Nation briefs 2/3/06

Friday, February 3, 2006

King to receive public viewing at Ga. Capitol

ATLANTA -- Coretta Scott King will be given a public viewing in the rotunda of the Georgia Capitol at the governor's invitation, her family announced Thursday in a measure of how far the South has come since the civil rights era. In a statement, the King family announced funeral plans for the widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that include a viewing at the Capitol on Saturday; another viewing on Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, King's longtime pulpit; and a funeral in suburban Atlanta on Tuesday at the 10,000-seat New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, where the Kings' youngest child, Bernice, is a minister.

Greek prime minister's, officials' phones tapped

ATHENS, Greece -- Mobile phones belonging to top Greek military and government officials -- including the prime minister -- and the U.S. embassy were tapped for nearly a year beginning in the weeks before the 2004 Olympic games, the government said Thursday. It was not known who was responsible for the taps, which numbered about 100 and included Greek Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis and his wife, and the ministers of foreign affairs, defense, public order and justice. Most of Greece's top military and police officers were also targeted, as were foreign ministry officials and a U.S. embassy number. Also tapped were some journalists and human rights activists. The phone tapping "started before the 2004 Olympic Games and probably continued until March 2005, when it was discovered," government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said at a news conference. Roussopoulos said it had not been possible to identify who was behind the tapping.

Congress to extend Patriot Act by five weeks

WASHINGTON -- Congress will send President Bush a second five-week extension of the Patriot Act as Senate negotiators say they're closer to a deal with the White House on renewing the antiterrorism with some new civil liberties protections. Sixteen provisions of the 2001 law were to have expired Dec. 31, but Congress extended them until today after Democrats and a handful of Senate Republicans demanded an avenue of appeals when the FBI makes demands for people's financial and other private records. The Senate scheduled a vote Thursday night on extending the current law unchanged through March 10 to give negotiators more time to reach a deal.

Oil tanker runs aground in Alaska's Cook Inlet

NIKISKI, Alaska -- A 575-foot tanker loaded with 4.9 million gallons of gasoline and other petroleum products broke free of its moorings and ran aground Thursday but apparently did not breach its hull, the Coast Guard said. Less than 100 gallons of the ship's cargo spilled, apparently from the pumping equipment that was being used to fill the hold, officials said. The accident happened as the double-hulled Seabulk Pride was being pumped with cargo in the Cook Inlet port of Nikiski, 80 miles from Anchorage. An ice floe struck the Seabulk and caused its mooring line to break, state officials said. The tanker drifted nearly an hour before running aground a half-mile away, they said. No injuries were reported.

Austria says it can't buy back Klimt paintings

VIENNA, Austria -- Austria's government said Thursday it cannot afford to buy back five Gustav Klimt paintings that a court has ordered returned to a California woman who says the Nazis stole them from her Jewish family. Elisabeth Gehrer, Austria's minister in charge of education and culture, said the government wanted to acquire the masterpieces but decided it could not afford the $300 million price tag. Last month, an arbitration court awarded the paintings to Maria Altmann of Los Angeles, who says they were looted from her family by the Nazis. Gehrer said the government's Council of Ministers could not find the cash in its budget to keep the paintings in Austria, where they are widely considered national treasures.

Young Mass. man goes on a rampage at gay bar

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. -- A young man dressed all in black went on a rampage at a gay bar with a hatchet and a gun Thursday, wounding three patrons in what police said appeared to be a hate crime. One victim was in critical condition. Police searched for 18-year-old Jacob D. Robida, who was wanted on charges of attempted murder, assault and civil-rights violations. According to court papers, Robida's mother told police that he briefly stopped by the house less than an hour after the brawl and was bleeding from the head. In Robida's bedroom, officers found Nazi regalia and anti-Semitic writings on the wall.

NYC mayor donates $100 million to Johns Hopkins

NEW YORK -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire known for his philanthropy, anonymously donated $100 million Thursday to Johns Hopkins University to support stem-cell research, a new children's hospital and other projects, The Associated Press has learned. The Republican mayor, who graduated from Johns Hopkins and is a former Hopkins board chairman, has donated hundreds of millions to the school over the years. The school of public health at Hopkins bears his name.

-- From wire reports

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: