- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2008

Panel won’t subpoena Obama advisers

CHICAGO | The Illinois House committee investigating a possible impeachment of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, a Democrat, won’t subpoena two incoming White House advisers, the committee chairwoman said Saturday, shutting down a request from the governor’s attorney.

In a letter received by the committee Friday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald asked the special investigative committee not to subpoena President-elect Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, incoming Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. and Tribune Co. Executive Vice President Nils Larsen.

Mr. Fitzgerald said any such subpoenas “would interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation into the activities of Governor Rod Blagojevich and others.”

Blagojevich attorney Ed Genson had asked the committee last week to issue the subpoenas.

“The ball is in Mr. Genson’s court,” committee Chairwoman Barbara Flynn Currie, Chicago Democrat, said Saturday. “We’re not interested in undercutting the U.S. Attorney’s criminal investigation.”

Mr. Genson did not immediately respond to a call requesting comment Saturday.

Fire kills seven in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA | Dozens of Liberian immigrants mourned Saturday at a house where seven members of their community died in a fire that a survivor said started when a kerosene heater spilled fuel and exploded as it was being moved outdoors.

The blaze broke out around 10:45 p.m. Friday in a three-story brick duplex and killed three adults and four children, including a 1-year-old boy, fire department Executive Chief Daniel Williams said.

Fire officials said six victims were found huddled together in the front of the basement, one of them cradling the baby. The seventh was found near the basement door. The boy was later pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The medical examiner said three of the children died of smoke inhalation and one adult died of smoke inhalation and burns. Four people survived the fire.

Train derailment spurs bridge collapse

RENO, Nev. | A freight train derailed Saturday in northern Nevada, triggering a bridge collapse and disruptions in rail service on one of the country’s main east-west lines, Union Pacific officials said.

The derailment occurred in a remote area along the Humboldt River about 10 miles west of Carlin and 260 miles east of Reno, rail company spokeswoman Zoe Richmond said.

Thirteen cars containing grain were involved in the derailment. Ms. Richmond she was unsure how many cars the westbound locomotives were hauling. No injuries were reported.

The 102-year-old bridge spanning the river collapsed a couple of hours after the derailment, Ms. Richmond said, and railroad officials are unsure how long it will take to restore it.

The line across northern Nevada connects Oakland, Calif., and Salt Lake City, as well as other points east.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation by the rail company.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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