Nation briefs 12A

Sunday, July 4, 2004

Judge throws out libel suit against Calif. governor

LOS ANGELES -- A judge dismissed a libel lawsuit filed against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by a woman who accused him of groping her. She said the campaign falsely labeled her a convicted criminal. Rhonda Miller, 53, charged that Schwarzenegger and his campaign intentionally defamed her. On Friday, Superior Court Judge Robert L. Hess ruled that Miller's attorneys needed to furnish "clear and convincing" evidence that Schwarzenegger knew Miller had no criminal history when the campaign sent the e-mail. That higher standard of proof wasn't met, the judge ruled. Schwarzenegger denied even knowing the e-mail was written.

One person wins record $290 million lottery

LOWELL, Mass. -- Whoever bought the winning ticket in the $290 million Mega Millions lottery drawing couldn't have been much happier Saturday than the person who sold it. Jay Patel, owner of Powers Liquors, was elated as he waited along with everyone else to find out which one of his customers won the huge jackpot in Friday's drawing with the numbers 10-25-38-39-50 and Mega Ball 12. Patel will receive $50,000 for selling the ticket. The $290 million is the highest Mega Millions prize in the game's history, exceeding the previous high of $239 million in February.

Kerry hopes to sway voters in rural U.S.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, hoping to narrow President Bush's strong advantage in rural America, is highlighting agriculture policies he says will help family farmers and ranchers. Kerry is in the middle of a three-day, 546-mile Fourth of July weekend bus tour through rural Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, just over three weeks before he accepts his party's nomination at the Democratic National Convention. He was to meet Saturday with family farmers and ranchers in nearby Independence, Wis., before heading to Dubuque, Iowa, to watch fireworks along the Mississippi River.

Second animal shows no signs of mad cow disease

WASHINGTON -- A second animal tested this week for mad cow disease proved free of the brain-wasting ailment. Just as Americans readied their grills for holiday hamburgers, hot dogs and steaks, the Agriculture Department said the second of two cows sidelined for intensive testing showed no evidence of mad cow disease. The United States has had only one confirmed case of mad cow, scientifically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. The disease was found last December in a Canadian-born Holstein living on a farm in Mabton, Wash.

Sudan to send troops to stop violence in Darfur

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan won a promise from Sudan's government to send troops to stop militia violence that has forced 1 million people to flee in the Darfur region, in what has been called world's worst humanitarian crisis. Annan has visited several camps in a tour aimed at pressing President Omar el-Bashir's government to end the 16-month conflict. He wanted Sudan's government to make good on promises to disarm the Janjaweed, the militia blamed for attacks on black Africans. U.N. officials have called the situation the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and Annan has said it "is bordering on ethnic cleansing."

Ten found guilty in French pedophilia trial

SAINT-OMER, France -- A pedophilia trial that stunned France ended Friday with 10 of 17 defendants convicted. The country has been riveted and shocked by the trial, which involved allegations of sex abuse of 18 children between 1995 and 2000. Thierry and Myriam Delay, an unemployed couple at the center of the scandal, were sentenced to terms of 20 and 15 years, respectively, for multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. Thierry, 40, was found guilty of raping nine children and sexually assaulting six others; Myriam, 37, was convicted of raping seven children and sexually assaulting another 10.

-- From wire reports

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