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Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Briefly

April 30, 2003

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Washington, D.C.: Democrats to filibuster second judicial nominee

Senate Democrats said Tuesday they would filibuster another of President Bush's federal court nominees, minutes after allowing the Senate to confirm a Bush nominee who critics said had worked to curtail the rights of the disabled.

The new filibuster target will be Priscilla Owen -- a Texas judge and home-state favorite of the president's -- who was nominated for a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Democrats have called Owen, who sits on the Texas Supreme Court, an anti-abortion, pro-business judicial activist whose opinions and rulings are overly influenced by her personal beliefs.

This comes as Democrats enter their third month of filibustering to keep lawyer Miguel Estrada off the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Republicans have lost four attempts to break the Estrada filibuster.

Dallas: Conjoined twins begin preparations for surgery

Two-year-old Egyptian twin brothers joined at the crown of their heads were recovering Tuesday from the first surgical step toward separating them.

Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim underwent surgery Monday to start the process of stretching their skin and tissue. The extra skin and tissue will be used to cover the head wounds left after the separation operation, planned for this summer. Extra tissue from their thighs will also be used.

Surgeons at Children's Medical Center of Dallas took about eight hours to insert balloon-like pouches under the boys' heads and thighs. The pouches gradually will be filled with saline over the next three to four months to stretch the tissue.

Salt Lake City: Newspaper reporters in Smart case fired

The Salt Lake Tribune said Tuesday that it fired two reporters who were paid $20,000 for collaborating with the National Enquirer on an Elizabeth Smart story because they misled their employer about the level of their involvement with the tabloid.

Michael Vigh and Kevin Cantera were fired less than a week after Tribune editor James E. Shelledy refused their resignations.

Shelledy had said Monday that Vigh and Cantera split $20,000 for their help on a July 2 Enquirer story headlined "Utah Cops: Secret Diary Exposes Family Sex Ring." The story has been retracted as part of a settlement between the Smart family and the tabloid.

The tabloid article was published about a month after Elizabeth, then 14, was abducted at knifepoint from her bedroom.

She was found about nine months later, on March 12, in a Salt Lake suburb with two people now charged with kidnapping her.

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