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In brief: Rumsfeld lawsuit 'okay'

A court said two Americans who worked for an Iraqi contracting firm can move forward with a lawsuit accusing former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of being responsible for US forces allegedly torturing them.

The ruling from the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago rejects arguments that Mr Rumsfeld should be immune from such lawsuits for work performed as a cabinet secretary.

Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel claim they were tortured in 2006 after blowing the whistle on alleged illegal activities by the contracting company.



Unabomber victim payouts

A federal judge in Sacramento has approved the payment of $232,000 (¤162,600) to the victims and survivors of Theodore Kaczynski, a sum raised through a court-ordered auction of the Unabomber's tools and other possessions.

The Sacramento Bee reported that US District Judge Garland Burrell last week ordered the funds dispersed among two widows of men killed by Kaczynski, the wife of a man severely injured and an injured computer store worker.



Baby joy for lesbian minister

A senior government minister in Australia has announced that her lesbian partner is pregnant.

Finance Minister Penny Wong said in a statement today that her partner, Sophie Allouache, had conceived through in-vitro fertilisation and is expecting her first child in December.

The announcement comes as pressure mounts on prime minister Julia Gillard to support overturning her centre-left Labour Party's ban on gay marriage.



Jackson art on hospital walls

Sketches by Michael Jackson as well as a signed portrait of the entertainer will decorate the walls of Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Jackson's three children -- Prince, Paris and Blanket -- were on hand to unveil the donated artwork.

They include a dozen sketches drawn and signed by Jackson and a photographed portrait of him.


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