Nation briefs 6/24/06

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Bush order would limit property seizures

WASHINGTON -- President Bush thinks that federal agencies should only be able seize private property for public use. So he issued an executive order saying so on Friday, the one-year anniversary of a controversial Supreme Court decision in a Connecticut case that gave local governments broad power to bulldoze people's homes for commercial development. Many conservatives see the court decision as a dangerous interpretation of the "takings clause" in the Constitution's Fifth Amendment, which allows the government to seize property for public use with just compensation. They have argued such takings are an unjustified governmental abuse of individual rights.

Sailors' personal data found on Internet

WASHINGTON -- The Navy has begun a criminal investigation after Social Security numbers and other personal data for 28,000 sailors and family members were found on a civilian Web site. The Navy said Friday the information was in five documents and included people's names, birth dates and Social Security numbers. Navy spokesman Lt. Justin Cole would not identify the Web site or its owner, but said the information had been removed. He would not provide any details about how the information ended up on the site. Cole said there was no indication so far that the information was used illegally, but individuals involved were being contacted and encouraged to monitor their bank accounts and credit cards.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta resigns

WASHINGTON -- Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who helped rebuild confidence in U.S. airports and flying after the Sept. 11 attacks, said Friday he's leaving the Bush administration. "It is time for me to move on to other challenges," Mineta said in a letter to President Bush. White House press secretary Tony Snow announced the July 7 resignation. Asked why Mineta, 74, decided to leave, Snow said: "Because he wanted to." "He was not being pushed out," Snow said. "As a matter of fact, the president and the vice president and others were happy with him."

NRC grants license to N.M. uranium plant

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued its first license for a major commercial nuclear facility in 30 years Friday, allowing an international consortium to build what would be the nation's first private fuel source for commercial nuclear power plants. Construction of the $1.5 billion National Enrichment Facility, under review for the past 2 1/2 years, could begin in August, and the plant could be ready to sell enriched uranium by early 2009, said Jim Ferland, president of the consortium of nuclear companies, Louisiana Energy Services. The plant would be near the small community of Eunice, where support for the project is strong. Critics say it would pollute the environment, guzzle scarce water and leave the town with tons of radioactive waste and nowhere to put it.

-- From wire reports

Television producer Aaron Spelling dies at 83

LOS ANGELES -- Aaron Spelling, a onetime movie bit player who turned to television production and created a massive number of hit series, from the vintage "Charlie's Angels" and "Dynasty" to "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place," died Friday, his publicist said. He was 83. Spelling died at his home in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke on June 18, according to publicist Kevin Sasaki. Spelling's other hit series included "Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Burke's Law," "The Mod Squad," "Starsky and Hutch," "T.J. Hooker," "Matt Houston," "Hart to Hart" and "Hotel." He kept his hand in 21st-century TV with series including "7th Heaven" and "Summerland."

-- From wire reports

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