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In brief

Marriage for 2-year-olds is for birds Wearing traditional dress for a symbolic wedding, 2-year-olds Nikos and Katja celebrate the story of so-called ‘Bird’s Marriage’ in Panschwitz, Germany, Thursday. The children of the Sorbs, a national German minority located near the German-Polish border, thank birds that, according to a legend, give the kids sweets in return of being fed during winter.

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. GI pleads in civilian deaths

A 101st Airborne Division soldier was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for murdering a detainee and taking part in the killings of two others in Iraq last year.

Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, 22, was one of four soldiers from the division’s 3rd Brigade “Rakkasans” who were accused in the detainees’ deaths during a May 9 raid on the Muthana chemical complex in Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

In an agreement with prosecutors, Clagett, of Moncks Corner, S.C., pleaded guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

JACKSON, Miss. Man charged in ’64 killings

A reputed Ku Klux Klansman and former sheriff’s deputy pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges in the deaths of two black hitchhikers, four decades after their decomposed remains were found in the Mississippi River.

James Ford Seale, 71, was one of two white suspects initially arrested in 1964, but the FBI turned the case over to local authorities. A justice of the peace promptly threw out all charges.

Seale was arrested again Wednesday, seven years after the Justice Department reopened the case. He was charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Prosecutors didn’t say why Seale was not charged with murder.

BEIRUT, Lebanon Curfew imposed after riots

University students loyal to Lebanon’s government clashed with Hezbollah supporters Thursday, setting cars ablaze and battling with homemade clubs and stones. The melee deepened worries that Lebanon cannot contain the political and sectarian rivalries threatening to push it toward civil war.

At least three people were killed and dozens were injured before army troops backed by tanks and firing barrages of warning shots into the air dispersed most rioters. The military then declared Beirut’s first curfew since 1996.

It was the third straight day of violence, sparked by a Hezbollah-led strike Tuesday that came ahead of a crucial gathering of donor nations in Paris.

KABUL, Afghanistan Karzai: No opium spraying

Rebuffing months of U.S. pressure, Afghan President Hamid Karzai decided against a Colombia-style program to spray this country’s heroin-producing poppies after the Cabinet worried herbicide would hurt legitimate crops, animals and humans, officials said Thursday.

The decision, reportedly made Sunday, dashes U.S. hopes for mounting a campaign using ground sprayers to poison poppy plants to help combat Afghanistan’s opium trade after a record crop in 2006.

Karzai instead “made a very strong commitment” to lead other eradication efforts this year and said if that didn’t cut production he would allow spraying in 2008, a Western official said.

From Times Leader wire services

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