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In brief: NTSB continues crash investigation

Juneau, Alaska – Federal investigators have finished much of their work at the site of the Alaska plane crash that killed former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and four others, and have shifted focus to interviewing survivors and hoisting the wreckage from a steep mountainside.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said the focus now turns to interviews; tightening the timeline for details on the plane’s departure, the realization it was missing, and search and rescue activities; and bringing the wrecked plane to a hangar for further inspection.

Montgomery, Ala. – Alabama’s attorney general is suing BP and others over the Gulf oil spill because he says the oil company has broken too many promises about accepting responsibility for the disaster.

Attorney General Troy King filed two lawsuits in federal court in Montgomery on Thursday on behalf of the state. The lawsuits – one against BP and the other against Transocean, Haliburton and other companies associated with the spill – seek economic and punitive damages. No specific amount was listed.

The lawsuit accuses them of damaging Alabama’s coast and economy through “negligent or wanton failure to adhere to recognized industry standards.”

BP spokesman Justin Saia said the company had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment.

King sued against the wishes of fellow Republican, Gov. Bob Riley, who hopes to reach an out-of-court settlement with the companies.

Surgeons remove senator’s tumor

Chicago – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin underwent surgery Thursday at the University of Chicago Medical Center to have a small, cancerous mass removed from his stomach, aides said.

The mass was described as a gastro-intestinal stromal tumor. The tumor was not present in the lining cells of the stomach and was completely removed, with preliminary biopsy results indicating a favorable prognosis.

Joseph Shoemaker, spokesman for the Illinois Democrat, struck an optimistic note about the surgery.

“This particular type of tumor is a rare form of stomach cancer, so it is cancer, yes,” he said.

“However, small ones such as Sen. Durbin’s can often be completely removed and the patient then runs a totally normal course,” he said.


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