National and world briefs

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 12:32 a.m.

Court rejects thousands of WWII POWs' lawsuits

  • SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court dismissed thousands of lawsuits Tuesday brought by World War II prisoners of war who alleged they were enslaved by Japanese and German companies.
    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld lower court rulings that said treaties signed by the United States barred prisoners from seeking restitution from companies accused of forcing them to work in mines, dig roads and perform other duties more than 50 years ago.
    The appeals court, in striking down a 1999 California law granting former POWs the right to sue, said using American courts to seek restitution would be contrary to U.S. foreign policy.

    U.S. general: Pilots in friendly fire "reckless"

  • BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. - The two U.S. pilots who mistakenly killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan last year showed a "reckless disregard" for standing orders by attacking instead of continuing on their way, an Air Force general testified Tuesday.
    Brig. Gen. Stephen Sargeant, who headed the investigation into the bombing, said the pilots failed to follow procedure by not communicating about gunfire they had spotted on the ground. At an altitude of more than 15,000 feet, the pilots were not in range of the gunfire, he said.

    Top telecom official to revise disclosure

  • WASHINGTON - The Bush administration's top telecommunications official will revise her financial disclosure form to include a previously undisclosed 2001 reception in her honor that lobbyists helped pay for, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
    The decision came one day after The Associated Press disclosed that Nancy Victory let wireless phone company lobbyists help pay for the party at her home on Oct. 14, 2001. Just 10 days later, Victory urged immediate repeal of restrictions that wireless companies had been complaining about for years.

    Bush to increase aid for math, science teachers

  • WASHINGTON - President Bush wants to more than triple the aid offered to college graduates who agree to teach math, science and special education classes in poor schools, enough for many to wipe out their federal student loans.
    Bush's coming budget proposal would forgive up to $17,500 in debt for teachers who enter fields known for chronic teacher shortages and fast turnover. Current law allows teachers in poor areas to have $5,000 in loans erased if they work for five consecutive years.

    Barge with fuel oil sinks a mile off Spain's coast

  • MADRID, Spain - A barge loaded with nearly 270,000 gallons of light fuel oil sank Tuesday a mile off Spain's southern coast, threatening more ecological damage even as workers continued clean up a catastrophic oil spill in the north.
    The Spabunker IV developed a leak in stormy weather in Algeciras Bay near Gibraltar, officials said.
    - Compiled from The Associated Press
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