Nigeria to File Charges Against Cheney in Bribery Scandal
The Nigerian government will file charges against former Vice President Dick Cheney and top officials from five companies, including Halliburton and its former subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), over a bribery scandal tracing back to the late 1990s, according to a Bloomberg report. Nigerian authorities suspect Halliburton and other companies of paying $180 million in bribes to win a $6 billion natural gas contract. Cheney resigned from his position of CEO at Halliburton in 2000 to join the Bush campaign. Last year, KBR and Halliburton agreed to pay $579 million for bribery payments made in Nigeria from 1994 to 2004. A Nigerian official said an arrest warrant for Cheney will be issued by the end of the week.
McCain Unconvinced by Pentagon Report on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Sen. John McCain does not agree with the Pentagon's new report showing that a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on openly gay military service members posed little risk to military effectiveness, according to The Associated Press. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the release of the report and asked Congress to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" before a potential court ruling forces an overnight policy change that could impact military readiness. When asked about McCain's vocal opposition to a repeal, Gates said the report shows that the senator is "mistaken." McCain argues that the military should not undertake such a major policy shift during a time of war, and he is expected to rally Republican opposition as the Senate considers the repeal. In September, Senate Republicans blocked the introduction of legislation that would repeal "don't ask, don't tell."
Illinois Passes Bill to Legalize Civil Unions
Illinois lawmakers on Wednesday approved legislation legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples, and the governor has indicated he will the sign the bill, according to The New York Times. Illinois would join a small but growing number of states to give same-sex couples a chance to enjoy some of the same rights and responsibilities granted to married straight couples.
Obama Administration Backs Away From Proposal to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling
The Obama administration is reconsidering a proposal made earlier this year to expand offshore oil drilling off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, according to an NPR report. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the press that, in light of the BP oil spill that erupted in April, the government is proceeding with caution and wants to impose stricter rules on offshore oil and natural gas drilling operations. Instead of permitting more offshore drilling, the administration is expected to focus on existing leases and drilling sites in the Gulf of Mexico.