- BP-owned Alaska oil pipeline shut after spill—



(Reuters) – The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, partly owned by BP, shut down on Tuesday after spilling several thousand barrels of crude oil into backup containers,betsey johnson handbags, drastically cutting supply down the main artery between refineries and Alaska’s oilfields.The accident comes at a difficult time for BP — the largest single owner of the pipeline operator, holding 47 percent — as it struggles to plug a gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well.The shutdown followed a series of mishaps that resulted from a scheduled fire-command system test at Pump Station 9, about 100 miles south of Fairbanks, said Alyeska Pipeline Service Co,coach factory outlets, the operator of the 800-mile oil line.The power outage triggered opening of relief valves, causing an unspecified volume of crude oil to overflow a storage tank into a secondary containment. There were no injuries, but the approximately 40 people at the work site were evacuated,bally handbags, Alyeska spokeswoman Michele Egan said.North Slope oil producers have cut their flow into the pipeline’s Prudhoe Bay intake station to 16 percent of their normal rates, Egan said. There is enough storage capacity to allow the line to be shut down for 48 hours as long as producers maintain the 16 percent flow rate, she said.It is unclear how long the shutdown will last.”We’re going to take as long as we need to make sure the site is safe before we start back up,” Egan said. Supply problems in the pipeline potentially disrupt tanker shipments to refineries.The volume of spilled oil is unknown. “We’ve estimated the spill is several thousand barrels,” she said. All has been held within the secondary containment, which has capacity to hold 104,500 barrels, she said. The amount spilled is “nowhere near” the containment area’s capacity, she added.Alyeska is a consortium owned by five oil companies. Major owners are BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil. Unocal and Koch hold minor shares.The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which runs from Prudhoe Bay to the tanker port of Valdez, normally ships about 667,000 barrels of oil daily.

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- Tribune files bankruptcy plan, lenders cry unfair—



(Reuters) – Tribune Co filed its bankruptcy reorganization plan on Monday, setting the U.S. newspaper publisher up for a showdown with a large group of lenders that called the terms “unfair” and demanded the right to propose a rival plan.The publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times and owner of television stations, including superstation WGN filed its Chapter 11 plan with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington,coach, Delaware.Tribune’s filing came four days after the company announced an accord with some creditors to resolve potential claims tied to its $8.2 billion leveraged buyout in 2007. The plan requires approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey.But on Monday, a group of roughly two dozen lenders, composed mainly of hedge funds who say they represent $3.6 billion of senior debt, said in a court filing it was “premature and misleading” for Tribune to announce an accord,coaches, which they called “dead on arrival” without their support.Among the group’s members are distressed debt investor Oaktree Capital Management LP and Goldman Sachs Loan Partners.Led by real estate investor Sam Zell, the 2007 buyout saddled Tribune with too much debt as the economy and advertising revenue declined and the Chicago-based company filed for bankruptcy protection on December 8, 2008.Tribune said its reorganization plan would value the company’s equity at $4.1 billion, give senior credit facility lenders control of 91 percent of its stock, and allow it to emerge from Chapter 11 this year.It also said approval could limit potential litigation after a bankruptcy process that has already cost it more than $100 million in professional fees.In a statement, Zell called Monday’s filing “a significant and positive step forward,” while Chief Executive Randy Michaels said in an memo to employees that the plan “gets our capital structure in order and makes our debt manageable.”"IMPOSSIBLY TAINTED,buy handbags online,” SOME LENDERS SAYBut the dissenting lending group called the proposed accord with other creditors “impossibly tainted” by Tribune’s attempt to shield Zell and others from buyout-related claims.Saying the accord gives a “free pass” to Zell, executives and creditors such as JPMorgan Chase & Co and bondholder Centerbridge Capital Advisors, the group sought court permission to offer a “fairer and less rank” alternative that does not shortchange them by at least $400 million.They also urged the judge to reject Tribune’s effort to extend through April 30 its “exclusive” period to file a reorganization plan without creditor interference.”This is a ‘settlement’ made possible with ‘other people’s money’ — specifically, that of the credit agreement lenders and other current holders of credit agreement claims left holding the bag,” the group said.The lending group said it represents 42 percent of the $8.7 billion of claims under a secured credit agreement.An official committee of unsecured creditors and distressed debt investor Angelo, Gordon & Co also support Tribune’s proposed settlement, while some junior bondholders oppose it.JPMorgan spokesman Justin Perras declined to comment. Centerbridge did not return a request for comment.Tribune said a May 20 hearing was set for Carey to consider approval of its “disclosure statement” for the Chapter 11 plan. Approval is needed before shareholders can vote on the plan.The case is In re: Tribune Co et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 08-13141.

