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web posted April 30, 2001

Cell phones to have location-tracking by 2005

Cell-phone manufacturers are under a federal mandate to equip mobiles with location-tracking technology beginning this October. By 2005, 95 percent of all cell phones must be able to be traced with an accuracy of about 1,000 feet or better.

While such phones could be lifesavers in an emergency, the order from the Federal Communications Commission has raised serious questions about invasion of privacy.

"For most people, it’s a very scary proposition that the government can use not only your mobile phone but your Palm Pilots ... and any other mobile device to track your every movement," said attorney Albert Gidari, of the Perkins and Coie law firm in Seattle.

Making mobile phones capable of tracking users' locations will involve planting GPS chips in the handsets or installing new infrastructure in cell sites.

Cellular providers plan commercial uses for the technology, such as getting directions if someone is lost, finding nearby restaurants or locating family members and friends who have gotten separated in a crowd.

"Wireless operators already know where consumers are by virtue of the fact that the phone is on," pointed out Ken Arneson, the chief strategy officer at Telecommunication Systems, a provider of the location-tracking technology. "What’s different here is that now carriers are looking to commercialize that and need to do that to offset the cost of putting this technology in place."

He estimated that it could cost billions of dollars to outfit the 110 million cell phones in this country with the tracking mechanism.

Some worry the technology will be used in other ways, with providers selling information to merchants or worse: stalkers or abusive relatives.

"If the fundamental principles of privacy aren’t in place, there will be a revolt against the widespread use of the technology," Gidari said.

Arneson said the privacy issue is being taken seriously and is one of the chief considerations in going forward with installing the technology.

"We as a company believe that there will be privacy solutions in place ... that essentially allow consumers to opt in and opt out of these various services," Arneson said. "Privacy is an enormous concern."

U.S. official: Taiwan arms sale will address imbalance

President Bush has decided to deny, for now, Taiwan's request for four Arleigh Burke destroyers equipped with state-of the-art Aegis radar system.

But the administration approved a package of military technology and weapons systems that would, in a "measured" way, address a regional military balance that had "tilted in the People's Republic of China's favor in a dangerous way," a senior White House official said April 23.

George W. BushBush told senior aides he would revisit the Aegis issue in a year or two, and would be inclined to approve such a sale if China continues to add to a 300-strong arsenal of ballistic missiles pointed toward Taiwan.

A Taiwanese delegation received official word of the proposed package at the Pentagon. It includes four older, Kidd-class destroyers, submarines, sub-hunting aircraft, advanced torpedoes and missiles, several White House and congressional sources said.

A senior White House official said the president deferred the decision on the Aegis because there was a consensus among members of the national security team that the Kidd destroyers would quickly upgrade Taiwan's capabilities.

Aegis destroyers could not have been delivered before 2010 -- seven years after the target date for delivering the Kidd destroyers.

The official described a carrot-and-stick approach, under which Bush would revisit the issue if the Chinese missile buildup continues. U.S. officials say China is adding roughly 50 short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles per year to its current arsenal of about 300.

The senior White House official called the package "balanced" and said, "there is nothing in this package for the PRC to fear." Still, the official said U.S. officials thought it necessary to take significant steps to improve Taiwan's security because of an imbalance "caused by the PRC" and its recent military buildup.

China had promised dire consequences if the United States sold the Aegis system to Taiwan. Beijing also considers submarines to be offensive weapons and therefore, in its view, not covered by terms of the Taiwan Relations Act that pledges U.S. support for the island democracy's defenses.

Despite media reports, Arctic sea ice probably not melting: new research

A Canadian scientist is pouring cold, unfrozen water on the notion that global warming is melting arctic sea ice like a Popsicle at the beach.

Greg Holloway galvanized an international meeting of arctic scientists on April 24 by saying there is little evidence of a rapid decline of the volume of ice in the northern oceans.

Despite breathless media reports and speculation of an ice-free Northwest Passage, he suggests that it's far more likely that the ice has just been moved around in the cycles of Arctic winds.

"It's more complicated than we thought," said Holloway, a scientist with the Institute of Ocean Science in Victoria.

The original theory was based on declassified records from the trips of U.S. submarines under the ice.

