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Nation briefs 9/15/06

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ford to offer buyouts to hourly workers

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. plans to expand buyout and early retirement offers to the company's entire U.S. hourly work force of 75,000 as part of a broader restructuring plan aimed at restoring the troubled No. 2 automaker to profitability. A day before Ford was to detail the huge restructuring plan, the move was announced Thursday afternoon by the United Auto Workers union. Ford hasn't said how many workers it hopes will take the offers, but it has previously announced plans to cut up to 30,000 hourly jobs by 2012.

Train derails in S. Ill.; 100 people evacuated

SALEM, Ill. -- About 100 people were evacuated in southern Illinois after a freight train derailed Thursday, including three tankers carrying chemicals, officials said. The tankers were being examined for leaks after the derailment north of Salem, a community of about 6,000 residents. There were no immediate reports of injuries, authorities said. Canadian National spokesman Jim Kvedaras said two derailed tankers contained phosphoric acid.

Senate passes bill to tighten port security

WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to tighten security at U.S. seaports by scanning nearly all incoming cargo for nuclear weapons or "dirty bombs." The bill, approved 98-0 in a pre-election push on national defense, would increase safeguards on the rail systems that pick up cargo from ports and authorize 1,000 new agents to screen containers coming off ships.

Authorities: College gunman killed himself

MONTREAL -- The gunman who opened fire at a Montreal college, killing one person and wounding 19 others, now appears to have killed himself, authorities said. The news came as a police official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press the name of the shooter. He was identified as 25-year-old Kimveer Gill of Laval, near Montreal. On Thursday, Francois Dore of the Quebec provincial police said "preliminary results of the autopsy showed that he died of self-inflicted wounds." Dore said police shot Gill in the arm before he turned his gun on himself.

Tropical storm lashes Mexico's Pacific coast

MEXICO CITY -- Tropical Storm Lane lashed Mexico's Pacific coast with winds and rain, flooding streets in Acapulco before setting on a course to hit the hurricane-battered tip of the Baja California Peninsula. The storm was centered Thursday about 95 miles southwest of Manzanillo and was moving northwest at 10 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. A tropical storm warning and hurricane watch were issued for a stretch of coast southeast of the resort of Puerto Vallarta. The storm was expected to strengthen to a hurricane on Thursday night or today, then hit land near Cabo San Lucas late Saturday.

-- From wire reports

U.S. military admits to surge in Iraq's sectarian bloodshed

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Sectarian killings have surged in parts of Baghdad not yet included in a security offensive, the U.S. military said Thursday, while bombings and other insurgent attacks killed four American soldiers and wounded 25 in the capital region. Police reported finding 20 bodies dumped on streets, many of them victims of reprisal killings in the escalating conflict between Shiite and Sunni Arabs. Six people died when a car bomb exploded at a soccer field in Fallujah, raising the death toll across Iraq to at least 28. One of the few positive developments for the U.S.-led coalition and the national unity government was the reported killing of a senior member of al-Qaida in Iraq and the capture of another.

-- From wire reports


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