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USA UK and Malta News
14/03/2008 - 21:40

USA today Editoweb, 14 march 2008


Stocks retreat on credit fears - Democratic rivals agree to play nicer - `King of Torts' cops a plea - 2 states consider guest-worker programs - Grand Canyon flood created new sandbars.



Stocks retreat on credit fears
Stocks tumbled Friday after a plan to alleviate a liquidity crisis at Bear Stearns Cos. touched off concerns about the severity of credit troubles. Each of the major indexes lost more than 1.5 percent on the day, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling nearly 200 points. The plan by the New York Federal Reserve and JP Morgan Chase & Co. offers Bear Stearns relief from a sudden liquidity crunch that analysts surmised could have felled the bond house. But the company's position on the precipice of financial disaster left many investors shaken and spoiled some hopes that troubles in the moribund credit market are on the mend.

Democratic rivals agree to play nicer
On this presidential rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton can agree: They sometimes disagree with their trash-talking supporters and will try to cool it. Advisers to the Democratic candidates shed some light Friday on the private chat the two candidates had Thursday on the Senate floor. The talk lasted three or four minutes in full view of reporters watching on the balcony above who could see them talking, but not hear what they said.
"They approached one another and spoke about how supporters for both campaigns have said things they reject," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer.

`King of Torts' cops a plea
Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, the legendary trial lawyer who made Big Business tremble every time he set foot in court, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to bribe a judge — a crime that will almost surely send him to prison and perhaps spell the end of his storied legal career. Federal prosecutors are asking for the maximum of five years behind bars for the 61-year-old Scruggs, the multimillionaire "King of Torts" who combined a shrewd legal mind and the aw-shucks charm of a Southern country lawyer to extract billion-dollar settlements from the tobacco and asbestos industries, among others. He could also lose his license to practice law.

2 states consider guest-worker programs
As a labor contractor in the nation's winter lettuce capital, Francisco Chavez struggles to hire enough workers to pick and package the produce. Last year, ripe romaine sometimes went bad in the fields around Yuma, Ariz., because Chavez didn't have enough people to harvest the crop, which must be picked by hand. "That's my challenge — to get the crews," he said. Such complaints are becoming so common that lawmakers in Arizona and Colorado are considering creating their own guest-worker programs to attract more immigrant laborers.

Grand Canyon flood created new sandbars
The Grand Canyon boasts new sandbars ranging in size from small nooks and crannies to ones as large as football fields, the results of a manmade flood designed to nourish the ecosystem of the Colorado River, an official said. "On a couple of big sandbars there were already beaver tracks, bighorn sheep tracks," Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Steve Martin said. "You could see the animals already exploring new aspects of the old canyon." The three-day flood last week was designed to redistribute and add sediment to the 277-mile river in the Grand Canyon, where the ecosystem was forever changed by the construction of a dam more than four decades ago.

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