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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Philip Morris wins $10 billion appeal

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Springfield, Ill. The Illinois Supreme Court threw out a $10 billion judgment against Philip Morris USA on Thursday, ruling that the company that makes top-selling Marlboros and other brands did not defraud customers in its marketing of “light” cigarettes.

The court reversed the verdict and sent the case back to Madison County court with instruction to dismiss the class-action lawsuit.

The state Supreme Court ruled in a 4-2 decision that the Federal Trade Commission specifically allowed companies to characterize their cigarettes as “light” and “low tar,” so Philip Morris did not improperly mislead customers about the health impacts of its cigarettes.

Guest-worker provisions to be dropped from bill

In a victory for those Republicans who advocate an immigration bill that deals only with security issues, House Speaker Dennis Hastert told his colleagues Thursday that there will be no guest-worker language in the bill expected to be voted on today.

Still to be decided was whether the House would vote on such contentious matters as whether children of illegal immigrants would continue to be citizens at birth and whether employers would have to verify the legal status of all its workers or just those hired in the future.

The overall bill tightens border security, makes it easier to deport illegal immigrants – especially those from countries other than Mexico – and requires employers to start verifying that their workers are legally entitled to work here.

NTSB: Jetliner needed to touch down sooner

Chicago A jetliner that skidded off a landing strip and into a city street needed about 800 more feet of runway to come to a safe stop, federal investigators said Thursday.

The Southwest Airlines jet crushed a car, killing a 6-year-old boy, after it skidded off a 6,500-foot runway and crashed through a fence at Midway International Airport earlier this month.

A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the airplane touched down with about 4,500 feet of runway remaining, but snowy conditions and other factors meant the plane ideally needed about 5,300 feet of runway, according to a report released Thursday.

Two children improving after reservoir collapse

Lesterville, Mo. Three young siblings whose home was swept away when a mountaintop reservoir collapsed remained hospitalized Thursday, but the conditions of two of them had been upgraded.

Tara Toop, 3, and her 7-month-old brother, Tucker, have been upgraded from critical to serious condition, said Bob Davidson, spokesman for Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. Their 5-year-old brother, Tanner, remained in critical condition.

The children were caught up in a billion-gallon torrent of water released before daybreak Wednesday by the collapse of a stone retaining wall around the upper reservoir of a southeast Missouri hydroelectric plant.

The children – the only people hospitalized because of the deluge – were suffering from hypothermia and breathing problems.