Satellite pictures have clearly shown that the surface area of the ice has decreased about three per cent a year for the last 20 years.

But the question was, How thick was it?

The submarine data generated headlines and cover stories from the New York Times to Time Magazine when it seemed to indicate that ice volume had decreased by 43 per cent between 1958 and 1997.

The evidence seemed good. There were only eight different voyages, but they had generated 29 different locations across the central Arctic where there were enough readings to make comparisons.

Holloway, however, couldn't make that conclusion jibe with any of his computer models.

"We couldn't understand how the reduction could be so rapid," he said.

"My first thought was, What is it we don't understand?"

Holloway knew that there was a regular pattern of sea ice being blown into the North Atlantic. He decided to examine if the wind patterns across the circumpolar North could have had something to do with the missing ice.

Wind patterns blow across the Arctic in a 50-year cycle.

At different points in the cycle, ice tends to cluster in the centre of the Arctic. At other points, the ice is blown out to the margins along the Canadian shorelines, where the subs were not allowed to go because of sovereignty concerns.

When Holloway lined up the submarine visits with what he knew about the wind cycles, the explanation for the missing ice became clear: "The submarine sampled ice during a time of oscillation of ice toward the centre of the Arctic. They went back during a time when ice was oscillating to the Canadian side."

Holloway had found the missing ice.

"I believe it is most probably explained with the shifting ice within the Arctic locations," he said to applause from scientific delegates from Norway to China.

If the submarines had made their first visit one year earlier and their return one year later, Holloway says they would have found no change in the thickness of the sea ice at all.

Holloway cautions that his research doesn't force a total re-evaluation of the theory of global warming. Temperatures on average are rising around the world, he says.

It does, however, deflate excitement about the possibility of an ice-free Northwest Passage.

The chance of a year-round northern shipping route has thrilled commercial shippers, worried environmentalists, and concerned those worried about Canada's ability to enforce sovereignty in those waters.

"At this time, we do not have the basis to predict an open Northwest Passage," said Holloway.

It also calls into question some of the findings and recommendations of the International Panel on Climate Change, which accepted the 43 per cent hypothesis in its report to various governments.

More data is coming in as further reports from American and British submarines are released. But the furore over the first results contains a lesson for both scientists and the public, Holloway says.

"It's a very small amount of time and a very limited number of places those submarines could go," he said.

"The cautionary tale to all this is the undersimplifying of a big and complex system."

"Who know what's going on out there?"

Danforth disputes new criticism of his Waco report

Former Missouri Sen. John C. Danforth issued a blistering rebuke of charges by a Washington-based think tank that he botched his investigation of the FBI's 1993 attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and that the attack was "criminally reckless" in its use of force against the sect.

In a statement issued by his office, Danforth said the study — published by the libertarian Cato Institute and written by Thomas Lynch, director of the institute's Project on Criminal Justice — offered no new information. Danforth reiterated his initial conclusion exonerating the government and placing the blame for the incident on sect leader David Koresh.

"Based on a 14-month investigation, I am 100 percent certain that on April 19, 1993, the government did not set fire to the Branch Davidian complex, did not direct gunfire at the Branch Davidians and did not illegally use the military in a civilian law enforcement operation," Danforth said in the statement.

But the Cato study calls Danforth's investigation "soft and incomplete" and says his "sweeping exoneration of federal officials is not supported by the factual record."

The study alleges that a series of crimes and possible crimes by federal agents were never seriously investigated or prosecuted, and that the government was "criminally reckless" in its use of force against the sect.

"I was hopeful that when Sen. Danforth was appointed Special Counsel he would do a thorough investigation," Lynch said. But the report contained too many "lapses and things glossed over," he said.

The study also disputes Danforth's conclusion that Koresh, who died in a fire inside the group's Mt. Carmel compound along with 75 others during the 51-day standoff, was wholly to blame.

According to Danforth's investigation, Koresh shot and killed four federal agents and wounded 20 others; directed gunfire at FBI agents; spread fuel and set fire to the complex; and shot to death five children and stabbed to death one more.

