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Soldier accused of taunting Iraqi boys

FAIRBANKS, Alaska, May 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Army officials say they're investigating a video that reportedly shows a U.S. soldier taunting two Iraqi boys.

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The 30-second video, called "future gay terrorists," was posted on the Facebook page of Spc. Robert Rodriguez, who served in Iraq and now is stationed at Fort Wainwright, outside Fairbanks, Alaska, GoPride.com reported Tuesday.

During the clip, a voice off-camera asks two boys who appear not to understand English whether they engage in homosexual acts and plan to be terrorists, WRAL-TV, Raleigh, N.C., reported Tuesday.

In posting the video, which since has been taken down, Rodriguez wrote on Facebook, "I was bored in Iraq. So I kept myself entertained."

A North Carolina soldier who knows Rodriguez shared the video with friends, who contacted WRAL-TV.

Army spokesman Maj. Bill Coppernoll said the video is under investigation.

"The conduct portrayed in the video is disgraceful and clearly inconsistent with the high standards we expect of every soldier," Coppernoll said in a statement.

Rodriguez was not available for comment.


Olmert questioned about Holyland deal

JERUSALEM, May 25 (UPI) -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert underwent several hours of questioning Tuesday in connection with a Jerusalem real estate deal, a spokesman says.

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Olmert was summoned by police to answer allegations that he received bribes for promoting a real estate project on a large tract of land where the Holyland Hotel once stood, Ynetnews.com reported Tuesday.

Owners of the land are suspected of paying bribes to increase their building rights on the property and to have the land's zoning changed to residential.

They reportedly received many other benefits including tax breaks from the municipality of Jerusalem for the project.

Some of the changes made in the project were carried out during Olmert's terms as mayor of Jerusalem while others occurred during the term of his successor, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Police have already questioned one of the owners of the project.


Declare a winner, Philippine lawmaker says

MANILA, Philippines, May 25 (UPI) -- A top Philippine lawmaker is urging his colleagues to officially declare the winner of the country's recent presidential election.

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile said Tuesday unnamed "parties or elements" may try to derail certification of the May 10 election results, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. He said it would be the "greatest disservice" to the nation if the canvassing were to be "unreasonably, unnecessarily or deliberately" delayed.

Enrile called for the certification to be completed by June 30.

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Four presidential candidates have conceded to Philippine Sen. Benigno Aquino III, officials said last week. In separate statements, Sens. Manuel Villar and Richard Gordon, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and J.C. de los Reyes of the Ang Kapatiran Party said they were dropping out of the race, the Inquirer reported May 11.

Enrile made the comments at the opening of a joint congressional session amid allegations of irregularities in the Philippines' first automated election.

Enrile also called for the prosecution of anyone suspected of committing election irregularities.

"Those who are later proven to be responsible for this mess, either through their negligence, omissions, criminal acts and complicity must be made to suffer the full consequences of their deeds," he said.

"They must all be charged and put to jail for making a mockery out of our electoral process," he said. "They should find no refuge in Congress."


U.S. keeps record of threats to screeners

WASHINGTON, May 25 (UPI) -- Passengers who give airport screeners a hard time may have their names placed in a special database, the U.S.Transportation Security Administration says.

The TSA says the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is keeping track of people who make screeners feel threatened as part of an effort to prevent workplace violence, USA Today reports.

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Agency spokeswoman Kristin Lee says the database was created in late 2007 when the TSA launched a program to prevent the nation's 50,000 airport screeners from being attacked or threatened.

Screener A.J. Castilla, who works at Boston's Logan Airport, says he has seen angry passengers throw shoes and push screeners.

Lawyer Michael German of the American Civil Liberties Union questions whether the database is some sort of a "baby watch list."

"There's a potential for the misuse of information or the mischaracterization of harmless events as potential threats," German says.


Former astronaut to remain on probation

ORLANDO, Fla., May 25 (UPI) -- A Florida judge says he has denied former astronaut Lisa Nowak's request to end probation early in a battery case against a female military officer.

Orange Circuit Judge Marc Lubet Monday said Nowak must complete the remaining six months of her 12-month probation.

Lubet did change Nowak's status to "administrative probation," meaning she doesn't have to check in regularly with her probation officer, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Tuesday.

In November, Nowak pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery and car burglary stemming from a February 2007 confrontation at Orlando International Airport with Colleen Shipman, then a U.S. Air Force captain who was dating Nowak's love interest, former astronaut William Oefelein.

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Nowak since has completed an anger management seminar and written Shipman an apology letter.

Shipman, who lives with Oefelein in Alaska and is engaged to him, said in a letter to the court she believed Nowak drove to Orlando to kill her, the Sentinel reported.

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