Trial of foreign workers delayed until today

Sunday, September 30, 2001

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The resumption of the trial of eight foreign aid workers accused of preaching Christianity in Afghanistan has been put off until Sunday, their lawyer said.

Pakistani lawyer Atif Ali Khan, representing the eight, said senior government officials in Kabul notified him of the delay. He had met earlier Saturday with the aid workers -- two Americans, two Australians, and four Germans -- and said they were ready for the resumption of their trial.

Earlier this week, Khan and foreign diplomats had been notified by Afghan officials that the proceedings, which started last month but were interrupted by the crisis over Osama bin Laden, would resume Saturday.

President Bush has demanded that Afghanistan's Taliban rulers free the aid workers detained since August.

Judge denies damages in heartburn drug case

PORT GIBSON, Miss. -- A jury may not consider punitive damages against a drug-maker who plaintiffs claim pushed sales of a heartburn drug even as the federal government moved to ban it, a judge ruled Saturday.

Circuit Judge Lamar Pickard said he was not convinced that drug-maker Janssen acted maliciously.

On Friday, jurors awarded $100 million in compensatory damages against Janssen and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs said they suffered from anxiety, heart conditions and other health problems after using Propulsid.

Former governor Tucker loses Arkansas license

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who was caught up in the Whitewater investigation, has been stripped of his license to practice law in Arkansas.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza took the action Friday in a lawsuit filed by the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct.

The judge based his decision on Tucker's 1996 convictions in the Whitewater investigation.

Tucker was convicted of felony mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government after a trial with co-defendants James and Susan McDougal, the former partners in Whitewater real estate with former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Macedonian officials promise restraint

SKOPJE, Macedonia -- Macedonia's government pledged to refrain from sweeping into areas once controlled by ethnic Albanian rebels, saying Saturday that it would move slowly and honor a Western-backed peace plan.

The decision to exercise restraint eased fears that the government would push for a swift military action to restore control over the volatile, ethnic Albanian-populated northwestern part of the country, after the rebels announced Thursday that they had disbanded in line with the peace plan.

Lone black justice exits Mississippi's top court

JACKSON, Miss. -- After a decade on the Mississippi Supreme Court, Justice Fred L. Banks Jr., the court's only black justice, is resigning to join a private law practice.

Banks, 59, has the second most seniority on the nine-member court and was widely considered its most liberal justice. He frequently criticized the handling of death penalty cases, though he rarely voted to overturn them, and he was often in the minority on issues of damage lawsuits.

Banks said he will leave Oct. 31 to work for the Jackson law firm Phelps Dunbar LLP.

--From wire reports

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