SPOTLIGHT BRIEFS

Montana, Exxon Mobil split over river oil spill

Posted July 08, 2011, at 9:49 p.m.

BILLINGS, Mont. — Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has decided Exxon Mobil and the state don’t make good roommates after nearly a week of working together in close quarters to clean up an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude oil released into the Yellowstone River.

State officials have moved out of a joint command post overseeing the response to the spill — a mess that has painted a fresh target for scorn on one of the world’s largest energy companies.

Security guards working for Exxon Mobil Corp. have closely guarded access to the command post on the second floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Billings, where the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies also are stationed.

Schweitzer says the company and EPA have defied state open government laws by denying public access.

Federal government says marijuana has no accepted medical use

LOS ANGELES — Marijuana has been approved by many states and the nation’s capital to treat a range of illnesses, but the federal government has ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a dangerous drug like heroin.

The decision, announced Friday, comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

Advocates for the medical use of the drug criticized the ruling but were elated that the Obama administration had finally acted, which allows them to appeal to the federal courts, where they be lieve they can get a fairer hearing. The decision to deny the request was made by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and comes less than two months after advocates asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to force the administration to respond to their petition.

NH woman collars burglar, makes him wait for cops

CENTER HARBOR, N.H. — A New Hampshire woman was so angry when she came home and found a burglar in her house that she grabbed the thief half her age by the collar and made him sit down while she called police.

Police say 63-year-old Linda Carr returned to her Center Harbor home Saturday to find a man walking out of her bedroom with a backpack. He tried to walk past her, but she grabbed him and made him empty his pockets, which contained her jewelry and prescription medication.

Police arrived minutes later and arrested the suspect.

Carr tells WMUR-TV she told the man “You sit there and stay there and don’t you move.” He replied, “‘I won’t.”

Authorities say 29-year-old Richard Royea was arraigned on a burglary charge and released on $25,000 bail.

Mass protests in Egypt demand reforms, speedier trials

CAIRO — Tens of thousands of Egyptians protested across the nation Friday to demand political reforms and swifter trials for police and former government officials charged with killing hundreds of demonstrators during the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The protest, one of the largest since Mubarak’s ouster, highlighted growing fears that the early gains of the revolution were slipping away under the ruling military council. The country is anxious over a new constitution, parliamentary elections and next month’s trial of Mubarak, who was depicted with a noose around his neck in posters across Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The euphoria around Mubarak’s resignation on Feb. 11 has hardened into mistrust and recrimination. Many Egyptians, weary of demonstrations and street clashes, crave quiet and stability. But activists and opposition leaders say the military and the interim government only react to demands when crowds take to the streets and face down riot police.

Men stranded 5 days at sea safely back on land

PORTLAND, Ore. — Two fishermen who spent five days lost at sea after their boat lost power off the Oregon coast are safely back ashore.

Coast Guard officials said Friday they towed the 40-foot fishing vessel to Florence, about 135 miles south of where it was reported adrift.

A search began Monday when a woman told authorities she’d gotten a text message from her son and grandson saying they were adrift near Astoria.

Officials did not immediately identify the two tuna fishermen.

On Friday, the Coast Guard said it made radio contact with the men and sent a motor lifeboat their way. The Coast Guard said in a statement the fishermen were in good health.

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