U.S.: Libya must domore to end sanctions
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration said Wednesday that the United States would not lift sanctions against Libya based solely on its government's offer of $2.7 billion as compensation for the 270 people killed in the midair bombing in 1988 of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
But Secretary of State Colin L. Powell called reports of the proposal a move forward and said the United States would examine the offer once it is made and the terms are relayed to Washington.
"Just reading press accounts of what has been said about the offer, it certainly is a step in the right direction, but I don't think it resolves the entire issue, resolves all the outstanding issues that have to be dealt with respect to Libya and Pan Am 103," Powell said after a meeting with Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr al Qerbi.
Earlier Wednesday, the State Department called the Libyan offer of $10 million for each victim a "highly significant factor" in determining whether Libya meets the demand for compensation, one of four conditions imposed by the United Nations and the United States to lift a variety of economic, travel, arms and other embargoes against the government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
Federal jury awardsdamages to fired nurse
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- A federal jury ordered a county public health clinic to pay $47,000 in damages to a born-again Christian nurse who was fired after she refused to give patients "morning-after" pills.
The decision by the eight-member jury was reached Friday but announced this week. It awarded $19,000 in back pay and more than $28,000 in damages for emotional distress to 28-year-old Michelle Diaz, who said dispensing "morning-after" contraceptive pills violated her religious beliefs.
The jury found that firing Diaz violated her constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of religion.
County officials plan to ask U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips to set aside the jury verdict.
They argue that Diaz was still a probationary employee in June 1999 when clinic officials learned she was telling other nurses who worked at the Riverside Neighborhood Health Center that they would be required to perform abortions.
Chinese press exposesdeadly mine disaster
BEIJING -- Chinese authorities have recovered 18 bodies from a coal mine whose owner tried literally to whitewash their deaths, state media and government officials said today.
While his workers were trapped in the flooded and blasted-out shaft, owner Zhang Shunhe was above ground hiding the burned body of one dead miner, destroying employee records and using white paint to conceal burn marks at the mine's entrance, the state newspaper China Daily said.
The scandal is the latest example of malfeasance in China's notoriously unsafe and badly regulated mining industry, where cover-ups are common. More than 5,000 workers were killed in Chinese coal mine accidents last year. Another 329 died last month alone.
Despite close ties with the government, Chinese press is playing a growing role in exposing mine disasters like the one reported today.
Satirical magazine folds
LONDON -- The British satirical magazine Punch, first founded in 1841 and revived after a four-year gap in 1996, is ceasing publication again after serious financial losses.
Mohamed al Fayed, owner of the Harrods department store, said Wednesday that he was closing the publication he brought back to life in 1996.
The original Punch had shut down in 1992 after more than a century and a half of publishing irreverent humor.
"I have done everything in my power to keep Punch alive by pumping in massive amounts of cash," al Fayed said. "But as a businessman, sometimes the head has to triumph over the heart and it is therefore with great regret that I have decided to close."
The first edition of the original Punch was published on July 17, 1841, and the magazine developed a reputation for satire.