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In brief: Final Grace trial charges dropped

MISSOULA – Federal prosecutors Monday moved to dismiss charges against the final defendant in the Libby asbestos trial, a month after a Montana jury acquitted several of his former co-workers.

O. Mario Favorito was one of several former W.R. Grace & Co. employees accused of criminally conspiring to cover up the health risks of asbestos contamination from the Maryland-based company’s asbestos mining operations in Libby.

Favorito’s case was severed from the others in July 2006. He had been scheduled to go on trial in September.

Fetus case charges grow more severe

HILLSBORO, Ore. – A woman accused of cutting a fetus out of another woman after they met during a search for baby clothes on the Internet has been indicted on aggravated murder charges.

Korena Roberts, 27, had been facing a lesser murder charge before a grand jury indicted her Monday on four counts of the more serious charges, which carry a potential death penalty.

Musician ends run for county clerk

CATHLAMET, Wash. – Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic says his protest candidacy for Wahkiakum County clerk is over.

He says he was just trying to make a point and has officially withdrawn from the race.

Earlier this month, he started his campaign to protest Washington state’s system of letting candidates pick their own party affiliation.

Novoselic, who lives in tiny Deep River, is the head of his local chapter of the Grange, a civic organization. His election paperwork declared that he was running under the “Grange Party” banner, even though the Grange isn’t a political party.

Man with swine flu third death in state

SEATTLE – Health officials in King County say a man in his 70s with a confirmed case of swine flu has died.

As of Monday, the state Department of Health Web site lists three swine flu-related deaths in Washington and notes that 50 state residents have been hospitalized with the illness.

The Seattle-King County Health Department said Monday the Seattle man who died Thursday had been hospitalized. They say the man had “multiple underlying health conditions” but declined to be more specific because of privacy rules.

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Sen. Maria Cantwell says governments should not be on the hook for coal mine cleanups

UPDATED: 12:25 p.m.

updated  WASHINGTON – Congress should end a practice that puts the federal government and states at risk of paying for expensive coal mine cleanups when mining companies go bankrupt, according to a new finding by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO, an investigative arm of Congress, is recommending that lawmakers eliminate the ability of coal mine owners to self-certify their financial wealth, known as “self-bonding.” The controversial process lets owners avoid putting up collateral or getting third-party surety bonds – a requirement of companies in every other energy sector.