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Archive for Friday, June 20, 2003

Briefly

June 20, 2003

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Arizona

Fire claims mountain homes

A wildfire driven by winds up to 60 mph roared Thursday through a southern Arizona mountain community, burning 200 to 250 homes, a fire official said.

It took less than an hour for the fire to tear through an area of Summerhaven with about 500 homes, burning some and sparing others, said Larry Humphrey, commander of the team directing the fight against the fire.

Humphrey said the fire, which had been reported around 465 acres early Thursday, had grown to cover thousands of acres by late afternoon, and could threaten radio transmitters and a radar facility on the mountain.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Washington, D.C.

UMass president unsure of fugitive brother's locale

William Bulger told lawmakers Thursday that he had no idea where his fugitive mobster brother was and that the FBI, despite claims it was searching feverishly for James "Whitey" Bulger, had never interviewed him.

Bulger, the president of the University of Massachusetts and a prominent political figure in Massachusetts, told a congressional panel that two FBI agents arrived last week at his South Boston home and asked to speak to his wife.

Whitey Bulger, an FBI informant now on the agency's "Ten Most Wanted" list, fled in 1995 after he was tipped by his FBI handler that he was to be indicted and implicated in 21 murders.

Members of the House Government Reform Committee are investigating the FBI's handling of its mob informants and whether William Bulger knows his brother's whereabouts.

Washington, D.C.

Senate speeds access to lower-cost generic drugs

Determined to attack the high price of drugs, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to give consumers speedier access to low-cost generic alternatives to treat illnesses ranging from allergies to arthritis.

The 94-1 vote added the provisions to far-reaching Medicare prescription drug legislation moving toward passage next week.

Under the FDA rules as well as the legislation, brand-name drug companies would be limited to a single 30-month delay in their effort to block approval of a generic drug. Under current law, brand-name companies are permitted to file repeated patent-infringement claims, each of which can result in a 30-month delay in FDA consideration.

Michigan

Governor seeks reconciliation after rioting, destruction

Gov. Jennifer Granholm urged healing Thursday in Benton Harbor after surveying the damage from two nights of rioting and meeting with leaders in this city plagued by poverty and racial tensions.

Hundreds rioted Monday and Tuesday nights in Benton Harbor after the death of Terrance Shurn, 28, whose speeding motorcycle crashed as police chased him into the city from neighboring Benton Township. Several fires were set, police and firefighters were attacked, about a dozen people were hurt and 10 were arrested.

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