Massachusetts Senator John Kerry won five state primaries and caucuses last night moving a step closer to securing the Democratic nomination for president. Kerry won in Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota and Delaware. Senator John Edwards won South Carolina and nearly won Oklahoma where he lost to General Wesley Clark by about 1,300 votes. Former Vermont governor Howard Dean did not finish better than third in any state. He skipped advertising in all seven states to focus on Washington and Michigan where votes take to the polls on Saturday. And Senator Joseph Lieberman announced last night he was dropping out of the race.
On Capitol Hill, three Senate office buildings have been sealed off after it was confirmed that a suspicious packaged found in a Senate mailroom contained the toxin ricin. It was also announced publicly for the first time yesterday that ricen had been mailed to the White House in November. The packages sent to the Senate and the White House bore the signature “Fallen Angel.” U.S. Capitol Police said the Senate buildings, which house 5,000 workers, would remain closed for at least four days.
The White House on Tuesday released a list of 65 programs it wants to terminate in 2005.The list includes: School Alcohol Abuse Reduction. Arts in Education grants, Brownfields Redevelopment and Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Training.
Republican Congressman W.J. “Billy” Tauzin of Louisiana has announced he will not seek a 13th term in office and will vacate the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee effective Feb. 16. Tauzin is expected to take a job heading the lobbying giant Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which is the trade group that represents drug giants including Pfizer and Merck & Co. Tauzin was one of the principal authors of the Medicare prescription drug bill, which included several provisions expected to vastly expand the market for prescription drugs among the elderly. In addition the Washington Post reports the law bars the federal government from directly bargaining down the price of drugs, a provision the pharmaceutical lobby called for.
In Pakistan, the nation’s top nuclear scientist has reportedly admitted that he sold nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The BBC reports the scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan met with President Pervez Musharraf and asked for clemency. According to the Associated, Khan said the sales were made with the full knowledge of the country’s ruling military elite, including Musharraf. Pakistan has yet to decided if Khan will be prosecuted. He is widely seen as a national hero for helping Pakistan develop the bomb.
The Pentagon has announced that Halliburton is to repay the government $27 million for overcharging the cost of serving meals to U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait. AN internal audit determined that Halliburton had charged the government for meals it never served to troops.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the decision of the Iraqi Governing Council to ban the Arabic television station Al Jazeera from covering official Council events for a month. A council spokesperson said Al Jazeera was punished for broadcasting remakrs on a call-in show that showed “disrespect to Iraq and its people and harmed prominent religious and national figures.”
In Israel pro-settler politicians have threatened to bring down Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government if he moves ahead with plans to dismantle settlements in the Gaza Strip. Sharon announced on Monday plans to evacuate most of the 7,500 Israeli settlers living in Gaza.
Wal-Mart Sued Over Locking in Employees
A civil rights suit filed against Wal-Mart is accusing the retailer of locking undocumented employees inside the store during their shifts. The class-action suit also charges that Wal-Mart forced undocumented workers to work seven-day, 70-hour weeks for $1,500 a month.
And jazz bassist Malachi Favors has died at the age of 63. He was a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and AACM, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.