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The Billings Gazette from Billings, Montana • Page 3
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The Billings Gazette from Billings, Montana • Page 3

Billings, Montana
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NATION Tuesday, September 26, 2006 3A SUUngs (gazette Funds given for security projects Nearly $400 million awarded to protect ports, transit systems WASHINGTON (AP) The Bush administration doled out nearly $400 million Monday to help protect seaports, commuter trains and other transit systems from terrorists, boosting money to high-risk cities that saw funding cuts earlier this year. Major winners included New York City, which won $79.5 million to secure its port, subways, bus and rail systems up from $50 million in 2005. Losing cities that got no money for 2006 after being on the Homeland Security Department funding list last year included Memphis, and Tampa, Fla, which lost funds for ports. In all, the department distributed $399 million in grants up from $388 million last year to secure key buildings, transportation systems and other sites that might seem attractive targets for terrorists. The money follows a furor nearly four months ago after Homeland Security cut funding for New York and Washington, the two cities targeted on Sept. 11, 2001, by 40 percent. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the new round of department grants was given out based only on risk and should not be viewed as a competition to see which city gets the most money. "What we're trying to do is move away from looking at grants as if every year, it's a horse race, and let's see who wins each race for each grant," Chertoff told reporters in Washington. "If you want a horse race, go to Pimlico." But Chertoff said his department would take new steps to assure cities that future grant applications are understood and thoroughly discussed to prevent a similar outcry. The way Homeland Security announced the earlier grants for high-risk cities, awarded in May, "was not what it should have been," Chertoff said. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, said boosting funds for New York ports and rail systems hopefully reflected "a sign of things to come." If Homeland Security "is finally admitting that they shortchanged New Yorkers and are looking to make recompense, then that is all for the good," Schumer said. Associated Press Mount Rainier looms behind cranes and stacked cargo containers at the Port of Seattle. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it has granted more than $14 million to bolster security at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, as well as on rail, bus and ferry systems and around key pieces of infrastructure deemed likely to be terrorist targets. 4S-V 2'. 1 It v. Class-action suit against tobacco firms gets approved light' smokers claim they were duped NEW YORK (AP) In a blow to the tobacco industry, a federal judge ruled Monday that a jury should decide whether tobacco companies must pay tens of millions of smokers up to $200 billion for allegedly duping them into buying light cigarettes over the past three decades. The cigarette makers said they would appeal but their shares sank on Wall Street as the ruling granting class-action status to the case clouded what had appeared to be an improving legal environment for the industry. Altria Group the parent of the nation's largest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA said the ruling will delay its long-awaited restructuring plan, which includes a divestiture of its controlling stake in Kraft Foods Inc. In a conference call Monday, a top Altria attorney, William S. Ohlemeyer, said that a prerequisite to pursuing the company's restructuring plan is clarity in the overall litigation environment. Class-action granted His comments came only hours after U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein granted class -action status to a lawsuit against Marlboro maker Philip Morris USA, its biggest U.S. rival R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and other cigarette manufacturers. "The plaintiffs are entitled to the chance to prove their allegations," Weinstein said. The judge set a trial date of Jan. 22, 2007. The tobacco companies prefer trying each case on its own, saying circumstances vary widely from one person to another. "We obviously disagree with the ruling strongly," said Theodore Grossman, an attorney for Reynolds American RJ. Reynolds Tobacco division. Ohlemeyer, vice president and associate general counsel for Altria Group, had said manufacturers would "seek a stay of all trial court proceedings pending a decision by the appellate court" Associated Press Shawn Crawford places stuffed animals in front of an apartment in the John DeShields public housing complex Sunday in East St. Louis, near where three children were found murdered Saturday. The community turned to prayer Sunday in trying to understand the