Around the Nation

Around the Nation

Friday, March 20, 2009

Holder Tells Agencies To Open More Records

The Obama administration advised federal agencies Thursday to release their records and information to the public unless foreseeable harm would result.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. issued guidelines fleshing out President Obama's Jan. 21 order to reveal more government records to the public under the Freedom of Information Act, whenever another law doesn't prohibit release.

The new standard essentially returned to one issued by Attorney General Janet Reno during the Clinton administration. It replaced a more restrictive policy imposed by the Bush administration under which the Justice Department defended any sound legal argument for withholding records.

"We are making a critical change that will restore the public's ability to access information in a timely manner," Holder said.

Work on Space Station Proceeds

CAPE CANAVERAL -- Astronauts worked inside and outside the international space station to install the last set of solar wings, considered the top job of the space shuttle Discovery's mission. The $300 million framework holding the folded-up wings still had to be hooked up, but getting the final set of wings in place was a milestone.

Fines Levied Over Ohio Campaign

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A divided Ohio Elections Commission found that former attorney general Marc Dann violated election law by using campaign funds to pay for an expensive in-home security system and a cellphone often used for personal calls. The panel stopped short of referring Dann for criminal prosecution, however. They chose to fine the Youngstown Democrat and his campaign committee $1,000 for the security-system incident and to issue public reprimands on the cellphone issue. Dann's deputy campaign treasurer, Mary Beth Snyder, was fined $250 for her role in signing off on the system.

Guilty Plea on Dinosaur Bones

BILLINGS, Mont. -- A famed paleontologist who discovered the world's best-preserved dinosaur intends to plead guilty to stealing dinosaur bones from federal land. The change-of-plea motion from Nathan Murphy follows state and federal investigations into his alleged attempts to cash in on the highly lucrative fossil market. Murphy, 51, is a self-taught dinosaur expert.

Prison for Slaughterhouse Hiring

DES MOINES -- Juan Carlos Guerrero-Espinoza, a supervisor at an Iowa kosher slaughterhouse raided by immigration agents, has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his part in hiring illegal immigrants.

-- From News Services

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