- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 11, 2003

Consumers settle suit against Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO California consumers have settled a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft for $1.1 billion, ending the contentious legal action that accused the software giant of violating the state's antitrust and unfair-competition laws.
The agreement, which still must be approved by the court, was announced last night by attorneys for the plaintiffs and Microsoft.
The settlement covers California consumers and businesses who bought Microsoft's operating system, productivity suite, spreadsheet or word-processing software between Feb. 18, 1995, and Dec. 15, 2001, for use in the state of California.
Under the deal, proceeds of the settlement will be distributed to the plaintiffs in the form of vouchers redeemable for any manufacturer's computer-related products and software.

Terror-cell suspect pleads guilty
BUFFALO, N.Y. One of six men charged with being part of a terrorist sleeper cell in western New York pleaded guilty yesterday to supporting al Qaeda by attending one of its training camps in Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks.
Faysal Galab, 26, entered the surprise plea after a daylong series of negotiations with prosecutors. He is expected to testify against the other defendants.
Galab admitted to willfully and illegally contributing support to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Galab and five other American men of Yemeni descent were indicted in October on federal charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Deal reached on homeland security bill
Congressional Republicans have struck a deal to remove certain "sweetheart" provisions from last year's homeland security bill.
The deal would eliminate part of the legislation that limited liability for vaccine manufacturers. Critics said that provision would end pending lawsuits against manufacturers of children's vaccines.
The new deal also revises part of the law that seems to direct research on homeland security specifically to Texas A&M; University, and it reverts to an earlier agreement preventing companies that move overseas to avoid tax liabilities from bidding on some government contracts.

Tax increases proposed by California governor
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Gov. Gray Davis proposed deep cuts in schools, health and welfare and called for $8.3 billion in tax increases on shoppers, smokers and the wealthy yesterday to help close a nearly $35 billion budget deficit.
The plan involves a huge shift of state health and welfare programs to local governments.
"All the tasks before me were hard, but they had to be made," said Mr. Davis, a Democrat who was grudgingly re-elected in November after a first term marked by a dramatic financial downturn and a power crisis.
The governor's long-awaited announcement sets the stage for a political battle over raising taxes in the nation's most-populous state.
Mr. Davis' plan proposes a total of $20.7 billion in budget cuts this year and next including $4.5 billion in cuts to education.

Bee Gees singer in critical condition
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. Maurice Gibb of the famed 1970s vocal group the Bee Gees suffered cardiac arrest before undergoing emergency surgery for a blocked intestine, and was in critical but stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said yesterday.
Mr. Gibb, 53, who lives in Miami Beach, was being treated in intensive care, said Mount Sinai Medical Center spokeswoman Kathleen Dorkowski. Mr. Gibb was admitted to the hospital Wednesday and underwent surgery Thursday, she said.
"Maurice has undergone surgery for an intestinal blockage. He is in a critical condition in intensive care. We are awaiting a full medical prognosis but everyone is very, very worried," a spokesman for his twin, Robin Gibb, said in a statement.

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