slaying of a pregnant mother whose fetus was cut from her womb and the deaths of her three children, found stuffed in their apartment's washer and dryer. Attacks 'maternal instinct run amok' Unrelated items delay defense bill Military pay raises, weapons spending part of package WASHINGTON (AP) House leaders are holding up action on a major defense bill, demanding that unrelated measures on immigration and court security be attached. The demand leaves uncertain whether Congress will pass the bill which authorizes military pay raises, weapons spending and research programs considered vital to national security before the budget year starts on Oct 1. Lawmakers are in a last-minute crush to pass several top-priority bills before leaving at the end of the week to campaign for the Nov. 7 midterm elections. The House and Senate last week were nearing a deal on the 2007 defense bill when House Speaker Dennis Hastert decided it should become a vehicle for the immigration and court security legislation. The House last week passed by a 328-95 vote legislation that would make it easier to detain and deport illegal and criminal immigrants in a bid to curb gang violence. The Senate in May passed a much broader immigration measure that also included provisions targeting immigrant gang members. Hastert, R-I1L, wants to attach the Senate's anti-gang provisions to the defense bill, along with a separate proposal boosting protection of judges after the family of a federal judge was killed in Chicago. According to Hastert's spokesman, Senate Republican leaders had promised to help pass the court-security legislation before Congress leaves town "The speaker will not move the bill unless these two security items are added to the measure," said Hastert's spokesman Ron Bonjean. Senate Democrats, including Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-I1L, support tightening court security. But the House-passed version, which would allow a judge to carry a concealed weapon, has cooled their support for the measure. Senate Democrats also oppose aspects of the immigration bill, which has drawn fire from immigration rights groups. "Hastert has chosen the last hour of the last week of the session to begin playing games with a bill that supports our troops," said Durbin's spokesman Joe Shoemaker. The House approved its defense authorization bill May 11; the Senate passed its version of the bill on June 22. Since then, the two sides have been working to resolve the differences in their bills. Late last week, the two sides were close to resolving the last major sticking point a House-backed provision that would lift policy restrictions on military chaplains when praying at secular events. The Senate opposed the measure. -V" -'7, Associated Press Krystal Pickett, 24, a cousin of murder victim Jimella Tunstall, reacts Saturday in East St. Louis, after she learned her cousin's three children were found dead. Rare crime dubbed 'newborn kidnapping byCaesarean section' By JEFF DONN Associated Press It's a crime so monstrous as to surpass comprehension. Yet its passion takes root in some of the most tender ground of human experience: pregnancy and motherhood. What drives a handful of women to slice open the bellies of others to steal their newborns? Researchers have uncovered hints. "You can describe it as sort of the maternal instinct run amok," says psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Resnick, who had written about this kind of crime. In East St. Louis, 111., an innocent plea was entered Monday for Tiffany Hall, a 24-year-old woman charged with killing a woman and her fetus; investigators believe she cut the mother open with a pair of scissors. Authorities say Hall also told police she drowned the woman's three other children. Such crimes are exceedingly rare in a country with more than 4 million births a year. Previously, only eight similar cases have been documented since 1987 by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Yet they are frequent enough to have acquired a clinical-sounding name: newborn kidnapping by Caesarean section. gled her, and delivered the baby with a set of car keys. She was sent to prison for at least 30 years when found guilty but mentally ill. The assaulted women nearly always die, sometimes bleeding to death. The attackers then claim the newborns as their own, even if only as stillborns to be buried. However, the newborns often live and eventually return to surviving family when the crime is solved. At least two attackers later killed themselves. Experts believe that the macabre surgery is strangely meant to fulfill a fantasy of really giving birth to the child. Sometimes it takes on the trappings of full-blown psychosis a delusion of being the birth mother. More often, though, the crime grows out of a less profound disturbance, known as a personality disorder, experts say. While still in the realm of mental illness, such impulses may fail to meet the legal standard of insanity a failure to grasp right and wrong. The attackers often hide the mother's body afterward, seemingly aware they have done wrong. Cathy Nahirny, who tracks such cases for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, still can't fathom them after 16 years there. She favors a simpler explanation. "Are they evil? Yeah, I guess you could call them evil: They want what they want and they will stop at nothing," she says. 