"I do not agree with Mr. Lynch that the shooting of federal agents, the setting fire to the complex and the shooting and stabbing [of] children constitutes only a 'share' of the responsibility," Danforth said.

Lynch claims agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assaulted a television cameraman and lied to federal investigators, and that FBI agents recklessly endangered human life when they fired tear gas and drove tanks into the Davidians' compound during the final day of a 51-day standoff.

Additionally, the report lists "conduct that warrants further investigation," which Lynch says could be the basis for criminal charges against federal agents and officials.

Among those charges, the report cites witness accounts and evidence that the Davidians were fired upon by National Guard helicopters which the FBI says were used only to distract the sect members during the April 19 advance on the compound. The report also claims that FBI agents fired on the Davidians on April 19. The FBI, and Danforth's report, have maintained that while agents fired hundreds of rounds of tear gas into the compound that day, they did not direct gunfire at the sect members.

The study says Danforth ignored independent expert analysis of the FBI's infrared aerial film of the incident that concluded flashes of light on the film were FBI gunfire. Experts hired by Danforth to examine the film concluded the flashes were reflections off debris on the ground. In his report, Danforth said he was "100 percent" certain that his experts were correct.

"What is disturbing to me is that the experts disagree on this and Danforth says 100-percent certainty," Lynch said. "That's a gross mistatement of the evidence, and another piece that casts doubt on his report."

Lynch also cites evidence suggesting that FBI recording devices planted inside Mt. Carmel had provided the FBI with advance warning of the Davidians' plans to start fires. The FBI has used these tapes since the incident as evidence that the Davidians, and not the FBI, started the fires. However, the FBI claims it did not have this evidence until after the siege when the quality of the tapes could be technologically enhanced. At the time of the assault, the FBI said it could not make out the audio on the tapes and did not know of the Davidians' plans to start fires.

But according to an interview given to the Dallas Morning News by U.S. Army Col. Rodney L. Rawlings, who was assisting the FBI during the raid, the voices of Koresh and other Davidians planning the fires could be clearly heard on the FBI bugging devices.

"You would think Danforth would be discussing [Rawlings'] allegations. It is an obvious lapse," Lynch said.

Finally, Lynch questions whether federal employees, including Attorney General Janet Reno, obstructed justice during various investigations into the incident.

After 51 days of the standoff, Reno approved an assault on the compound to force the Davidians from Mt. Carmel. Agents approached the compound in tanks, smashed holes in the walls and fired tear gas into the building. Hours later, fires said to have been set by the sect members broke out inside the compound and 76 Davidians, including 27 children and Koresh, died in the fires. Nine survived.

Lynch said that of all his allegations, the most serious were that the tear gas and tank assault against the compound — actions not in dispute by the FBI — were conducted without first identifying where the children were being held.

"It wasn't just David Koresh in the building. The government ... glosses over the fact that there were more than 70 people in there," Lynch said. "It amounts to criminally reckless conduct."

Schwarzenegger drops bid to run for governor

Arnold Schwarzenegger is opting out of the 2002 race to become California's governor, saying his film career and family have taken precedence over politics.

"I have to be selfish at this point ... and take care of those things," the 53-year-old actor told the Los Angeles Times. "The movie projects came together. ... I have to keep up my end of the deal. It's not like it could have gone this way or that."

He said that he was not abandoning the idea of running for office as a Republican, but was only postponing his plunge into politics until his four children, ages 3 to 11, are older, the Times said April 25.

The Austrian-born former bodybuilder shares moderate views on gun control and abortion rights that match those of most California voters.

Schwarzenegger, whose film credits include "Pumping Iron," "Total Recall" and "End of Days," has two film projects in the works. He said he will focus on finishing a sequel to "True Lies" and production will begin later this year on "Terminator III."

Republican Secretary of State Bill Jones already has declared his candidacy and William E. Simon Jr., a Los Angeles investment banker, also is considering seeking the GOP nomination.

Incumbent Democrat Gray Davis, who likely will seek a second term, so far faces no serious threat from within his party.

President Bush says U.S. would use military force to defend Taiwan

President George W. Bush said April 25 that U.S. military force is "certainly an option" if China invades Taiwan.