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- Court- Ignoring bias claim is not retaliation—



(Reuters) – A federal appeals court in New York said an employer’s failure to investigate a bias complaint does not constitute retaliation for filing the accusation.Friday’s ruling by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp, a clearinghouse that provides custodial and asset servicing for about 3.5 million securities valued at nearly $34 trillion.It could also prove significant in other cases where plaintiffs accuse their employers of ignoring complaints alleging bias. The Second Circuit includes New York, where financial services companies regularly face bias lawsuits.The case was brought by Cynthia Fincher, a former DTCC auditor who sued following her June 2006 resignation.Among her claims was the DTCC created a hostile workplace that effectively forced her from her job, after ignoring her complaint to a senior official that “black people were set up to fail” in the audit unit by receiving inadequate training.Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, Judge Robert Sack said there are no “bright-line rules” to determine what is an “adverse employment action” that constitutes retaliation.But he found that “an employer’s failure to investigate a complaint of discrimination cannot be considered an adverse employment action taken in retaliation for the filing of the same discrimination complaint.”He said such a failure “will not ordinarily constitute a threat of further harm,handmade bags,” though it could support a retaliation claim if the failure were in retaliation for some “separate, protected act” by a plaintiff.Stephen Mitchell, a lawyer for Fincher, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the ruling, and would consider an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.”Telling someone who complains against unlawful discrimination that they’re not going to investigate would certainly dissuade them from complaining in the future,” he said. “How does that encourage anyone to stay at a job?”Fredric Leffler, a lawyer at Proskauer Rose LLP representing the DTCC,e bags, called the ruling a “practical holding” that “helps shield employers from frivolous claims,leather shoulder bags,” and leaves open other means for alleged bias victims to seek redress.”What the court is trying to do is say, if you make a complaint and it is not being investigated, there may be other avenues,” he said. “If human resources fails to investigate, there could still be a managing director, an ombudsman or an equal opportunity officer who may be responsive.”The case is Fincher v. Depository Trust and Clearing Corp, U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 08-5013.

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- Chicago has openings for two good men or women—



(Reuters) – Help wanted: registered voter with a conscience for position on the Chicago City Council. Salary $110,coach careers,556 a year. Ex-felons need not apply.Chicago Mayor Richard Daley decided to take a different approach to fill two vacancies on the city’s 50-member city council, posting a notice on the city’s website listing qualifications for the job.Candidates should be registered voters, have lived in the ward for a least a year and provide three letters of recommendation attesting to their community involvement. No current politicians,donna sharp handbags, tax delinquents or anyone convicted of any “infamous crime, bribery,tory burch bag, perjury or other felony” need apply.One vacancy was created when the previous office-holder pleaded guilty to illegally accepting favors from a developer.The aldermanic appointments will be the mayor’s 34th and 35th, and he has indicated he is fed up with the high rate of malfeasance in the council.”You’ve got to start somewhere,” Daley spokesman Lance Lewis said. “We want to encourage residents who are interested to apply.”

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- Factbox- Cubans get ready for private sector expansion—



