- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 25, 2006

State tightens mine-safety rules

FRANKFORT, Ky. — State inspectors will visit every coal mine in Kentucky at least three times a year under legislation passed in the wake of coal mine deaths in West Virginia and Kentucky.

The measure, which received final approval when it passed the state Senate on a 37-0 Friday night, also requires that breathing devices be stored in underground escape routes. It allows the state to fine coal companies for safety violations and offers job protection to whistleblowers who expose unsafe mining conditions.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a Republican, will sign the bill, spokeswoman Jodi Whitaker said.

Last year, Kentucky led the nation in the number of mine deaths with eight persons killed on the job, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Governor signs abortion ultrasound law

LANSING, Mich. — Women considering an abortion will have the chance to see ultrasound imaging of the fetus under legislation signed Friday by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, a Democrat.

Until now, Michigan law has required that women have a chance to review diagrams and descriptions showing a developing fetus, but not their own.

The new law allows, but does not require, clinics to do an ultrasound exam.

Ferry crash victim gets $9 million

NEW YORK — The city has agreed to pay nearly $9 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a former waiter and avid hiker who lost his legs in a 2003 ferry crash, lawyers said Friday.

The payout for Paul Esposito was by far the largest so far in the tragedy that killed 11 passengers and injured dozens of others. Ninety-nine of the 190 claims against the city have been settled for a total of $3.6 million, city officials said.

Mr. Esposito’s attorney, Derek Sells, said the settlement was fair, given that his client’s injuries “forever altered the way he can live his life.”

Mr. Esposito was scheduled to receive monthly payments for the next 50 years to cover medical costs and living expenses. With interest, he could collect an estimated $25.6 million during that period, Mr. Sells said.

Oral Roberts hurt in fall

OKLAHOMA CITY — University founder and evangelist Oral Roberts fell and broke his hip, Oral Roberts University officials said Friday.

Mr. Roberts, 88, broke his right hip Thursday night while on the way to the kitchen at his home near Palm Springs, Calif., according to a statement released by the university.

He was taken in an ambulance to a hospital, where he was expected to undergo surgery.

His son, Richard Roberts, was informed by a physician that the hip injury was a clean break and a full recovery is expected, the release said.

Police find bomb in car

SOUTH EL MONTE, Calif. — Explosives specialists removed a homemade bomb found in the back seat of a car early Friday after the driver was stopped for speeding in this eastern Los Angeles suburb, authorities said.

The gunpowder bomb was not connected to a detonator, sheriff’s officials said. Several industrial businesses in the area were evacuated and a main boulevard was closed for more than three hours.

Sheriff’s officials said they did not think the driver, Dung Nguy, 35, had the bomb for terrorist purposes.

Mr. Nguy was arrested on suspicion of possessing a destructive device in public and was jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail, said Lt. Jackie Fabrega of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

Infamous bathtub for sale again

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The flophouse bathtub James Earl Ray stood in to shoot Martin Luther King in 1968 is for sale on EBay for a third time.

The auction, scheduled to run for 10 days, reopened Monday with an opening bid of $7,500, D’Army Bailey, the Memphis judge who owns the tub, said Friday.

A portion of the sale’s proceeds are to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Memphis, he said.

The tub first went on sale in July 2004 and drew a bid of $152,000, but EBay removed it over concerns the item might be considered offensive, particularly to King’s family.

But the Web site’s operators later decided the item’s historic value met its guidelines. It was put up for auction a second time, but did not sell.

Mr. Bailey, one of the founders of the National Civil Rights Museum located at the site of King’s death, said he acquired the tub in 1983.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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