The president also cautioned Taiwan not to provoke an attack by declaring independence from Beijing. "I would certainly hope that Taiwan would not do such a thing," Bush said in an interview with The Associated Press. Bush conducted a series of interview with media organization on the heels of China's detention of 24 U.S. airmen and his decision to sell arms to Taiwan.

His remarks on Taiwan were an unusually blunt warning to China that the United States is willing to use its military might to uphold the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.

That law requires Washington to provide Taiwan with "such defence articles and defence services . . . as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defence capability."

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland. Bush's predecessors have avoided saying just how far the United States would go to comply with the 1979 act.

Asked if he was willing to use military force if China attacked Taiwan, Bush said: "It's certainly an option."

He did not directly respond when asked if his position would change in the event that Taiwan declares independence.

"I will certainly hope that Taiwan would not do such," Bush said. "Our policy is a one-China policy - that the two nations can resolve their disputes peacefully. And we need to work with the Taiwanese so that does not occur - the breach of the one-China policy."

Asked again if military force is an option, Bush said, "It's certainly an option. . . . The Chinese have got to understand that is clearly an option."

The president's comments were somewhat modified from an interview broadcast earlier in the day on ABC's Good Morning America.

In that interview, he was asked if the United States has an obligation to defend Taiwan. "Yes, we do, and the Chinese must understand that," he said.

With the full force of the U.S. military? "Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself," Bush replied without elaboration.

For decades, U.S. administrations have been purposely vague on whether the United States would actually go to war with China over Taiwan, as opposed to arming Taiwan well enough to enable the island to defend itself.

The most recent use of the U.S. military in defence of Taiwan was in 1996, when then-president Bill Clinton sent warships into the region after China began shelling in the direction of the island.

Canada still home to Big Mother. Ottawa to ban smoking in public

Ottawa is about to become the largest 100 per cent smoke-free city in Canada.

At a meeting at city hall on April 25, councillors unanimously voted in favour of a sweeping smoking ban that prohibits lighting up in all public places starting Aug. 1.

"We've made public health history here in Ottawa today," said medical officer of health Dr. Robert Cushman, the man who drafted the new bylaw. "This rivals the work that was done on safe water in the 1920s and is akin to the polio vaccines coming to town in the 1950s."

The policy -- one of only three in existence in municipalities across the country -- completely bans smoking in all public places, including bars, restaurants, bingo halls, bowling alleys, service clubs, taxis, limousines and charity casinos.

The only other areas in Canada to have such strict smoking policies are the Region of Waterloo and the city of Victoria, B.C.

Violators will receive warnings for the first month, with actual fines being doled out starting Sept. 4.

The province will set the fine amount, but city staff will recommend that first-time offenders receive tickets in the $200 range. Repeat offenders could be fined up to $5,000.

"The vote today reflects the feeling in our community," said Mayor Bob Chiarelli. "People don't want other people's dirty smoke down their lungs to do health damage to them and their families."

But bars and pubs, whose owners believe they will lose money from the bylaw. Jill Scott of the Byward Association for Responsible Service said the city could be faced with a class-action suit.

"We do feel this will affect our businesses, we are going to lose revenue and for the small businesses I'm not sure they can hold out," she said.

"They have the choice where they can pay into a legal campaign against it. So we have to go back and see which path they want to take."

During the 90-minute debate, councillors rejected a call to exempt certain establishments, including all bars, Royal Canadian Legion halls and the Rideau Carleton Raceway.

"When I talk to some businesses out there, there's fear in their eyes," said Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess, who had wanted a two-year phase-in period for the policy.

Castro 'trapped in time warp', Powell

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says Cuban President Fidel Castro has done some good things for the Cuban people but is "trapped in a time warp" and the United States will continue to shun him politically and diplomatically.

Addressing a House appropriations subcommittee hearing on April 26, Powell called Castro an anachronism, a fading star" who does not give the United States good reason to deal with him.

"He's done good things for his people," Powell told Representative Jose Serrano (D - N.Y.) who called the embargo of Cuba senseless.

Powell said Castro fomented revolutions and insurgencies for most of his 42 years in power, "but he is no longer the threat he was."

