May 23, 2008 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: House committee subpoenas Rove

The Spokesman-Review
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Rove
(Full-size photo)

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday subpoenaed President Bush’s former chief political adviser, Karl Rove, to testify about whether the White House improperly meddled with the Justice Department.

Accusations of politics influencing decisions at the department led to the resignation last year of attorney general Alberto Gonzales.

It’s unclear whether Rove will ever be forced to testify. The White House refuses to let him or other top aides testify about private conversations with Bush, citing executive privilege. The subpoena orders Rove to appear before the House panel on July 10. Lawmakers want to ask him about the White House’s role in firing nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, a Democrat.

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers had negotiated with Rove’s attorneys for more than a year over whether he would testify voluntarily.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Rove has failed to cooperate with our requests,” Conyers, D-Mich., said in a statement. MOUNT LAUREL, N.J.

Dog food makers to pay $24 million

Companies that were sued over contaminated pet food linked to the deaths of perhaps thousands of dogs and cats have agreed to pay $24 million to pet owners in the United States and Canada.

The settlement is detailed in papers filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden. It still needs a judge’s approval.

“The settlement attempts to reimburse pet owners for all of their economic damages,” said Russell Paul, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The deal would affect people who incurred expenses directly related to the illness or death of a pet linked to the food, which was at the center of the biggest-ever U.S. pet food recall in 2007.

Nearly 300 people sued about 30 companies in state and federal courts. They and perhaps thousands of other pet owners would be eligible for payments under the deal.

CHICAGO

McDonald’s fries finally lighten up

McDonald’s said Thursday its french fries are now trans-fat-free in all its restaurants in the United States and Canada.

CEO Jim Skinner made it official at its annual shareholders meeting at McDonald’s Corp. headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.

McDonald’s has lagged behind other restaurant operators in switching over to a zero-trans-fat cooking oil out of worries it would compromise the taste of its trademark fries. It has been under increasing pressure from consumer advocates and some public officials to make the change, but it did so quietly.

“For a few months now, customers in our U.S. restaurants have been enjoying our fried food items, including french fries, hash browns, chicken and filet of fish, as well as our biscuits, with zero grams of trans fat per labeled serving,” Skinner said.

PALM BEACH, Fla.

Picasso etchings stolen from gallery

Police say two Pablo Picasso etchings worth a combined $450,000 have been stolen from a gallery in Palm Beach.

Authorities responded to an alarm at Gallery Biba at about 3:40 a.m. Thursday. Palm Beach police spokeswoman Janet Kinsella says a glass back door had been smashed and the two etchings were missing.

She says the etchings were valued at $150,000 and $300,000. The gallery has identified the pieces as “The Frugal Meal” and “Jacqueline Lisant.”

From wire reports


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