Nation Digest

NATION DIGEST

May 05, 2006

Rep. Kennedy denies drinking in crash

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy crashed his car near the Capitol early yesterday, and a police official said he appeared to be intoxicated. Kennedy, a Democrat from Rhode Island, addressed the issue after a spate of news reports. "I consumed no alcohol prior to the incident," he said in a statement. Kennedy appeared to be intoxicated when he crashed his car into a barrier on Capitol Hill early yesterday morning, said Louis P. Cannon, president of the Washington chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. No sobriety tests were conducted at the scene.

Six arrested in Big Dig scandal

Boston -- Six men who worked in Boston for the Big Dig's largest concrete supplier were arrested yesterday on federal charges alleging they falsified records to hide the inferior quality of concrete delivered for the$14.6 billion highway project. The six, all current or former employees of Aggregate Industries, face charges including making false statements, mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government between 1996 and August 2005.

Congress is told NASA has too much to do

WASHINGTON --NASA has too many tasks and too little money to maintain a vigorous science program, a situation that threatens to erode the nation's leadership in space research and the goal of eventually sending humans to Mars, the National Research Council reported yesterday. "There is a mismatch between what NASA has been assigned to do and the resources with which it has been provided," said Lennard A. Fisk, chairman of the council's Space Studies Board, which wrote the report at the request of Congress.

Limits on charities hang up tax package

WASHINGTON --A $70 billion tax package that would extend tax breaks for investors and protect 15 million middle-income families from a tax designed for the wealthy ran into roadblocks yesterday in a fight involving the tax treatment of charities. Republican negotiators from the Senate and House were at odds over language to tighten restrictions on charitable fundraising. Senate Republicans were supporting the proposal, but House Republicans consider it unnecessary government intrusion.

Miners' air packs functioned unevenly

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. --Tests on air packs recovered from the Sago Mine show that none of the devices had been used to full capacity before being discarded by the trapped miners, a federal mine safety official said yesterday. Though the devices, known as self-rescuers, activated when the 12 men tried them, testing revealed that the amount of chemicals used to create oxygen varied widely, from 25 percent to 75 percent, said John Urosek, a ventilation expert with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Congressman OKs funds for memorial

WASHINGTON --A key congressman agreed yesterday to allow the federal government to spend $5 million for a memorial honoring those killed when a hijacked plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001. Rep. Charles H. Taylor, a North Carolina Republican who is chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Interior Department, had blocked funds for the project for the past two years, saying that it might not get sufficient private donations and that the federal government would be asked to bail it out.

Ex-FBI analyst guilty of passing secrets

NEWARK, N.J. --A former FBI intelligence analyst pleaded guilty yesterday to passing classified information to plotters trying to overthrow Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The former analyst, Leandro Aragoncillo, did not name the current and former Philippine officials to whom he gave secrets. He pleaded guilty to a four-count indictment and outlined in federal court five years of passing top secret and secret information when he was a military aide to Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney and later at the FBI.

From wire reports

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