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Archive for Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Briefly

August 4, 2004

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Washington, D.C.

Halliburton collects from Iraq

Halliburton Co. and other U.S. contractors are being paid at least $1.9 billion from Iraqi funds under an arrangement set by the U.S.-led occupation authority, according to a review of documents and interviews with government agencies, companies and auditors.

Most of the money is for deals that originally had been financed with money approved by the U.S. Congress, but later shifted to Iraqi funds that were governed by fewer restrictions and less rigorous oversight.

Kellogg Brown & Root Inc., a subsidiary of Halliburton, was paid $1.66 billion from the Iraqi money, primarily to cover the cost of importing fuel from Kuwait. The job was tacked on to a no-bid contract that was the subject of several investigations after allegations surfaced that a subcontractor for Houston-based KBR overcharged by as much as $61 million for the fuel.

London

13 held after anti-terror raids

Police conducted anti-terrorism raids in London and several towns Tuesday, arresting 13 people believed involved in preparing terrorist acts.

London's Metropolitan Police said the afternoon and evening arrests were "part of a pre-planned, ongoing intelligence-led operation."

The suspects, who are all in their 20s and 30s, will be brought to a central London police station for questioning by anti-terrorism officers, police said. They declined to specify the men's nationalities, but the British Broadcasting Corp. said they were all of South Asian descent and some were thought to be British citizens.

Paraguay

Charges filed in deadly fire

Authorities filed manslaughter charges Tuesday against an owner of a Paraguayan supermarket and five others for a massive fire in the store that killed at least 464 people, local media reported.

The indictments in Paraguay's worst disaster in decades came after investigators said a security guard told them that when Sunday's fire broke out, the doors were ordered locked to prevent looting.

Juan Pio Paiva, the store's co-owner along with his son, denied the doors had been deliberately locked.

Channel 13 television reported that a judge had charged Paiva with involuntary manslaughter. The station also said that a business associate of Paiva and four security guards had been charged, but that Paiva's son still awaited a decision by the court.

Earlier Tuesday, the death toll soared as the attorney general's office said 464 had been killed, up from the 325 reported earlier.

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