Not-guilty plea in kidnappings, rapes

CLEVELAND - A man accused of holding three women captive for a decade pleaded not guilty Wednesday to nearly 1,000 counts of kidnap, rape and other crimes.

For the most part, Ariel Castro, 53, responded to the judge's questions with one-word answers as he faced charges that included 512 counts of kidnapping and 446 counts of rape.

Castro is scheduled for trial on Aug. 5, a date that could be delayed if the defense requests more preparation time. His legal team has hinted Castro would plead guilty if the death penalty was off the table.

District of Columbia

Delay on nominee to lead Labor is over

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted by the slimmest margin Wednesday to end a filibuster against President Obama's choice to head the Labor Department, as this week's agreement averting a poisonous partisan clash over nominations and the chamber's rules barely survived its toughest test so far.

By 60-40, senators rejected Republican objections and voted to halt delaying tactics aimed at killing Thomas Perez's nomination to become labor secretary.

It takes 60 votes to end filibusters. With all 52 Democrats and both Democratic-leaning independents voting to halt the delays, Republicans supplied the minimum number of votes needed to keep Perez's selection alive - six.

Votes on Gina McCarthy, Obama's choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, were also expected this week.

EPA HQ renamed for President Clinton

WASHINGTON - Former Clinton administration officials and congressional leaders packed into the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters Wednesday to mark the building's renaming in honor of former President Clinton.

"This is a very strong building, and Bill Clinton was a very strong president," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said as she welcomed guests to what is now the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building.

Clinton strongly defended his environmental legacy, saying his administration's efforts to promote clean air, conserve land, and combat dirty water made a big difference in Americans' lives.

New York

Rabbi impersonates officer again, cops say

WHITE PLAINS - A suburban New York rabbi has been arrested for the second time on a charge of impersonating a police officer.

Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski was accused last month of flashing a fake badge at a fellow motorist in Mamaroneck, just north of New York City. Police in White Plains on Wednesday accused him of doing the same thing there in May.

In both cases, other drivers alleged Borodowski seemed to be in a rage because he was behind them and wanted them to speed up.

A defense lawyer said Borodowski suffers from bipolar disorder.

The Associated Press