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AROUND THE NATION

Mikulski set to reach milestone in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski will become the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Senate when she is sworn in for her fifth term next week.

Mikulski, a 74-year-old Democrat, first won her Senate seat in 1986. Wednesday, Mikulski will break the record of the late Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who represented Maine in the Senate for 24 years.

Mikulski has long been known as the dean of Democratic women in the Senate and a leader on women's issues.

Not until 1992 did Senate membership include more than two female senators at a time. Mikulski knows what it was like to be one of only two, and she has relished the growing number of women beside her over the years.

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Reading wife's e-mail results in felony charge

DETROIT (AP) -- A Rochester Hills man faces up to 5 years in prison -- for reading his wife's e-mail.

Oakland County prosecutors, relying on a Michigan statute typically used to prosecute crimes such as identity theft or stealing trade secrets, have charged Leon Walker, 33, with a felony after he logged onto a laptop in the home he shared with his wife, Clara Walker.

Using her password, he accessed her Gmail account and learned she was having an affair. He now is facing a Feb. 7 trial. She filed for divorce, which was finalized earlier this month.

Legal experts say it's the first time the statute has been used in a domestic case, and it might be hard to prove.

About 45 percent of divorce cases involve some snooping -- and gathering -- of e-mail, Facebook and other online material, said Frederick Lane, a Vermont attorney and nationally recognized expert who has published five books on electronic privacy.

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Miller to continue with election challenge

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller announced late Sunday that he would continue his challenge in federal court of the write-in election of rival Sen. Lisa Murkowski but added that he would not oppose certification of Murkowski's victory by state election officials.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline, who is hearing Miller's federal challenge, had already said he would probably lift his order staying certification, allowing Murkowski to assume office Jan. 5 without losing seniority or leaving the state short a U.S. senator. Miller said he planned to go ahead with his federal lawsuit "for the sake of the integrity of the election."

Miller initially challenged the Nov. 2 election in federal court, but Beistline ruled he had to go to state court first. Miller lost in State Superior Court, and the Alaska Supreme Court unanimously declared last week that the Superior Court had ruled correctly.

Among Miller's issues is his assertion that state law requires write-in voters to spell Murkowski's name perfectly. The Alaska Supreme Court disagreed.

-- McClatchy Newspapers

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