(Reuters) – Cubans have started drawing up business plans as President Raul Castro looks to expand the communist-led island’s tiny private sector to kick-start the struggling economy. Many of them will depend on remittances from relatives abroad, especially the United States,makowsky handbags, to fund their new ventures.Here are some details of the new system:* According to a Communist Party document leaked to the media, Cuba will begin in October issuing 250,000 licenses for “self-employment,evening clutch bags,” a term that includes small businesses, up from the current number of 143,000.* President Raul Castro expects the beefed-up private sector to absorb most of the 500,000 state workers, or roughly 5 percent of all government employees, he plans to lay off within the next six months.* Cubans will be allowed to set up small-scale businesses such as raising rabbits and pigs, working in construction, providing transportation services and baking pastries. The creation of privately-run cooperatives will also be permitted.* The government will grant access to credit and entrepreneurs will be allowed to hire workers for the first time since all small businesses were nationalized in 1968.* Business owners will have to pay 10 to 40 percent of their gross income in taxes, depending on their occupation, plus another 25 percent for the national social security system.* As they wait for the details of the government plan to be unveiled, many Cubans have begun drawing up business plans for everything from gyms to fast-food parlors.* Remittances from family and friends in the United States and other countries are expected to help fund many of the new businesses. An estimated $1.2 billion in remittances flowed into the country in 2009,handbags sale, the majority of it from the United States, where 1.5 million Cubans reside.* A previous limited attempt to develop the private sector during the post-Soviet financial crisis of the 1990s was frozen as soon as the economy improved.

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- Illinois judge rules against Catholics on foster care—



(Reuters) – Illinois can sever ties to Catholic charities that provide foster and adoption services for the state if the groups discriminate against unmarried and gay couples when placing children, a judge ruled on Thursday.Catholic charity groups had sued in June to prevent Illinois from canceling their contracts to provide child services shortly after a state law took effect legalizing same-sex civil unions and after the attorney general opened a probe into the groups’ policies.For years, the charities have been part of a network of private child welfare agencies paid by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to help find foster and adoptive homes for children in the state in need of temporary or permanent care.The lawsuit had asked the court to rule that the charities’ long-standing policy of not placing children with unmarried couples, gay or straight, was consistent with Illinois law, including the measure legalizing gay civil unions.The suit, by groups affiliated with the Catholic dioceses of Springfield, Peoria and Joliet, also asked the court to block Illinois from canceling contracts they had held for four decades without more extensive judicial review.But Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Schmidt ruled state officials were free to cancel the annual contracts.”No citizen has a legally recognized right to a contract with the government,canvas bag,” Schmidt said. “The fact that the plaintiffs have contracted with the state to provide foster care and adoption services for over 40 years does not vest the plaintiffs with a protected property interest.”FOLLOWING THE LAWThe Illinois attorney general’s office welcomed the ruling, with spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler saying it would ensure that the state’s laws would be followed.But Catholic groups blasted the decision.Bishop Daniel Jenky, the head of the Diocese of Peoria, said in a statement that the unwillingness of DCFS to make an exception for religious groups suggested that “important elements of the political establishment in the state of Illinois are now basically at war with the Catholic community and seem to be destroying their institutions.”Kendall Marlowe, deputy director of DCFS,coach handbags, said Catholic Charities has been one of the better quality care providers in Illinois, but that does not excuse them from following state law.”We don’t want to see them leave the field, but the law has changed in Illinois and all child welfare agencies have to respect civil unions,” he said.”While it may be unfortunate that we have to make this transition, we will be able to make this transition without significant disruption for these children.”Of the 15,400 children in foster care in Illinois,perlina handbags, more than 2,000 were housed through Catholic Charities.Marlowe said the state should be able to place those children into new foster homes by the fall. The children would be moved to homes licensed by the 45 other private agencies with whom the state works.

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- New CDC guidelines stress quick treatment for H1N1—



