Nation & World Digest

November 10, 2007

Strike could close Broadway shows

NEW YORK -- Broadway's stagehands plan to go on strike today, capping more than three months of unsuccessful negotiations with theater owners and producers, according to two people who have been briefed on the decision. Local 1, the stagehands' union, was told last night by its parent union to walk out, the people said. The strike would be the second work stoppage on Broadway in less than five years. The musicians' strike in 2003, which lasted for four days, was the first time since 1975 that Broadway was shut down by a labor dispute. All Broadway shows would be shut down except for eight: Cymbeline, Mary Poppins, Mauritius, Pygmalion, The Ritz, Young Frankenstein, Xanadu and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Those shows are playing in theaters that have a separate contract with the union.

Mukasey is sworn in as attorney general

WASHINGTON --Retired federal Judge Michael B. Mukasey was sworn in yesterday as the nation's 81st attorney general, filling a vacancy left when Alberto R. Gonzales resigned amid questions about his credibility. Mukasey, 66, was sworn in at a private Justice Department ceremony, about 16 hours after he narrowly won Senate confirmation late Thursday night.

Kurd rebel group `open to dialogue'

ANKARA, Turkey --A Kurdish guerrilla group whose northern Iraq bases Turkey has threatened to attack said yesterday that it was "open" to discussing a political settlement that could lead to laying down arms. The Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, said it was "open to dialogue based on a political project to start a process which will totally exclude arms," according to the Firat news agency, which is close to the group. Though it proposes trying to solve the Kurdish question peacefully, PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Some officials say 72 died in Afghan blast

KABUL, Afghanistan --New reports pushed the death toll in Tuesday's suicide attack on a parliamentary delegation in northern Afghanistan to at least 72 yesterday, according to the Education Ministry, driven by an increase in the number of students killed to 59. But the provincial governor, Mohammad Alam Rasikh, said the toll was 54 dead and 106 wounded. In either case, it was the deadliest suicide attack to date in Afghanistan, which has increasingly been racked by such attacks, all claimed by or attributed to the resurgent Taliban.

China stops exports of chemical-dot toys

BEIJING --China's government has suspended exports of toys covered with a toxic chemical that have been subject to recalls in many countries after sickening children, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. The government's quality control administration issued the export ban, sealed the toys at the sites where they were produced and ordered an investigation, Xinhua said in a brief report late yesterday. The toys, which are sold as Aqua Dots in the United States and as Bindeez in Australia, were recalled in those countries as well as Britain, Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere this past week after tests showed they were coated with the industrial chemical 1,4-butanediol. When ingested, the chemical metabolizes into the "date-rape" drug gamma hydroxy butyrate.

N.J. might abolish its death penalty

TRENTON, N.J. --Lawmakers in New Jersey, which hasn't executed anyone in 44 years, will decide within two months whether to wipe the death penalty off the books, legislative leaders said yesterday. If approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jon Corzine, a death penalty opponent, the move would make New Jersey the first state to abolish capital punishment since the Supreme Court reinstated it in 1976.

From wire reports

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