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The Blue & Gray Press | November 20, 2017

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Outside the Fence

By HEATHER BRADY

Regional
Stafford County Resident Paul Gregory Chapman, 38, was acquitted earlier this month after a jury trial in the Stafford Circuit Court for charges of attempted rape, taking indecent liberties with a child, aggravated sexual battery, and abduction with the intent to defile. The 10-year-old girl claiming to be the victim was the key witness at the trial. Police were called after the girl reported Chapman’s supposed attack to a guidance counselor at Brock Road Elementary School. Although cleared on the above charges, Chapman will remain in the Rappahannock Regional jail pending a Dec. 9 trial in Stafford on 10 charges of reproducing child pornography. Defense Attorney Price Koch says he feels confident that Chapman will be acquitted of those charges as well. (The Free Lance-Star, Oct. 22; www.fredericksburg.com)

National
Several major U.S. banks are leaning towards spending a portion of their federal rescue money on acquiring other financial terms rather than for issuing new loans, the primary purpose of the government’s $250 billion initiative. These banks include J.P. Morgan Chase, BB&T, and Zions Bancorporation along with about 10 other financial institutions belonging to the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents 10 of the nation’s largest financial services firms. The firms, which are in a healthy financial state, have all said that they are considering using some of their federal money to buy banks in jeopardy of failing. There is a growing consensus among Treasury and other federal officials that this could stabilize the economy and bolster confidence in banks while saving money for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. (The Washington Post, Oct. 22; www.washingtonpost.com)

Global
An ancient trade route across a disputed frontier between India and Pakistan in the Himalayan region of Kashmir reopened on Tuesday. The 106- mile road had been shut down when the two countries gained independence 61 years ago. Its reopening is seen as another tentative step by the two governments toward building peace in the disputed Kashmir region. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the region, coming close to a third one in 2002. For many people, the road is seen as a potential economic boost after weeks of massive street protests calling on India to open the border to Pakistan for trade. Critics are cautious, however, about declaring the road’s opening a victory, since trade regulations are so restrictive and since non-traders are not allowed to freely cross the border. (The Washington Post, Oct. 22; www.washingtonpost.com)