(Reuters) – Patients who have flu-like symptoms and are having trouble breathing should get quick treatment with the antiviral drugs Tamiflu or Relenza, even before getting a flu test, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.And doctors should consider setting up a system so that patients most likely to become severely ill from H1N1 swine flu have a prescription on hand so they can just call up to get the go-ahead to take the drugs if they develop symptoms, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.”Treatment should not wait for laboratory confirmation of influenza because laboratory testing can delay treatment and because a negative rapid test for influenza does not rule out influenza,” the CDC says in updated guidelines, available here”The very young and very old, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women in general ought to be treated with antivirals when they have an influenza-like illness,” the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters.But most people will not need any treatment at all for H1N1 because most of those infected so far have recovered on their own. “They can be cared for with mom’s chicken soup at home, lots of fluids and rest,leather handbag,” Schuchat said.The latest guidance suggests officials are keen to make sure people who need it get very quick treatment, while making sure people who do not need the drugs do not abuse them.Both GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza and Roche AG’s Tamiflu can help save the lives of patients severely ill with any influenza, if given within a day or so of symptoms starting. They can also ease the misery of milder cases and even prevent flu if people take it just after exposure.DEVELOPING RESISTANCEBut supplies are not infinite and health officials worry that the more people take them, the quicker the virus will evolve resistance, rendering them useless. Two older flu drugs, amantadine and rimantadine, are already useless against seasonal flu.The CDC is clear that some people should take the drugs prophylactically — to prevent infection. That includes some healthcare workers and people with high-risk conditions such as asthma who know they were in close contact with an infected person.But the new guidance adds an option to watch and see if the person gets a fever. “Instead of the preventive use of antivirals, clinicians may consider watchful waiting,” Schuchat said.A vaccine against H1N1 swine flu is being tested but will not be available until mid-October. The CDC recommends that about 160 million people line up for the first doses starting then.”Virtually all the influenza circulating now in the United States is the 2009 H1N1 strain,” Schuchat said. It has not mutated and the vaccine is still a good match, she said.She said only a handful of cases of resistance to Tamiflu,football coach jobs, known generically as oseltamivir, have been reported.In the United States, 24 elementary, middle or high schools closed because of H1N1 outbreaks last week, letting 25,000 students out of class. The CDC advises against closing schools unless so many students or staff become ill that the school is overwhelmed.The virus “is causing increased disease and it is time to pay attention,leather bags,” Schuchat said.(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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- Country star Merle Haggard home from hospital—


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(Reuters) – Country music singer Merle Haggard was resting at home in Northern California on Friday after a long stint in a Georgia hospital, his publicist Tresa Redburn said.Haggard, 74, was hospitalized on January 17 for treatment of double-pneumonia. While in the hospital in Macon, Georgia,clutch bag, doctors discovered a number of other conditions for which Haggard needed treatment.Redburn said Haggard flew home Thursday and she had no update on his condition Friday.Haggard went to the hospital after his illness forced him to cancel a show in Macon just moments before taking the stage.Doctors had the double-pneumonia pretty much cleared up earlier this week. The singer stayed in the hospital to recover after eight polyps were removed from his colon and for treatment of three stomach ulcers and diverticulitis in his esophagus, all of which were discovered by the Macon medical staff, said Redburn.Early this week Haggard credited the Macon medical team for “probably saving my life,” Redburn said.Haggard had to cancel the remainder of his January tour. Haggard is planning to resume his tour February 28 in Tucson, Arizona,bag, Redburn said. Missed dates are being rescheduled in April, she said.Haggard is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. With influences ranging from Lefty Frizzell to Bob Wills to Jimmie Rodgers, Haggard is an architect of country music’s so-called “Bakersfield Sound.”He is best known for songs such as “Mama Tried,” “Okie from Muskogee” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me.”(Editing by Greg McCune)

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- Feds oppose separate trials in insider trading case—



(Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Friday opposed a request by accused Galleon fund founder Raj Rajaratnam and his main co-defendant for separate trials in what prosecutors have described as the biggest hedge fund insider-trading case ever in the United States.Federal prosecutors said Rajaratnam and former New Castle Funds LLC trader Danielle Chiesi engaged in a common plan to obtain inside information from multiple sources and shared and exchanged that information with each other, according to court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan,.”Rajaratnam’s and Chiesi’s illegal insider trading schemes share a substantial identity of facts and participants — Rajaratnam and Chiesi engaged in insider trading in the same stocks, during the same time period, based on the same inside information obtained from the same sources,” prosecutors wrote in a memorandum.The pair also face trial on civil fraud charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission along with about 20 other former traders,coach store outlet, lawyers and executives in a purported network that stretched from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.Prosecutors have accused Rajaratnam of making $45 million, in profits or avoided losses, from illegal trading based on confidential tips, and they have alleged that Chiesi made $4 million.Much of the government evidence was gathered using wiretaps and cooperators. Ten out of 21 people charged have pleaded guilty to fraud charges.Eight of those, some of them Rajaratnam’s former friends and business associates or onetime Galleon employees, have signed cooperation agreements with federal prosecutors and may be called to testify.The case is U.S. v. Rajaratnam et al,designer clutch bags, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York,lifestyle coach, No. 09-01184.