Powell's response to Serrano, who praised Castro for high literacy in Cuba and exporting physicians to other countries, was the first time even faint praise was accorded the Cuban president by a senior U.S. official since relations were severed in 1961 and the United States set out on a campaign to isolate Cuba economically and politically.

Many U.S. allies, including Canada, disagree with the United States and have trade relations with Cuba. However, Powell told the subcommittee that well-meaning companies from places like Canada that try to invest in Cuba get burned.

The Bush administration's policy, Powell said, is to try to "get around him and his regime and touch the people, with travel and some funds going back and forth."

"But when you try to deal with that regime, it is more likely than not to take advantage of anything you might want to do with him," Powell said.

Successive U.S. administrations have sought to isolate Cuba economically and politically. Castro, however, has managed to hang on. For years he relied on the financial support of the Soviet Union.

Powell has described Castro as "an aging starlet" and said on several occasions he supports the U.S. embargo on Cuba. He gave no indication of any plan to alter the embargo policy in his testimony.

"That policy makes no sense," Serrano told Powell, who sat impassively in the witness chair.

"It is a country that has not done any harm to us," Serrano said. "Why China and why not Cuba?"

The United States has diplomatic relations with China and Vietnam, had relations with the Soviet Union and negotiated with North Korea, Serrano said.

Instead of trying to guide Cuba toward democracy and a better economy, the United States refuses to deal with Castro, Serrano said. "It is bad for them and it is bad for us."

He suggested that U.S. policy is guided by sentiments in Dade County, Fla., which is home to tens of thousands of Cuban emigres who are hotly opposed to Castro and his government.

Feds warn of May Day attacks on U.S. Web sites

Federal authorities warn that U.S. Web sites and e-mail servers are coming under an increasing number of attacks and that the malicious hacking could escalate in the next few days because of upcoming memorial days in China.

The recent tension between the United States and China was cited by the National Infrastructure Protection Center when it issued the warning April 26.

The NIPC Web site also said Chinese hackers have publicly discussed stepping up their efforts from April 30 through May 7. That time period includes dates of historic significance to the People's Republic of China.

The agency warned networks and system administrators to closely monitor their Web sites and mail services during that period.

Federal investigators have linked an Internet worm named "Lion" to China. The worm is infecting computers and installing denial of service tools on various systems.

The worm sends password files from the victim site to an e-mail address located in China, authorities said.

Some of the attacks earlier this month on U.S. sites were apparently sparked by the United States spy plane crisis in China.

Hackers have showered U.S. government and business Web sites with eulogies for the downed Chinese fighter pilot, denouncements of imperialism and crude references.

One of the attack victims said that vandalism appeared to have originated in China.

"We discovered that the home page on one of our sites had been replaced with a posting of a Chinese flag with some rhetoric in Chinese and English," said Dan Olasin, president of Intelligent Direct.

The map-selling company uses the Dell Computers site-hosting service, which helped trace the hackers to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in China, Olasin said. Intelligent Direct has since solved the problem by having Dell rebuild its server.

Hackers identifying themselves as members of the Hacker Union of China took credit for at least one attack.

Hack of Iplexmarin.comThe defaced site was that of Iplexmarin.com, based in California. The site was covered in Chinese flags, political slogans in Chinese and English and photographs of the missing Chinese pilot Wang Wei.

Wang crashed and presumably died after his fighter jet collided with a U.S. spy plane off the coast of China on April 1.

"As we are Chinese, we love our motherland and its people deeply. We are so indignant about the intrusion from the imperialism. The only thing we could say is that, when we are needed, we are ready to devote anything to our motherland, even including our lives," the posting read.

A Web page hosting the Hackers Union of China posted a list of 10 Web sites hacked in memory of the missing pilot. The Hackers Union refers to itself an a "network security organization" on its Web site, cnhonker.com.

According to a Washington Post report, other targeted sites included two maintained by the U.S. Navy, although neither was militarily critical.

Ashcroft: No more money for tobacco foes

Attorney General John Ashcroft said April 26 he doesn't plan to ask for extra money to support the government's lawsuit against tobacco companies, despite a request from Justice Department lawyers for an additional $57 million.

