Spotlight for Tuesday, May 3

Posted May 02, 2011, at 10:20 p.m.

Court hears arguments in Obama birth lawsuit

PASADENA, Calif. — A federal appeals court heard arguments Monday about a lawsuit challenging the U.S. citizenship of President Barack Obama, despite the release of his detailed birth certificate last week.

A pair of Southern California attorneys, on behalf of more than 40 plaintiffs, asked a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to remand their lawsuit back to the Orange County courtroom of U.S. District Judge David Carter.

In dismissing the lawsuit in late 2009, Carter said the federal court system is not the proper venue to challenge a president’s election.

The appellate panel seemed to concur, wondering how the lawsuit could have merit, given it was filed after the election and Obama had already taken office.

“You did not file a claim at the time when the kind of relief you would be talking about might be plausible,” Judge Raymond Fisher said. “It doesn’t do anything for your candidates now.”

It wasn’t immediately known when the judges would issue a ruling.

Mourners demand

revenge in Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya — Libyans shouting for revenge buried Moammar Gadhafi’s second youngest son to the thundering sound of anti-aircraft fire Monday, as South Africa warned that the NATO bombing that killed him would only bring more violence.

Libya’s leader did not attend the tumultuous funeral of 29-year-old Seif al-Arab, but older brothers Seif al-Islam and Mohammed paid their respects, thronged by a crowd of several thousand. Jostling to get closer to the coffin, draped with a green Libyan flag, mourners flashed victory signs and chanted “Revenge, revenge for you, Libya.”

Three of Gadhafi’s grandchildren, an infant and two toddlers, also died in Saturday’s attack, which NATO says targeted one of the regime’s command and control centers. Gadhafi and his wife were in the compound at the time, but escaped unharmed, Libyan officials said, accusing the alliance of trying to assassinate the Libyan leader.

NATO officials have denied they are hunting Gadhafi to break the battlefield stalemate between Gadhafi’s troops and rebels trying for the past 10 weeks to depose him. Rebels largely control eastern Libya, while Gadhafi has clung to much of the west, including the capital, Tripoli.

Syrian army conducts widespread raids, arrests

BEIRUT — Syrian troops went door-to-door in cities and towns across the nation Monday, arresting scores of people in a campaign of intimidation aimed at crushing an uprising against President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian regime, activists said.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said hundreds of people had been arrested over the past two days alone.

“The arrests are ongoing, from the besieged southern city of Daraa to the country’s north and passing through the suburbs of Damascus,” he said.

Assad is determined to crush the 6-week-old revolt, which began in Daraa and quickly spread across the nation of some 23 million people. Rights groups say at least 545 Syrians have been killed since the uprising began in March.

Now, the once-unimaginable protests are posing the most serious challenge to four decades of rule by the Assad family in one of the most repressive countries in the Middle East.

Thousands continue to protest in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen — Thousands of protesters took to the streets of cities across Yemen on Monday to press the embattled president to step down after he balked at signing a deal by Arab mediators to end the impoverished nation’s spiraling political crisis.

Security forces fired gunshots to disperse a crowd of protesters in the southern city of Aden, killing a bystander watching the march from his balcony, activist Wady al-Shaabi said. A woman on the street was hit in the shoulder and injured.

A deal for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down appeared close to collapse after he said over the weekend he would have close aides sign it rather than doing so himself, leaving a deadlock that threatens to plunge the nation deeper into disorder and bloodshed.

At least 140 people have been killed in the government’s crackdown on the protesters, who have nonetheless grown in number week after week.

— FROM WIRE SERVICE REPORTS

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