Nation briefs 11/2/04

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Rehnquist missing from bench as court returns

WASHINGTON -- Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist disclosed Monday that he's undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for thyroid cancer. Rehnquist was expected to be on the bench when the court returned from a two-week break. But instead he issued a statement saying "at the suggestion of my doctors, [I] am continuing to recuperate at home." Rehnquist was released from a Maryland hospital last Friday after undergoing surgery to have a tube inserted in his throat to help his breathing.

Pakistan's Senate OKs Musharraf as army chief

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's Senate passed a bill Monday allowing President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to remain as army chief, despite the military leader's earlier promise to rule as a civilian by the year's end. Lawmakers in the upper house of parliament, which is dominated by the pro-Musharraf ruling party, approved the bill in a voice vote. It must now been signed into law by the president himself, seen as a formality.

IRS business audits decline from last year

WASHINGTON -- The pace of corporate audits by the Internal Revenue Service continued to decline in the first six months of fiscal 2004, despite IRS pledges to crack down on tax violators, an analysis of government data shows. The IRS differed with the findings. Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse said Monday that the IRS carried out 7,794 corporate audits from October 2003 through March 2004, down 26 percent from the pace set in fiscal 2003.

Shell, oil unions open court battle in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group opened a court action Monday to try to block a strike targeting oil exports in the world's No. 7 crude exporter, but failed in a first-round bid to block wildcat strikes or other union action in the meantime. The case comes one day after Nigeria's unions called the Nov. 16 strike over rising fuel prices here, and promised to target Shell -- the top multinational in Nigeria -- as an "enemy" of the people for taking legal action.

-- From wire reports

Ohio judges bar GOP-backed poll challengers

CINCINNATI -- Two federal judges Monday barred Republican Party representatives from challenging the eligibility of voters at polling places on Election Day. U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott said that a black couple suing over such challenges would probably be able to prove them unconstitutional. In a similar case in Akron, U.S. District Judge John Adams said it is up to regular poll workers to determine if voters are eligible.

-- From wire reports

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