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Archive for Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Briefly

September 4, 2002

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Louisiana

Anthrax researcher fired from job at LSU

Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, who says the government has ruined his life by linking him to the anthrax investigation, was fired Tuesday from his job at Louisiana State University.

Hatfill was hired by LSU's National Center for Biomedical Research and Training in July and put on administrative leave with pay on Aug. 2.

Hatfill spokesman Pat Clawson said the university called Hatfill's attorneys Tuesday to tell of their decision to fire him. No explanation was given.

In a statement, Hatfill blamed the FBI's investigation for his firing. "My life has been completely and utterly destroyed by (Atty. Gen.) John Ashcroft and the FBI," he said. "I do not understand why they are doing this to me. My professional reputation is in tatters. All I have left are my savings and they will be exhausted soon because of my legal bills."

Boston

Tentative settlement in abuse case reached

The Boston Archdiocese and alleged sex abuse victims of defrocked priest John Geoghan have reached a tentative $10 million settlement, Cardinal Bernard Law's attorney said Tuesday.

"Tentative is the operative word," attorney J. Owen Todd said of a deal that could end civil suits brought by 86 people before a judge rules on the validity of a previous settlement worth up to $30 million.

Todd said the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Mitchell Garabedian, told him Tuesday morning that all but one of the plaintiffs had agreed to the settlement. All plaintiffs must agree for the deal to be finalized.

China

Access to Google blocked

China has blocked access to popular U.S. Internet search engine Google amid government calls to tighten media controls ahead of a major Communist Party congress.

Attempts to look at the site through Chinese Internet services on Tuesday were rejected with a notice saying it couldn't be found. Users and technical consultants said the site has been blocked for several days.

The government is preparing to hold a congress in November to begin shifting power to a new generation of leaders. China routinely tightens controls on news and information around politically sensitive dates.

Google is hugely popular among China's 45 million Internet users because of its wide-ranging search capacity. Google also does not weed out material the Chinese government blocks as subversive.

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