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World in brief

14-year-old boy dies at Arizona ‘boot camp’ BUCKEYE, Ariz. — A 14-year-old boy died at a boot camp where troubled youngsters were allegedly kicked and forced to eat mud.

Anthony Haynes of Phoenix died Sunday at the America’s Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association camp near Buckeye, where the regimen includes forced marches, black uniforms, and a daily diet of an apple, a carrot and a bowl of beans. Temperatures Sunday had climbed as high as 114 degrees.

The boy’s mother, Melanie Hudson, said the camp director told her he had eaten dirt and refused to drink water.

“They said he collapsed, that he had been throwing up mud,” she said. “They told me he had been eating dirt that day, that they were trying to hydrate him and that he kept spitting the water back out.”

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he was treating the death as suspicious and awaiting autopsy results to determine the cause. “There have been some serious allegations of abuse at that boot camp,” he said.

The boy had been about a week into a five-week program for troubled youngsters sent there by their parents.Condit denies asking anyone to hide factsWASHINGTON — Rep. Gary Condit denied on Tuesday that he had asked a flight attendant to withhold information from authorities investigating the disappearance of a young California woman.

The flight attendant, Anne Marie Smith, told Fox News that she had a yearlong affair with Condit. She said he contacted her last month and was upset when she told him she had been called by FBI agents who were interviewing people about intern Chandra Levy’s disappearance.

“He said that, ‘You don’t have to talk to the media — you don’t have to talk to anybody. You don’t even have to talk to the FBI,’” Smith said.

She also said that Condit, who is 53 and married, urged her to sign a declaration that denied a relationship between them.

Condit, D-Calif., issued a brief statement Tuesday concerning the Levy investigation: “I have not asked anyone to refrain from discussing this matter with authorities, nor have I suggested anyone mislead the authorities.”Jeep Grand Cherokee investigated for defectWASHINGTON — Federal authorities are investigating a possible defect in Jeep Grand Cherokees that may cause the popular sport utility vehicles to lurch into reverse — usually when idling with the gear shift in the park position — a government safety official confirmed Tuesday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received at least 48 complaints of what it terms “inadvertent rollaway in reverse” involving 1995-1999 Grand Cherokees, according to an agency document. The incidents have led to 32 crashes and 14 injuries. No deaths have been reported.

In one instance, documents show, a woman was knocked down and dragged through her driveway into the street, suffering a crushed leg.

In other cases reported to the government, empty Cherokees have taken off on their own, looping around parking lots, crossing busy roadways and crashing into trees and buildings.Opry star Russell dies; co-wrote ‘Act Naturally’NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Grand Ole Opry star Johnny Russell, whose song “Act Naturally” was recorded by Buck Owens and the Beatles, died Tuesday of leukemia, diabetes and other ailments. He was 61.

Russell once said that it took him two years to get someone to record “Act Naturally,” co-written with Voni Morrison.

Russell’s own recording career took off in the 1970s. His biggest hit was the working class anthem “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer,” which went to No. 4 in 1973 and was nominated for a Grammy.

When Owens recorded a version in 1963, it went to No. 1 on the country charts. Two years later, it was recorded by the Beatles, with Ringo Starr singing the vocal. In 1989, Starr and Owens recorded a duet of the song that was nominated for Grammy and Country Music Association awards.

Russell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1985, and over the years became its regular closing act.


North Korea tests missileWASHINGTON — North Korea is going ahead with development of its long-range missile, posing a threat to security in Asia and to America’s friends, military forces and interests, the State Department said Tuesday.

Last week, according to a senior Bush administration official, North Korea conducted an engine test of the Taepodong-1 missile. That cast doubt on whether the communist government is applying restraint to the program.

North Korea promised in September 1999 to suspend flight tests of the long-range missile, and the United States responded by lifting some economic sanctions that had been imposed on the country. Narrowly, North Korea has kept to the bargain by not launching any missiles, said the official.

But the program can be advanced considerably without flight tests, and it is clear that North Korea is going ahead with development of the missile, he said.Author Richler dies in Canada at 70MONTREAL (AP) — Mordecai Richler, an author and essayist known for “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” and other novels on Jewish life in Montreal, has died at age 70.

The author of 10 novels, Richler was best-known for his works on Jewish life in Montreal. “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” was made into a film with Richard Dreyfuss in the lead role.

Richler’s latest book, “On Snooker,” was published in May. He also was a newspaper columnist known for his social commentary.Russian airliner crashes in Siberia; no survivorsMOSCOW — A Russian airliner crashed and burned in a forested area near the Siberian city of Irkutsk early Wednesday, killing all aboard, the Civil Aviation Authority said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

The report did not give a figure for the number of victims, but previous reports said the Tu-154 plane carried 133 passengers and 10 crew members. ITAR-Tass raised the possibility that the number aboard could be higher because of the widespread practice of airlines taking passengers without tickets.

The passenger list was not immediately available, and there was no indication whether any foreign citizens were aboard.OPEC will maintain current productionVIENNA, Austria — OPEC members agreed Tuesday to continue pumping oil at current levels of production but braced for softer crude prices as Iraq showed a willingness to resume its suspended oil shipments.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced its decision after a formal meeting of delegates at the cartel’s headquarters in Vienna. OPEC pumps about two-fifths of the world’s oil, with an official production of 24.2 million barrels a day.

Soon after the OPEC meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, the U.N. Security Council in New York voted to extend by five months a humanitarian oil-for-food program. The program allows Iraq — strapped by U.N. trade sanctions imposed after the Gulf War — to sell oil to buy food, medicine and other essential goods.

OPEC president Chakib Khelil told a news conference that a resumption in Iraqi exports might have a short-term “psychological” effect on oil markets but added that OPEC expected prices to stabilize later in July and August whether or not Iraq comes back to market.U.S. expresses regret in Okinawan rape caseOKINAWA CITY, Japan — The new U.S. ambassador expressed regret Tuesday for the alleged rape of an Okinawan woman by an American serviceman, while Japanese police waited for the U.S. military to hand over the suspect, an Air Force sergeant.

Former Sen. Howard Baker was barely off the plane Tuesday to take up his posting as U.S. envoy in Tokyo when he conveyed President Bush’s contrition over the incident.

“President Bush said that we express our regret, our sincere regret,” Baker told reporters on the tarmac at Narita International Airport. Lt. Gen. Earl Hailston, the top U.S. officer on Okinawa, visited the prefectural (state) government office and also apologized.

The handover of Timothy Woodland, who police say has denied any involvement in the rape, was held in limbo by consultations between Tokyo and Washington.Falun Gong members reportedly die in campBEIJING — At least 10 members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement have died in a re-education camp in what authorities told family members was a group suicide, according to reports from a Hong Kong-based human rights group and overseas Falun Gong officials.

Frank Lu, director of the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, said the 10 dead Falun Gong practitioners were among 16 who hanged themselves in the Wanjia camp near Harbin in northern China on June 20 after their sentences were extended for staging a hunger strike to protest beatings by guards.

Falun Gong officials in the United States said at least 15 female practitioners died in the camp, and family members saw strangulation or rope marks on the bodies of two of the dead women. The group disputed the report of suicides, saying the women were tortured to death in separate incidents, and authorities were lying to cover it up.

Officials at the labor camp didn’t return phone calls, and China’s state-run media have not reported the deaths.

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