Bush, Pope among nominees for 2004 Nobel Peace Prize

President Bush, along with Pope John Paul II and two U.N.
officials involved in the search for Saddam Hussein’s weapons
of mass destruction, are two of 144 individuals and 50
organizations nominated for the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. Yesterday
was the final deadline.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair — who joined the Bush
administration in supporting the war in Iraq was also


Gay marriages bring misdemeanor charges on mayor

The mayor of New Paltz, N.Y. was indicted on 19 criminal
accounts for initiating ceremonies for same-sex couples yesterday.
According to Ulster County domestic relations law, Mayor Jason West
committed a misdemeanor for performing the rites for couples
without licenses, Ulster County District Attorney Donald Williams
said. The maximum penalty West faces is one year in prison.


Granholm expected to approve 10 environment bills

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is likely to sign a group of bills she
received yesterday that would set guidelines on out-of-state trash
dumped in Michigan and impose a two-year moratorium on new
landfills in the state. The state Senate unanimously passed the 10
bills, which include one that would expand the powers of the
Michigan Department of Environmental Equality.


Court denies states power to regulate phone firms

An appeals court yesterday rejected federal rules giving states
more authority to determine which companies may offer local phone
service within their borders.

The three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of Appeals in the
District of Columbia unanimously sided with former Bell companies
Verizon, BellSouth, SBC and Qwest. They claimed the rules adopted
by the Federal Communications Commission forced them to give
competitors access to their networks at artificially low

It’s the third time the commission’s attempts to
write rules for local telephone service competition have been
rejected by the courts. The latest ruling decried the FCC’s
“apparent unwillingness to adhere to prior judicial

At issue is how to spur competition for local telephone service,
which Congress mandated in 1996.


Greenspan: Weak dollar will help U.S. trade deficit

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday that a
weak U.S. dollar would most likely assuage the nation’s trade
deficit. The dollar’s reduced value makes U.S. goods
increasingly cheap for foreign consumers, while making domestic
goods more expensive to Americans. The U.S. account deficit reached
$550 billion last year, forcing the United States to borrow from
foreign creditors.


9-11 commission may receive extension on work

Dennis Hastert, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives,
said yesterday he expects passage of legislation granting the
federal panel reviewing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks more time to
complete its job.

The panel, known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks
Upon the United States, was originally scheduled to release data
May 27 concerning the U.S. response to the tragedy. Members of
Congress have asked for a two-month extension of that deadline.


Mich. caucuses second-largest in state history

The Michigan Democratic Party announced that this year’s
state caucuses on Feb. 7 drew 163,769 voters, making it the second
largest turnout for a presidential caucus in Michigan history.

Party Executive Chair Mark Brewer expressed his excitement about
the turnout saying, “We are extremely pleased at the energy
and enthusiasm shown by Michigan voters for all of the Democratic
candidates. Michigan Democrats are now ready to unite behind a
Democratic presidential nominee and defeat George W. Bush on Nov.


— Compiled from staff and wire reports

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