- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 14, 2009

SUPREME COURT

Ginsburg cancer has not spread

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cancer was found at the earliest stage and has not spread beyond her pancreas, the court said Friday.

The 75-year-old justice returned to her home in Washington on Friday, after being released from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the court said.

The 1-centimeter growth that doctors initially spotted during a CT scan in late January turned out, upon analysis, to be benign. But a second, even smaller tumor found by her surgeon, Dr. Murray Brennan, during the operation was malignant, the court said. Doctors classified the cancer as early stage, or Stage 1.

Tests on Justice Ginsburg’s lymph nodes revealed no cancer and doctors found no spread of it elsewhere, the court said.

SENATE

Court deals blow to Coleman case

ST. PAUL, Minn. | The judges in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate trial said in a preliminary ruling Friday that Republican Norm Coleman has not yet shown a widespread problem with absentee voters being denied the right to vote.

The three-judge panel ordered that rejected absentee ballots from 12 of 19 categories should not be counted in the Senate race. Mr. Coleman, who is trying to undo Democrat Al Franken’s 225-vote lead, had wanted to count ballots in all but three of the categories. Mr. Coleman had argued that thousands of rejected absentee ballots were excluded inconsistently and should be counted.

“The facts presented thus far do not show a wholesale disenfranchisement of absentee voters in the 2008 general election,” wrote judges Elizabeth Hayden, Kurt Marben and Denise Reilly.

WHITE HOUSE

Concert set to honor Stevie Wonder

The White House is planning a concert next week to honor Stevie Wonder, whose music provided part of President Obama’s campaign soundtrack.

The White House says the president and first lady Michelle Obama will present Mr. Wonder a Library of Congress award on Wednesday. The concert will be broadcast the next day on PBS as part of its “Performance at the White House” series.

The longtime Motown star performed at the Democratic National Convention on the night Mr. Obama accepted his party’s nomination, performed at a concert during inauguration week and let his hits “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and “Higher Ground” be played at Obama campaign stops.

STATE

Blackwater to get new name - Xe

RALEIGH, N.C. | Blackwater Worldwide is still protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq, but executives at the beleaguered security firm are taking their biggest step yet to put that work and the ugly reputation it earned the company behind them.

The company said Friday it will no longer operate under the name that came to be known worldwide as a caustic moniker for private security, dropping the brand for a disarming and simple identity: Xe, which is pronounced like the letter “z.”

After a deadly incident in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, Iraq said it would not let the company operate and the State Department last month said it would not extend Blackwater’s contract, which expires in May.

COURTS

Coal industry wins mountaintop appeal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. | A federal appeals court overturned a ruling Friday requiring more extensive environmental reviews of mountaintop removal, a form of coal mining in Appalachia that blasts away whole peaks.

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled 2-1 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the authority to issue Clean Water Act permits for mountaintop removal coal mines without more extensive reviews. The court also overturned a related ruling that said creating ponds in streams to control sediment violated the Clean Water Act.

The rulings are a blow to environmentalists and coal field neighbors who oppose the highly efficient but destructive practice that exposes thin, shallow coal seams. Rocks, dirt and other debris typically are dumped into valleys containing intermittent streams, which is how clean water rules become involved.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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