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HeadlinesJuly 08, 1999

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Florida Jury Rules Against Tobacco Industry in Class-Action Suit

Jul 08, 1999

A Florida jury yesterday ruled against the tobacco industry in the first class-action lawsuit by six smokers to come to trial, finding that cigarette makers addicted and defrauded smokers and could be forced to pay billions of dollars in damages. In the broadest ruling to date in the legal war over tobacco, the Miami jury concluded that cigarette makers “engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct,” concealing cigarettes’ dangers, conspiring to hide their addictiveness, and making a product that caused more than a dozen deadly diseases, from heart disease to lung cancer.

Clinton Visits South Los Angeles in Visit to Areas Left Behind

Jul 08, 1999

President Clinton will be in South Los Angeles today, continuing his visits to areas left behind in America’s economic boom. Clinton last visited South L.A. as a presidential candidate in 1992, after the street rebellions that took place after the Rodney King verdict. Afterwards, banks and federal redevelopment programs made millions of dollars in loans and grants to local businesses, and many areas have been rebuilt. The president will visit a local college and high school, bringing a plan for private and public investment. He hopes it convinces more banks and corporations they can make money in South Los Angeles.

Bail Hearing Set for Man Who Sold Guns to White Supremacist Shooter

Jul 08, 1999

There’s a bail hearing today in Peoria, Illinois, for a man who admits selling guns to white supremacist Benjamin Smith. Smith has been linked to a deadly two-state shooting rampage last weekend. Two people were killed and nine injured by Smith. All victims were African American, Asian and Jewish. Smith ended up killing himself.

Three Executed in the U.S. in 24 Hours

Jul 08, 1999

Three people were executed in the United States over the last 24 hours. The governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, presided over his first execution. Fifty-four-year-old Allen Davis was executed this morning by electrocution. Lawyers for the 350-pound man had argued the electric chair lacked the voltage to kill painlessly, especially a man the size of Davis. The old chair was replaced after another prisoner, Pedro Medina, shot up in flames in 1997, but the electrical wiring remains the same. Bush has also signed a death warrant for another prisoner due to be executed tomorrow morning. Earlier today, a man was executed by lethal injection in Oklahoma, and in Texas, another prisoner was executed last night, also by lethal injection.

Teamsters Ratify 4-Year Contract with Trucking Companies

Jul 08, 1999

The Teamsters union claimed its first major victory under the leadership of James P. Hoffa with the ratification of a four-year contract with trucking companies that haul new cars to showrooms across the country. Under the terms, drivers who choose to retire after 25 years of work would get better pension benefits, including health insurance for those age 55 and older. Also, retirees over age 65 would get new prescription drug benefits to supplement government Medicare coverage.

GAO Faults Pentagon for Mishandling Surplus Military Property

Jul 08, 1999

Congressional investigators want to know what happened to more than $2.5 billion in surplus military property that’s unaccounted for. A report by the General Accounting Office faults the Pentagon for the way it handles property deemed excess. It says the material, including sensitive weapons parts and communications equipment, was marked for disposal or sale, but then disappeared.

A Third of Nation’s Atomic Power Plants Not Ready for Y2K

Jul 08, 1999

A third of the nation’s atomic power plants still have additional work to complete on computer systems to be fully ready to deal with the Y2K computer bug, this according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Massachusetts Democratic Congressmember Edward Markey, a consistent critic of the NRC, said yesterday the report only confirmed his fears about the lack of preparation of nuclear plants for the Y2K bug. Markey last week questioned whether power plants are ready to deal with possible Y2K-related blackouts, after an NRC letter revealed that both emergency power generators at New Hampshire’s Seabrook nuclear plant were simultaneously inoperable for about a week. Dr. Helen Caldicott has called for all nuclear power plants to be closed before the year 2000 to avoid major problems.

Panama Demands U.S. Clear Out Explosives at Bases

Jul 08, 1999

Panama’s president demanded that the United States clear out the remains of explosives at military bases being handed over along the Panama Canal by the end of the year. The United States last week turned over one of the areas used for war exercises and target practice. Two others remain. About a fifth of the over 37,000 acres in the three areas are believed to be contaminated with chemicals or leftover explosives. Panama is ready to take international or legal action to force the cleanup of contaminated lands, this according to the Foreign Ministry secretary general.

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