Ashcroft, in his first appearance before Congress as attorney general, denied that he was planning to drop the lawsuit or transfer lawyers off the case. "I have not made any indication about any reassignment of any attorneys," Ashcroft told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee. "I have not made a decision about the case."

The Bush administration has requested $1.8 million to pay salaries and staff costs for the tobacco litigation team in the department's civil division, Justice Department officials say. Department budget writers did not seek money for legal work, such as gathering and analyzing millions of documents that tobacco companies have asked to see, leading critics to wonder whether the litigation is being abandoned.

The day before President Bush expressed reservations about continuing the lawsuit, opposed by Republicans and members of Congress from tobacco-producing states. He said he has not decided whether to drop the suit.

Senators who favor the litigation immediately wrote letters to Ashcroft asking him to keep after the tobacco companies.

"The tobacco industry continues to evade its responsibility for its actions," said Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dick Durbin of Illinois in a letter to Ashcroft. "We should not compound the damage by relinquishing our federal responsibility to enforce the law and protect the citizens of this nation."

In a March 12 memo from department lawyers to Ashcroft, the lawyers estimated they need more than $57 million this year to keep working on the case, The Washington Post reported.

But Ashcroft said he would stick to the original $1.8 million, the same funding request that Congress received from former Attorney General Janet Reno for 2001 and 2002.

"The Department of Justice is proceeding with the case and I support the department's position," Ashcroft said. "I think we have made the right kind of request. It has the same, identical structure which my predecessor had asked for in appropriations. So the capacity to proceed with the case exists at the department in the same way it would have in the previous settings, and as it would have had the election been different."

Ashcroft found a supporter in Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., who said $57 million was too much for the government to add in. "They are incompetent if they think it takes that much money to make a case," Hollings said.

Congress has previously redirected $11 million from other federal agencies to pay for the litigation and can do the same this year, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.

McVeigh says he thought of killing Reno

Timothy McVeigh said he considered assassinating former attorney general Janet Reno and others instead of bombing the Oklahoma City federal building to retaliate against the government.

McVeigh said "eligible" targets included Reno, "making her accept 'full responsibility' in deed, not just word," for the deaths that resulted from the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex. The comments were made in a letter to Fox News that was released April 26.

Other targets included U.S. District Judge Walter Smith, who presided over the Waco trial, and Lon Horiuchi, an FBI agent involved in a shootout at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

McVeigh, 33, is to be executed by injection on May 16 for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168.

New York gun ruling to have national impact

A ruling by the state's top court that gun manufacturers cannot be held liable for shooting deaths and injuries is certain to have an impact dozens of such cases nationwide, lawyers for both sides say.

The Court of Appeals made the ruling April 27 in the case of seven shooting victims, including a Queens teen-ager's family that is now almost certain to have a $4 million federal court judgment thrown out. The court decided that gun makers cannot be held liable because of the supposedly negligent way the weapons were marketed and distributed.

Gun makers said the unanimous decision will set a precedent for judges across the country hearing about three dozen similar cases.

"It's an important decision, both from the standpoint of New York state law and from the standpoint of national litigation raising similar issues," said Lawrence Greenwald, a Baltimore lawyer who represented gun makers Beretta USA and American Arms.

But lawyers for the victims said the decision presents attorneys with a blueprint on how to successfully pursue other cases along the same legal grounds.

"We didn't reach the destination today, but the decision gives us guidance how to get there," said lawyer Marc Elovitz, who represented the Fox family."It was a road map and not a dead end."

Fox and the relatives of six people killed by handguns won a verdict against gun makers in federal court in Brooklyn in 1999. Fox was permanently disabled when he was shot by a friend.

Three gun makers -- Beretta USA, American Arms and Taurus International Manufacturing -- were assessed damages of up to $272,000.

Gun makers were found liable in the six other instances, but no monetary damages were awarded in those cases.

The federal appeals court reviewing the verdicts at the urging of the manufacturers had asked the state Court of Appeals whether New York state laws support the finding of negligence in such a gun violence case.