'Light' at issue It is a variety of the more common crime of simply snatching an infant, experts say. Attackers are women of childbearing age who typically have lost a baby or can't have one, mental health professionals say. They feel empty and fiercely long for a child or another child to cement a shaky love relationship. "They look at these pregnant woman and say, 'Look at all the attention they're getting. They're says N.G. Berrill, a New York-based legal psychologist. The attackers often fake their own pregnancy, take part in baby showers, and prepare nurseries at home. However, at some moment they cross a boundary and descend almost to Shakespearean depths of tragedy. "The meaning of being barren for some women is just extraordinary," Resnick says. Fashioning elaborate cons, they may trick a stranger into letting down her guard, or they may set upon a close friend without warning. The raw violence may vent a gusher of rage or jealousy directed at the pregnant victim. In 2004, a Kansas woman allegedly drove to Missouri, strangled a pregnant woman with a rope, then cut out her baby with a kitchen knife. She awaits trial. In 1987, in New Mexico, a married woman kidnapped a pregnant woman leaving a prenatal clinic, forced her into a car with a fake gun, stran The suit, filed in 2004, alleges the tobacco companies responded to consumers' mounting health concerns with a marketing scheme to promote light cigarettes as a lower-risk alternative to regular cigarettes, even though their own internal documents showed they knew the risks were about the same. Smokers' attorney Michael D. Hausfeld said the decision could clear the way for one of the largest class-action cases ever, both in number of plaintiffs and amount of damages. He estimated the class consisting of anyone who purchased cigarettes that were labeled "light" or "lights" after they were put on the market in the early 1970s could number up to 60 million. Last year, however, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Wcinstein's decision in a 2002 case in which he certified the first-ever, nationwide class -action against tobacco companies. The panel ruled he had stretched the boundaries of the law by allowing the plaintiffs to seek only punitive damages. In Monday's lengthy ruling, Weinstein said the class certification was necessary because "no individual can afford to prosecute the case alone." Any flaws in the case, he added, were outweighed by the need to put it before a jury. "The case comes down to the role of the jury: Should it be permitted to decide a vexing private litigation on the basis of somewhat dubious arguments and questionable proofs when the decision has so many important overtones, or should the judges themselves decide by holding that the matter is beyond the ken of a reasonable jury?" he wrote. "Here, the fundamentals of the constitution provide the answer." STORM CLEANUP California firefighters hopeful "We could be on the home stretch by the end of the week on this fire, as far as getting the noose around die beast. Jim Maxwell U.S. Forest Service ness area, said Ed Linquist of the U.S. Forest Service. Hot, dry Santa Ana winds hampered the fight against the Day fire over the weekend. The erratic winds topped 50 mph at tunes, driving the fire through another 7,000 acres. The blaze has burned more than 134,000 acres in the area 75 miles north of Los Angeles since it began on Labor Day. It was 41 percent contained. Monday's 10 mph winds changed directions throughout the day but posed little threat, OJAI, Calif. (AP) Fire crews took advantage of calmer winds and cooler temperatures Monday to escalate attacks on one of the largest and longest-burning wildfires in California history. Crews set backfires to clear dried brush on the northwest and southwest borders of the fire in Los Padres National Forest "We could be on the home stretch by the end of the week on this fire, as far as getting the noose around the beast," said Linquist said. "It's just not doing a whole lot of anything," he said. Calls for voluntary evacuations of 300 homes and a college east of Ojai were rescinded. No homes.were in immediate danger. Jim Maxwell of the U.S. Forest Service. Firefighters found several points where the flames spilled over fire lines. During the weekend, a finger of fire on the western flank burned two miles into the Sespe wilder- Associated Press Debra Schultz wipes sweat from her face while looking for her belongings In the debris of her tornado-damaged home In Crosstown, Monday.

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