the Saudi-Chinese relationship since 1990, when diplomatic ties were made official, the Xinhua news agency reports.

Hu plans to meet with King Abdullah among other leaders.

Trade between the two countries was more than $16 billion in 2005, a 56 percent jump since 2004.

Abdullah visited China in January.

Hu came to Saudi Arabia from the United States, the first leg of a tour that will include Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya.

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