Another Poll Shows Perry Leading GOP Pack

HAMDEN, Conn., Aug. 31 (UPI) — Another poll indicated Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads the field of Republican presidential candidates, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in second.

Perry held a 24 percent-to-18 percent lead over Romney among Republican voters, results of a Quinnipiac University National Poll released Wednesday indicated.

The percentage of all registered voters saying President Obama should be re-elected fell to 42 percent in favor and 51 percent against, matching a low the poll registered in March.

In hypothetical Election Day matchups, Obama ties Romney 45 percent-to-45 percent and holds a 45 percent-to-42 percent edge over Perry.

Results are based on telephone interviews with 2,730 registered voters Aug. 16-27. The overall sample’s margin of error is 1.9 percentage points. For the question on Republican primary candidates, 1,185 voters were surveyed and has a margin of error of 2.9 percent.

Results from recent CNN-ORC and Gallup polls also indicated Perry led the GOP field.

South Korea Pushed On Sex Slave Issue

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (UPI) — South Korea ‘s Constitutional Court says the government must work harder to reach a settlement with Japan over the compensation of World War II sex slaves.

The court ruled this week that the government’s failure to settle disputes over the compensation of as many as 200,000 women forced to work as “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers is unconstitutional, Yonhap reported Wednesday.

The South Korean news agency said Japan has refused to apologize or provide financial compensation to the women involved, saying any financial claims were covered in a 1965 treaty that provided South Korea with $800 million in grants and loans, the news service said.

Yonhap said the issue of compensation for the women has grown in urgency because the women, who are now elderly, fear they will die before ever receiving either an apology or payment.

Panel Releases 9/11 Commission Report Card

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — The United States “is undoubtedly safer” since terrorists attacked the country 10 years ago, but serious flaws remain in security, a panel said Wednesday.

“Today, our country is undoubtedly safer and more secure than it was a decade ago. We have damaged our enemy, but the ideology of violent Islamist extremism is alive and attracting new adherents, including right here in our own country,” the Bipartisan Policy Center’ National Security Preparedness Group said in a release. The group released a report card on the unfinished recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission, formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

“With important 9/11 Commission recommendations outlined in this report still unfulfilled, we fail to achieve the security we could or should have,” the report said.

The report did recognize work of the FBI and the CIA for working cooperatively, with the panel said resulted in the disruption of terrorist plots and the capture or killing of operatives.

The bipartisan group, led by former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, R-Ind., said the government officials failed in developing a biometric entry-exit screening system, standardized secure identification and reconciling civil liberties with executive powers.

Despite 10 years of work on security detection, “the aviation screening system still falls short in critical ways with respect to detection,” the report said.

The report took to task the president and Congress.

For example, Congress and the president set up a commission-recommended Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to monitor actions across government, but the board. “has, in fact, been dormant for more than three years.”

Despite lives being at stake, a recommendation to improve radio interoperability for first responders “has stalled because of a political fight over whether to allocate 10 MHz of radio … directly to public safety for a nationwide network,” the report said.

“Our terrorist adversaries and the tactics and techniques they employ are evolving rapidly. We will see new attempts, and likely successful attacks,” the report said. “One of our major deficiencies before the 9/11 attacks was a failure by national security agencies to adapt quickly to new and different kinds of enemies. We must not make that mistake again.”

11th Foot Found On Pacific Northwest Coast

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 31 (UPI) — A human foot in a sneaker has been found on the Vancouver coast, the 11th such find in British Columbia and Washington state since 2007, Canadian police said.

A passerby spotted the shoe with tissue and bone protruding from it Tuesday night at a marina and called city police, The (Vancouver) Province reported.

The previous seven feet in shoes found in British Columbia have been outside the city and were investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They also worked with Washington state officials on investigating three feet found washed ashore since August 2007, the report said.

“Upon examination by the [British Columbia] Coroner’s Office, it does appear to be human remains,” Vancouver police Constable Jana McGuinness told the newspaper.

Several of the feet have since been identified by DNA analysis, although none so far have been linked with foul play, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said. Two of them turned out to be from the same woman.

Forensic experts have said socks and sneakers greatly delay decomposition or “grazing” by marine life and the buoyancy of the sneakers allow them to float great distances, the CBC said.

Court Blocks Australian Immigration Deal

SYDNEY, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Australia’s High Court voted 6-1 Wednesday against sending 800 asylum seekers on Christmas Island to Malaysia for processing.

The court issued a permanent injunction saying the government cannot dispatch asylum seekers to any country that is not legally bound by international law or its own law to provide them with proper care, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Malaysia is not a signatory to the U.N. Convention on Refugees and does not have domestic laws that satisfy the court’s criteria.

“What the High Court decided today is not what was previously considered as understood and accepted law,” said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

Bowen said the ruling indicates the High Court has applied a new test when it comes to third-party processing.

“It’s a significant blow to our efforts to break the people smuggler’s business model,” Bowen said.

Last July the government signed a deal to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 refugees who had already had their cases settled.

Baghdad Airport Temporarily Closed

BAGHDAD, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Baghdad International Airport was closed because of a potential threat to the safety of the airport and aircraft, the Iraq Civil Aviation authority said.

An airport official said U.S. forces ordered Iraqi airspace closed and barred activities at the Baghdad airports Tuesday without providing a reason, al-Sumaria reported Wednesday.

