Around the Nation

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Two Dead, Five Injured In Miami Crane Collapse

MIAMI -- A section of construction crane plummeted 30 floors at the site of a high-rise condominium Tuesday, killing two workers and smashing into a home that the contractor used for storage, police said.

Five other workers were injured, one critically, at the site of the 40-plus-story condo tower on Biscayne Bay, just days after a similar accident in New York killed seven people.

The part that fell was a 20-foot section that workers had been raising to extend the equipment's reach, Miami fire spokesman Ignatius Carroll said.

Virginia Man Among 15 Pardoned by President

A Woodbridge, Va., man was pardoned by President Bush, along with 14 others. The president also commuted a Portsmouth, Va., woman's prison sentence. Most of those on Bush's list had been convicted of white-collar or drug offenses.

Richard James Putney of Woodbridge was sentenced to one year of probation in 1996 for aiding and abetting the escape of a prisoner.

With nine months left in his administration, Bush has granted 157 pardons -- fewer than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Reagan issued during their time in office.

Mayor, Ex-Aide Plead Not Guilty

DETROIT -- Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) and his former top aide pleaded not guilty to charges that they lied under oath about having an affair. The mayor and former chief of staff Christine Beatty appeared for separate hearings, and District Court Magistrate Steve Lockhart entered not guilty pleas for each of them on charges of perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office.

Air Force Lawyer to Leave Military

MIAMI -- The Air Force lawyer who quit as chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo Bay war court five months ago because of what he called political interference has asked to leave the U.S. military, he said. Col. Morris D. Davis said he submitted retirement papers last week, because of fallout from his criticism of the Guantanamo court and because of family concerns.

5 Children Die in Ark. House Fire

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Five children died in a house fire after their parents could not get to them. Fire Chief Dan White said the children were upstairs when the fire, possibly caused by a space heater, broke out, and their parents were asleep downstairs. The chief said the parents were awakened by a smoke alarm but could not get upstairs because of smoke and flames. The children ranged in age from 7 to 13.

Nebraska Retains Death Penalty

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska lawmakers rejected an attempt to repeal the death penalty, a month after courts left the state with no way to execute its killers. Twenty senators in the unicameral, officially nonpartisan Legislature voted for the bill to change the maximum penalty to life in prison without possibility of parole. Twenty-five votes were required to advance the debate.

-- From News Services

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