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AROUND THE NATION

Holder gives update on surveillance review

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Months after receiving complaints about the New York Police Department's surveillance of entire American Muslim neighborhoods, the Justice Department is just beginning a review to decide whether to investigate civil rights violations.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told Congress the status of the review Tuesday. The announcement bothered some Democrats, who said they were under the impression the Justice Department had been reviewing the matter since late last year.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that the NYPD has built databases pinpointing where Muslims live, worship and shop. The NYPD surveillance extended outside New York City to colleges across the Northeast, including the University at Buffalo.

Holder did not suggest that a Justice Department investigation of the NYPD was imminent. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., one of the first lawmakers to ask the Justice Department to scrutinize the NYPD's operations, said he was given the impression from Justice officials "that they were farther along in their investigation "

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Judge blocks mandate on cigarette images

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A judge Wednesday blocked a federal requirement that would have begun forcing U.S. tobacco companies to put large graphic images on their cigarette packages later this year to show the dangers of smoking and encouraging smokers to quit.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled the federal mandate to put the images, which include a sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs, on cigarette packs violates the free-speech amendment to the Constitution.

Some of the largest U.S. tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., had questioned the constitutionality of the labels, saying the warnings don't simply convey facts to inform people's decision but instead force the cigarette makers to display government anti-smoking advocacy more prominently than their own branding.

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Adoptive father held in rape of 3 children

TROY, Ohio (AP) -- An adoptive father in western Ohio has been accused of raping three children and allowing other men to have sex with one of them, allegations that a family services official Wednesday called "heinous."

The 39-year-old man was being held on $800,000 bond on three counts of rape and one of compelling prostitution. A message left for the County Public Defender's Office, which is representing him, wasn't immediately returned. The Associated Press is withholding the man's name to protect the children's identities. The man was jailed Friday. He lives in Troy, a city of some 25,000 people about 20 miles from Dayton.

The Dayton Daily News reported earlier that the man had adopted three children and was in the process of adopting a fourth who lived with him.

Troy police said one boy, age 10, told them two other men besides the suspect had sex with him. The children include three boys and a 9-year-old girl.