The Iraq government reopened the airport after an hour. The nature of the threat was not known, an Iraqi official said.

“U.S. forces warned us today [Tuesday] that there is a potential danger threatening the airport’s and airplanes’ safety. For that reason we closed the airport,” Iraq Civil Aviation Authority Director Nasser Hussain al-Ameri said. “The airport was reopened after authorities took preventive measures to prevent any incident.”

U.S. troops have not turned over security of Iraqi airspace completely to the Iraqi government, Ameri told al-Sumaria.

“Iraq government controls 15 feet of the airspace and below, while the airspace above 15 feet is controlled by the U.S. forces,” he said.

Ameri said Iraqi officials would assume control of Iraqi airspace soon.

Colombia Braces For Upcoming Rainy Season

BOGOTA, Aug. 31 (UPI) — The Colombian government will invest $30 million in emergency aid for this year’s second rainy season predicted to start in September, officials said.

Director of risk management for the Interior Ministry, Carlos Ivan Marquez, said funding will cover machinery to remove debris, temporary housing subsidies and supplies for those affected by flooding and landslides, La Nacion reported Wednesday.

Marquez said the action planning will enable authorities to respond to emergencies in a timely manner.

He called on city halls, local governments and health centers to implement their own prevention planning during this time of year, which is expected to last until the middle of December.

The Colombian government has already invested $14.5 billion in implementing defense mechanisms to prevent future flooding and other seasonal disasters until 2014, the report said.

The floods and landslides of this year’s prolonged rainy season started in January and lasted until May, leaving 300 people dead or missing and affecting more than 2.8 million more.

Wildfires Burn Parts Of Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Heat and gusty winds hampered Oklahoma City firefighters early Wednesday as they battled wildfire flareups at several locations, officials said.

During the early morning hours the Harrison Bethel Baptist Church burned down along with a mobile home, The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman, reported.

A massive wildfire that destroyed at least a dozen structures, including two homes, was declared to be contained late Tuesday.

The northeastern Oklahoma City fire started in the early afternoon, forcing the evaluation of several hundred homes and burning at least 600 acres, fire officials said.

Fire Chief Keith Bryant told KOCO-TV, Oklahoma City, Tuesday that overnight crews would be on hand to handle any flareups.

More than 7,000 homes and businesses lost power due to the wildfire.

The Red Cross established an overnight shelter for families forced to evacuate their homes.

KOCO chief meteorologist Rick Mitchell said he didn’t see much improvement in weather conditions for Wednesday and Thursday.

Aide: Dick Cheney Fears Arrest For War Crimes

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — A former aide to one-time U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says former Vice President Dick Cheney fears he will be tried as a war criminal.

Cheney’s memoir, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” hit the bookshelves Tuesday, and piles criticisms and attacks on many colleagues during George W. Bush’s administration, especially Powell, whom Cheney accused of undermining Bush.

However, Powell’s chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, told ABC News Cheney “was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration” and “fears being tried as a war criminal.”

On Sunday, Powell called Cheney’s criticism “cheap shots” on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

Wilkerson said he’s known Cheney for decades, but now, “I simply don’t recognize Mr. Cheney anymore,” ABC News reported Tuesday.

Wilkerson called the former vice president a “very vindictive person.”

“I think he’s just trying to, one, assert himself so he’s not in some subsequent time period tried for war crimes and, second, so that he somehow vindicates himself because he feels like he needs vindication. That in itself tells you something about him,” Wilkerson said.

He said Cheney may have experienced “angst” because he received deferments instead of serving in the Vietnam War as Wilkerson and others in the administration did.

Cheney, Wilkerson said, “seems to criticize everyone … except himself. … Cheney was a good secretary of defense in my view. In fact I would put him up amongst the top three in the short history of the position. No longer do I feel that way, and I don’t know what happened to Cheney.”

Panel Mulls Accused Shooter’s Medication

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Lawyers for the man accused in the massacre in Tucson said their client’s involuntary treatment with anti-psychotic drugs violated his rights.

The lawyers argued in court Tuesday prison doctors violate Jared Lee Loughner by forcibly medicating him with drugs more powerful than necessary to control his outbursts, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The three-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco is considering whether Loughner — accused in the shooting spree in Tucson in which six people died and 13 people were wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. — should keep the right to decide how he is medicated. The hearing could determine whether Loughner is ever found competent to stand trial for the Jan. 8 attack during a meet-and-greet by Giffords.

The judges told government lawyers they should be skeptical about the prison’s practice of forcing psychotropic drugs on Loughner when milder sedatives would be sufficient, the Times said.

At issue is whether Bureau of Prison policies on the handling of dangerous inmates apply to pretrial detainees such as Loughner, who was sent to a hospital in Springfield, Mo., on a federal judge’s order to try to restore his mental competency.

Prison medical officials said they had to treat Loughner’s underlying mental illness to prevent him from being a danger to himself or others. The defense had called for using tranquilizers or physical restraints.

In court, defense attorney Reuben Camper Cahn asked the panel to require prison officials to get federal court approval for their involuntary treatment plans.

In early July, another three-judge panel issued a temporary order against forcing the drugs on Loughner. Prison doctors resumed medicating him July 18, citing emergency circumstances.

Tuesday’s panel isn’t expected to rule for several weeks.