- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2002

Greens lose in bid to cut water supply to farms

A federal judge yesterday rejected a restraining order sought by environmentalists to cut off water to troubled farm fields in the Klamath Valley of Oregon and California.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., argued the water should remain in the Klamath River to protect endangered coho salmon, but the Bush administration sided with the farmers and said there is no proof increased water flows would benefit the fish.

The irrigation water was cut off last summer, bankrupting many farmers and costing the regional economy $134 million.


Archdiocese backs out of abuse settlement

BOSTON The Archdiocese of Boston abruptly backed out of a settlement agreement with 86 persons who have accused now-defrocked priest John Geoghan of child molestation, saying yesterday that the deal would strip it of too many resources.

Rejecting Cardinal Bernard Law's request to sign the deal, the archdiocese's finance council refused to fund the agreement, estimated to be worth $15 million to $30 million.

The council said the settlement "would consume substantially all of the resources," leaving the archdiocese unable to provide "proportional response to other victims," according to a statement from the archdiocese.


Radioactive material reported missing

More than 800 radioactive sources for medical treatment, research, food irradiation and other uses potential ingredients for "dirty bombs" have been lost or stolen in the United States in the past five years, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a letter released yesterday.

The NRC said it had no reason to believe the material had been stolen to be made into radioactive bombs that could force mass evacuations and potentially cause deaths.

But critics said the missing material highlighted nuclear security failings. "We've spent years trying to help the Russians control nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union, but it turns out that we have a 'loose nuke' problem right here at home," said Rep. Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who requested the information.


Software engineer jailed for piracy

Barry Erickson, 35, of Eugene, Ore., was sentenced this week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to 33 months in prison as part of an ongoing crackdown by federal agents on software piracy.

Erickson, a systems engineer for Symantec Corp., pleaded guilty Thursday to providing the "DrinkOrDie" group with copies of Symantec's software, which was then distributed on the Internet in violation of copyright agreements. Erickson acknowledged that his actions caused from $2.5 million to $5 million in damages to his company.

Federal authorities, led by the U.S. Customs Service, began raids in December on more than 100 sites nationwide for software piracy in coordination with five other countries.

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