- - Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Holocaust survivors seek $20B in insurance policies

MIAMI — Thousands of aging Holocaust survivors in the U.S. want Congress to clear a path for them to sue European insurance companies they contend illegally confiscated Jewish life-insurance policies during the Nazi era and have refused to pay an estimated $20 billion still owed.

A hearing is scheduled Wednesday in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on a bill that would provide the survivors with access to U.S. courts and force companies such as Germany’s Allianz SE and Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali to disclose lists of policies held by Jews before World War II.

David Schaecter, 82, who survived the Auschwitz death camp and is president of the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA, describes the current U.S. policy barring survivors from suing the companies as unfair. He is expected to testify at the hearing.

The legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican, represents many of the estimated 100,000 Holocaust survivors in the U.S. and chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee. The measure has 51 co-sponsors in the House and a companion bill in the Senate.


Ex-Penn State prexy leaves board of U.S. Steel

PITTSBURGH — Ousted Penn State University President Graham Spanier has resigned from the board at U.S. Steel.

Mr. Spanier had been a member of the steelmaker’s board of directors since 2008.

U.S. Steel Corp. spokeswoman Courtney Boone confirmed Mr. Spanier’s resignation Tuesday, but declined to elaborate on the circumstances. She says the Pittsburgh company won’t be commenting further.

U.S. Steel CEO John Surma is vice chairman of Penn State’s board of trustees, which ousted Mr. Spanier and football coach Joe Paterno last week. The trustees say Mr. Spanier and Mr. Paterno failed to act after assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing a boy in a campus shower in 2002.

Mr. Paterno concedes he should’ve done more. Mr. Spanier says he would’ve reported a crime if he suspected one had been committed. Mr. Sandusky denies the abuse accusations.


Man who killed three sleeping sons is executed

LUCASVILLE — Ohio on Tuesday executed a man who fatally shot his three sons while they slept in 1982, shortly after his wife filed for divorce.

Reginald Brooks of East Cleveland died just after 2 p.m., ending a nearly six-month break in the use of capital punishment in Ohio, which often trails only Texas in the number of annual inmate executions.

State and federal courts rejected attorneys’ arguments that Brooks, 66, was not mentally competent and that the government hid relevant evidence that could have affected his case. The execution was delayed by more than three hours as attorneys exhausted Brooks’ appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to halt the execution.


Chicago archdiocese to pay sex-abuse victim $3.2M

CHICAGO — Attorneys for a victim of convicted pedophile and former Roman Catholic priest Daniel McCormack have reached a $3.2 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George.

Chicago-based law firms Hilfman & Martin and Abels & Annes announced the agreement Tuesday.

The plaintiff was one of five victims McCormack admitted abusing when he pleaded guilty in 2007. The victim was 10 to 12 years old during the abuse.


Ex-porn star’s school appearance prompts review

COMPTON — Officials of a California school system plan to meet with the agent who schedules celebrity guests to read to children after some parents complained that having a former adult-film star as a participant was inappropriate.

A Compton Unified School District statement says the outside talent coordinator listed Sasha Grey as an actress who had appeared in the HBO show “Entourage” when she was proposed as a participant in the Guest Reading Program at Emerson Elementary School this month. Miss Grey’s previous experience in adult films wasn’t mentioned.

The district says it will review the selection process.


Immigration-law protesters arrested in state capital

MONTGOMERY — Police arrested 13 protesters in Alabama’s capital Tuesday as they demonstrated against the state’s strict new law clamping down on illegal immigrants.

About 100 people, most of them Hispanic and college-aged, chanted slogans as they marched in light rain around the state Capitol. Police arrested demonstrators who sat down in a street.

Federal courts have blocked parts of the Republican-backed law from taking effect, but both supporters and critics still call it the nation’s toughest state law against illegal immigration. The Obama administration calls the law an overreach by the state.


Pipelines called at risk of failure in two states

HELENA — Federal safety regulators say they have found pipelines carrying oil and other hazardous liquids at risk of failure at seven major river crossings in Montana and hundreds of smaller crossings in Montana and northern Wyoming.

Chris Hoidal with the U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday that erosion had exposed the lines or left them buried under minimal cover across the Missouri, Musselshell, Gallatin and other rivers.

He says the problems along the major rivers must be fixed by spring or the companies that own the lines will face enforcement actions.

Federal inspectors working with state officials surveyed the crossings after an Exxon Mobil pipeline break in July spilled an estimated 1,000 barrels of crude into the Yellowstone River.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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