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Nation in brief: Storms bring winds, blackouts

Sat., April 5, 2008

Strong thunderstorms toppled trees, knocked out power and damaged homes Friday across the South.

In Mississippi, fast-moving storms unleashed possible tornadoes, heavy rain and some hail. Power failures were reported in several communities, including near Vicksburg and in Jackson.

In Kentucky, rivers and streams surged over their banks as rainfall reached a half-foot in some areas.

Two-year-old Kate Hearod died Friday after her mother rounded a curve before dawn in western Kentucky, drove into high water and lost control of her vehicle, state police said.

At the North Little Rock Airport in Arkansas, several planes were damaged or destroyed after a tornado struck.


B-1B bomber crew escapes from fire

A U.S. military B-1B bomber caught fire Friday after landing at an American base in the Middle East. All crew members escaped safely.

The Air Force said the bomber was taxiing after landing at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and “was involved in a ground incident” and caught fire. The fire was contained, but no other details were available. The incident was under investigation.


Fox, Sinclair sued over unpaid fines

In an unusual move, the Justice Department sued Fox Broadcasting Co. and Sinclair Broadcast Group on Friday to collect $56,000 in fines for the broadcast of a raunchy reality show in 2003 that included scenes from bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Fox’s “Married by America” included the “thrusting of a male stripper’s crotch into a woman’s face” in one show in addition to other scenes the agency found objectionable, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In October of 2004, the FCC issued a $7,000 fine against 169 Fox-affiliated stations totaling $1.2 million.

The fines were assessed regardless of whether a complaint was lodged against a particular station. Fox challenged the FCC’s action, and last month the FCC dropped the complaints against all but 13 stations, which were the subject of actual viewer complaints.

Despite the decision, Fox, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., said it would not pay the fines because the FCC’s decision in the case was “arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with precedent and patently unconstitutional.”


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