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Archive for Sunday, July 28, 2002

Briefly

July 28, 2002

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Wisconsin: Tobacco settlement money to balance state's budget

Wisconsin's entire share of the national tobacco settlement will go to fix the state's $1.1 billion budget shortfall under a bill Gov. Scott McCallum signed into law.

McCallum said the bill means Wisconsin residents will see no tax increases or deep cuts to essential services.

The bill uses $825 million from the state's sale of 25 years worth of payments Wisconsin was scheduled to receive under a settlement with tobacco companies.

A dozen other states also have sold their future payments from tobacco companies, but Wisconsin and New Jersey are the only ones to pass bills using all of the money to solve their budget problems.

Tennessee: Reports: City knew of danger before church collapse

As parishioners prepared for a Saturday funeral service for the two victims of a church collapse, neighbors said the tragedy last Sunday was preventable.

Francine Cody, whose mother lives next-door to the old Central Baptist Church building, said he reported to the city her fear that it might collapse.

"The black paper and stuff was flying off the roof onto my mother's house. That was the first thing," Cody said. "Then there was this V-shaped sag in the side of the building."

The city had long known the two-story church was in bad shape.

It was scheduled for a series of inspections in early July, but an inspector who went to the church left when no one answered the door, authorities said.

The congregation knew the building needed repairs, too, but with only about three dozen members, they had trouble raising money for work.

Washington, D.C..: Bush outspent Gore by millions on recount

When the 2000 presidential election ended in a virtual deadlock, George W. Bush quickly raised nearly $14 million to help him win the Florida recount, taking in money so quickly it surprised even his own staff.

"I think we were a little bit stunned by the amount we received," said Benjamin Ginsberg, a Bush attorney for the recount.

According to documents filed last week by Bush, the campaign took in $13.8 million, most of it through donations of $5,000 or less. Democrat Al Gore raised about one-fourth as much, but generally in larger contributions.

The Gore campaign, which filed its disclosures more than a year ago, spent $3.2 million in its losing battle for Florida's 25 electoral votes.

Washington, D.C.: Alleged terrorist in custody

The U.S. military has in custody a man who law enforcement officials believe directed an al-Qaida plot to destroy the American Embassy in Singapore, a senior Bush administration official said Friday night.

The suspect is being detained at a secret location in the northeastern United States, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, a 20-year-old Canadian, has admitted to directing a plot to blow up government buildings in Singapore.

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