Nation briefs 4/6/04

Texas, New Mexico hit hard by heavy rain

In New Mexico, water released from an overloaded dam added to floodwaters in the Carlsbad area Monday, as the swelling Pecos River flooded underpasses and forced school closures. South Texas was on watch for possible flooding from the slow-moving storm system that dumped up to Monday before. The National Weather Service had flood warnings in effect into Tuesday in a triangle roughly formed by San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Laredo.

Military looking to deploy more troops in Iraq

WASHINGTON -- U.S. military commanders are studying options that could mean more troops in Iraq if violence there widens, a senior officer said Monday. The officer, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said generals believe they have enough forces to handle the attacks coming from various quarters, including the recent violence by a Shiite militia, but want to know what is available if the situation gets out of control. The officer is with U.S. Central Command, the military authority overseeing operations in Iraq.

Bloomberg: Statue of Liberty should be open

NEW YORK -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that the Statue of Liberty should be reopened, even if each tourist has to be escorted inside by a police officer. "This is a symbol of America. Come on, let's stand up and have some guts. If we have to have the security people there, let's do it, but let's get it open," he said. The statue has been closed for security reasons since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The observation deck on the statue's pedestal will reopen in July. But tourists still will not be allowed inside the statue itself.

Blackout could repeat if rules not put in place

WASHINGTON -- The power industry's disregard of its rules intended to ensure the reliable flow of electricity contributed significantly to last summer's blackout in eight states and Canada, investigators said Monday in their final report. Another major outage could happen unless reliability regulations, with clear penalties for violators, are put in place, according to the report by a joint U.S.-Canadian task force.

L.A., N.Y. newspapers top 2004 Pulitzer Prize list

NEW YORK -- The Los Angeles Times won five Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, including for breaking news reporting for its coverage of the massive wildfires that ravaged Southern California last fall. The New York Times won the public service award for the work of David Barstow and Lowell Bergman examining death and injury among American workers. The Los Angeles Times also won Pulitzers in criticism, editorial writing and national reporting for its examination of the tactics that have made Wal-Mart the largest company in the world.

N.H. unveils Internet link to Canadian pharmacy

CONCORD, N.H. -- Gov. Craig Benson on Monday unveiled a link on the state's official Web site to a Canadian pharmacy that exports cheaper drugs to the United States. David Minnis, spokesman for the New Hampshire Pharmacists Association, said the governor is "putting the state at risk," echoing criticism last week from the Food and Drug Administration.

-- From wire reports