When Gary Gless bought his sleek, modernist house in Los Angeles in 2002, he thought he had hit a "gold mine." The world's largest inner-city park - featuring a lush, 18-hole golf course - was about to get built across the street. The park plan was ditched, and Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC now operates 700 wells there - and 400 more are on the way. All the drilling, Gless says, has caused house foundations to crack and swimming pools to start to slide down hills. "I wouldn't even buy my own home." Freeport-McMoRan, part of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, said that, for the past three years, its surveys of the oilfield and surrounding communities have found no connection between its activities and "localized claims of property damage." It said it would continue to evaluate the issue.
By Jane Sutton MIAMI (Reuters) - The U.S. general who opened the Guantanamo detention camp said Thursday it was a mistake and should be shut down because "it validates every negative perception of the United States." "In retrospect, the entire detention and interrogation strategy was wrong," Marine Major General Michael Lehnert wrote in a column published in the Detroit Free Press. Lehnert, now retired from the military and living in Michigan, was the first commander of the task force that opened the detention camp in January 2002 at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. He said the United States opened it "because we were legitimately angry and frightened" by the September 11 hijacked plane attacks in 2001 and thought the captives sent there would provide "a treasure trove of information and intelligence." He quickly became convinced that most of them never should have been sent there because they had little intelligence value and there was insufficient evidence linking them to war crimes, he wrote.
By Andrea Lorenz HOUSTON (Reuters) - The Houston school board will vote on Thursday whether to stop using mascot names such as "Redskins" that reference Native American culture and have been called offensive by advocacy groups. The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is one of the largest in the United States and its decision could influence other school systems that are reconsidering mascot names which may be inappropriate. The use of ethnic team names and mascots came under new scrutiny this year with a campaign to pressure the National Football League's Washington Redskins to change their name. Native Americans and others have long derided the Redskins moniker as racist.
The U.S. embassy in Romania on Thursday condemned the broadcast of an anti-Semitic Christmas carol by state television, joining a long list of critics. Jewish groups, Romanian media and politicians, the Israeli embassy and other diplomatic missions have attacked the decision by channel TVR3 to air the song, which uses a pejorative word for Jews and celebrates violence against them. "Intolerance and hatred are unacceptable and should not be condoned, especially not through the medium of public broadcast." State television said the carol was part of traditional folklore and that its selection for broadcast was made by the council of the northwestern Romanian county of Cluj. After Romania switched sides in the war in 1944, communist regimes did little to draw attention to the killings while nationalist governments after 1989 also kept them under wraps.