- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Lawmakers introducing hate-crimes bill

A bipartisan group of lawmakers yesterday announced it will introduce hate-crimes legislation this week, a bill that is virtually identical to last year's failed effort.
The bill seeks to enhance penalties for crimes that are based on a victim's ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability. The legislation would also provide additional funding and federal expertise to state and local authorities investigating reputed hate-crime cases.
Supporters of the bill, including Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, said yesterday that the legislation has 181 co-sponsors in the House and 51 in the Senate.

Thompson to change medical privacy rules

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said yesterday that he expects to make changes to Clinton administration medical privacy rules, responding to industry complaints about the potential cost.
In a wide-ranging session with reporters, Mr. Thompson also indicated that he would push for the Democratic approach to aiding the uninsured and said he's learning that as a Cabinet secretary, he can't always speak his mind.
"I found out you have to check with everybody before you move," he said. "I've already been in the dog house several times because I haven't done that."
The medical privacy rules require health care providers to get written permission before disclosing personal health information.

Cash belonging to Marc Rich seized

Customs officers at London's Gatwick Airport reportedly have seized $1.9 million belonging to Marc Rich, the one-time fugitive who was pardoned by former President Clinton.
The Customs Department refused to comment on any aspect of the news reports, which appeared in the Times, the Guardian and the Independent newspapers.
According to the reports, the money was brought to Gatwick Airport by a courier and seized under legislation aimed at combating drug trafficking. No date was reported.

Official identifies Chinese defector

The Chinese military officer who defected to the United States late last year is Xu Junping, a senior colonel on the People's Liberation Army general staff who took courses at Harvard University two years ago, a U.S. official said yesterday.
The colonel defected in New York in December while on a visit with a group of Chinese military officials and has requested asylum, U.S. officials have said.

U.S. to document treatment of Italians

The Justice Department said yesterday it seeks information for a report to Congress about how more than 600,000 Italian Americans faced arrests, internment and other restrictions on their freedom during the Second World War.
Acting at Congress' direction, the department said the report will document other U.S. government actions that included roundups, raids on private homes, confiscation of property and exclusion orders from 1939 through 1945, while Italy was allied with Germany in the war.
The law, adopted last year, directed the U.S. attorney general to conduct a comprehensive review of the treatment of Italian Americans and to issue a report by early November.

Atheist O'Hair buried without prayer in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas The remains of atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair and two of her adult children, all killed in a 1995 extortion plot, were buried last week with no religious ceremony in an unmarked Texas grave, newspapers reported yesterday.
She became the country's best known atheist when a case filed on behalf of her son, William, led to a 1963 Supreme Court decision banning prayer in public schools.
In accordance with her long-standing wishes, no one prayed at her burial at an undisclosed location near Austin, her estranged son, William Murray, now a practicing Christian, told the Austin American-Statesman.

Second set of remains found on Southern sub

CHARLESTON, S.C. Scientists discovered the remains of a second crewman yesterday aboard H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine being salvaged off the Atlantic coast.

The newly discovered bones probably belonged to an artilleryman because two uniform buttons bearing the letter "A" were found near the same spot last week, said project manager Bob Neyland.


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