Writing for the court, Judge Richard Wesley said lawyers for the gunshot victims alluded to"broad" and"general" ways that gun manufacturers are liable for handgun injuries, but they failed to show specifically how their sales and marketing led to their guns getting into the wrong hands.

A"more tangible" direct link is needed to show how the gun makers contributed to the injuries of gunshot victims and that the manufacturers"were realistically in a position to prevent the wrongs," Wesley wrote.

Wesley explicitly ended his ruling by noting that a different marketing negligence claim involving a different set of circumstances might well win the next time around.

Chicago and Bridgeport, Conn., are among about two dozen municipalities that have sued gun manufacturers over the cost of crimes and injuries caused by handguns. In addition, about 10 shooting victims or their survivors are pursuing negligence suits against gun makers, Greenwald said.

Jesse Jackson sued for child-support payments

The mother of the Rev. Jesse Jackson's out-of-wedlock child has filed a lawsuit seeking child-support payments and visitation arrangements.

Karin Stanford filed the lawsuit about two weeks ago in Los Angeles after unsuccessful negotiations with the civil rights leader and his attorneys, said Stanford's spokeswoman Michelle Jordan.

Jackson insists he and Stanford are not at odds.

"The process of resolving the settlement is ongoing. There is no contest," Jackson told the Chicago Tribune.

Though there is no formalized agreement, Jackson previously has said he pays Stanford $3,000 a month in child support.

Jackson's attorney, Willie Gary, said details of a settlement have been worked out with Stanford's attorneys. It requires Jackson to increase payments to $4,000 a month, establish a college fund and take out a life insurance policy for the child.

But Jordan said late April 27, "There is no agreement on the table. The negotiations are ongoing."

Jackson, 59, said in January he is the father of Stanford's child. Stanford, 39, is a former Jackson aide who worked in the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's Washington office, but now lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.

Stanford received $35,000 in relocation and severance fees from Jackson's Citizenship Education Fund, a tax-exempt non-profit organization.

Jordan said Jackson has not seen the toddler since the story broke in January. She said Stanford has been working for an agreement with Jackson for at least one year.

A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for May 9 in Los Angeles Family Court.

Bush suspends another Clinton midnight regulation

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman has agreed to review Clinton-era regulations that directed forest managers to put ecosystem health above all other concerns.

The rules, issued in November, limited logging, skiing, hiking and other activities in national forests if forest managers believe those activities might permanently harm the ecosystem.

"This is a solid decision on a rule that was impossible to implement, overly complex, burdensome and expensive," said Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees forests. "Secretary Veneman's decision to revise these regulations is to be applauded."

A Forest Service report concluded that the rules were impossible to put in place successfully. It said the "ecological sustainability first" mandate is at odds with the reality that forests have ecological, economic and social uses, and is a significant departure from the agency's historic interpretation of its mission.

David Tenny, acting deputy undersecretary of the Agriculture Department, which oversees the Forest Service, wrote the Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth on April 25, directing him to develop a plan to modify parts of the planning rules and resolve the report's major concerns.

"The goal is to have a revised rule by the end of the calendar year," Tenny wrote.

The decision comes as the administration is also reviewing the Clinton administration's ban on road-building on a third of the country's national forests. Western Republicans and the timber industry have criticized policy as a sweeping mandate from Washington.

President Bush suspended the roadless rule, which should have gone into effect in March, until May 12 while his administration reviews the policy. The results of that review could come next week, when the Justice Department will file a brief in a lawsuit filed by the state of Idaho challenging the rules.

The Wilderness Society said the administration's decision to review the forest planning rules and the road-building ban is an "all-out assault" on the national forests.

The planning regulations "were developed over a three year period based upon the recommendations of a committee of scientists and very elaborate public involvement," said Mike Anderson, senior resource analyst for The Wilderness Society. "I am very suspicious."

Not all environmental groups agree. The Western Environmental Law Center, on behalf of a dozen conservation groups, filed a lawsuit in February in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California saying the planning rules gave the Forest Service too much freedom to manage its 192 million acres of forest land.

The overhaul of the regulations had been in the works since the first Bush administration. It was the first time in almost two decades the Forest Service changed the rules implementing the National Forest Management Act of 1976, a law that governs activities in federal forests.

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