WASHINGTON – A federal judge on Monday approved a $3.4 billion settlement over mismanaged Indian royalties in a case that represents the largest settlement ever approved against the U.S. government.
Elouise Cobell, of Browning, Mont., claimed in the 15-year-old suit that for more than a century, U.S. officials systematically stole or squandered billions in royalties intended for American Indians in exchange for oil, gas, grazing and other leases.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, in approving the settlement after a daylong hearing, said the legitimacy of Cobell’s claims could not be questioned.
“The government mismanaged these resources on a staggering scale,” Hogan said.
Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, will receive $2 million.
In a controversial decision, Hogan awarded Cobell’s lawyers a total of $99 million – less than half the $223 million they were seeking but nearly double the $50 million government lawyers had recommended.
Domain name rules ease up
LOS ANGELES – Move over, dot-com – get ready for dot-anything.
The group that governs Internet domain names is opening up the system so that companies and organizations can apply to create their own versions of .com, .org or .gov. Under the new rules, instead of a coke.com, Coca-Cola might control the domain .coke and assign Web addresses such as drink.coke or bottle.coke.
But with a price tag of $185,000, creating a new domain won’t be cheap or easy.
Grand Canyon ban to remain
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration said it intends to place a 20-year ban on new mining claims on 1 million acres of land bordering the Grand Canyon, moving to protect an area that is a critical water supply to the Southwest U.S. and where uranium mining claims have jumped 2,000 percent over the past seven years.
The ban would extend a two-year moratorium established in 2009 but set to expire July 20. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday the agency will extend it until December to allow time to complete the steps needed to enact the 20-year ban. Mines that are currently operating would be able to continue working.
Crash kills ‘Jackass’ member
Ryan Dunn, a member of the “Jackass” crew of outrageous daredevils and gross-out pranksters of MTV and movie fame, died in a car crash in a Philadelphia suburb early Monday. He was 34.
His passenger, 30-year-old Zachary Hartwell, of West Chester, also died in the accident in West Goshen Township, Pa., police said.
Authorities found Dunn’s 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 in the woods, engulfed in flames.
Speeding may have contributed to the accident, police said.
Dunn was a key cast member of the notorious series that aired on MTV from 2000 to 2002 and was controversial for its sometimes dangerous, sometimes disgusting stunts. He also appeared in the three “Jackass” movies.