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- At U.S. trial, Pakistan links to Mumbai attacks examined—



(Reuters) – An American who has admitted scouting targets for the 2008 assault on Mumbai by Pakistani militants testified on Monday that the plot was hatched with at least one Pakistani intelligence official and a navy frogman.At a trial for a Chicago businessman accused of providing a front for his surveillance work in India, David Headley testified to getting help and guidance from two officers in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, the ISI.Headley pleaded guilty last year to being a co-conspirator in the Mumbai attacks, in which 10 militants from the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) killed 166 people, including six Americans.On the stand as a star witness in the case against his childhood friend, Tahawwur Rana, a Pakistan-born Canadian citizen, Headley said he was recruited by LeT and shuttled between India, Pakistan and the United States performing surveillance and briefing his contacts and Rana.The 50-year-old Headley said he was introduced to a retired Pakistani military officer at a mosque, and reported regularly to his LeT handlers and an ISI officer named “Major Iqbal.”"These groups operated under the umbrella of ISI … they coordinated with ISI,” Headley testified under questioning by prosecutor Daniel Collins.Rana, 50, is accused of using his immigration services firm in Chicago to provide a cover story for Headley’s surveillance work and to be a conduit for communication with militants.His trial comes at a time of growing discord in the United States about Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism after the United States discovered and killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a compound near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.Pakistani authorities deny having known where the man behind the September 11 attacks was hiding, but the revelation raised U.S.-Pakistani tensions and increased interest in who may have known what about the Mumbai attacks.U.S. prosecutor Sarah Streicker said that although Rana did not carry a gun or throw a grenade, he was complicit in the violence in India’s financial capital.Some Pakistanis accused in the case but not in U.S. custody knew about Rana and were “appreciative of his assistance,” she said in her opening statement to the jury in U.S. District Court in Chicago. At one point after the 2008 attack, Streicker said Rana told Headley, “The Indians deserved it.”SCOUTING MUMBAIA defense attorney for Rana tried to challenge Headley’s credibility, suggesting that he changed his story repeatedly and duped Rana. “Headley told his own wife after the attack that ‘I acknowledge that I made a fool out of (Rana),’” said defense attorney Charles Swift.Swift said the militants had tried and failed twice before to launch the attack on Mumbai by hijacking Indian fishing boats — crashing one onto rocks and letting the other escape.Headley, who has been convicted twice of importing heroin into the United States, told the court he had wanted to wage war against India in the disputed territory of Kashmir but was advised he would get another assignment, which turned out to be scouting Mumbai. He was directed to change his given name, Daood Gilani,fashion handbags, for easier travel in India.Arrested on a trip to Pakistan’s northeast while seeking an old contact who could help smuggle weapons into India,giani bernini handbags, Headley said he was freed after explaining to an ISI officer named “Major Ali” about his training and ties to LeT.He also told the court that he had suggested to an LeT operations chief named Zaki that a lawsuit be filed against the United States for labeling LeT a terrorist organization.”Zaki said we would have to take ISI into confidence before making such a move … He meant to consult with ISI,” he said.Headley said he was asked to shoot video of luxury hotels, Mumbai’s bus and train terminals, the headquarters of the right-wing Shiv Sena political party and of the coastline. He was provided a GPS device to mark locales and targets.Headley recalled how he pleased his handlers with his surveillance work and settled a dispute about where to land by suggesting a spot by some fishermen’s shanties, across from a taxi stand. Among those plotting the seaborne assault was a Pakistani navy frogman, Headley said,cute messenger bags, who agreed with his assessment.Iqbal gave him $25,000 for expenses and requested he scout an Indian nuclear research facility.He was told not to get close to Indians he befriended, and not to press his forehead down too hard during Muslim prayers to avoid leaving a mark and giving away his identity.Rana — who faces the possibility of life in prison — and Headley were also charged with participating in a second plot with Pakistani militants. That plot, never carried out, allegedly targeted a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed which angered many Muslims.(Editing by Jeremy Pelofsky and Christopher Wilson)

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