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Carbofuran banned for food crops

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule Monday banning the use of the pesticide carbofuran on food crops, saying it poses an unacceptable health risk, especially to children.

The insecticide, sold under the brand name Furadan, has been under EPA review for years. Its granular form was banned in the mid-1990s because it was blamed for killing millions of migratory birds. The agency began its effort to remove the pesticide completely from the market in 2006.

Furadan is manufactured by Philadelphia-based FMC Corp., which has fought the ban. In March, the company voluntarily scaled back its uses, in hopes of heading off broader restrictions.

The EPA said it was revoking all allowable tolerance levels for carbofuran on food crops, including those imported, and in the coming months will move to ban the chemical’s use altogether, including on nonfood crops, because of risks to farm workers and to the environment.

The ban goes into effect at the end of the year.

New York

Lawyer admits $400 million fraud

A prominent Manhattan lawyer has pleaded guilty to defrauding hedge funds of more than $400 million.

Fifty-eight-year-old Marc Dreier on Monday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. The charges carry a potential prison term of 30 years to life in prison.

Dreier headed his own firm, Dreier LLP, with 250 attorneys.

He was first arrested in Canada on impersonation charges after hedge funds complained he was stealing from them. Freed in Canada on bail, he flew to New York City, where he was arrested by federal authorities at the airport.

Authorities say Dreier received $670 million between 2004 and 2008 from the sale of fictitious securities.


Skilling seeks high court review

Former Enron Chief Executive Officer Jeff Skilling wants the U.S. Supreme Court to review convictions for his role in the collapse of what was once the nation’s seventh largest company.

Skilling attorney Daniel Petrocelli said an appeal was filed Monday asking the nation’s high court to consider whether the federal “honest services” fraud statute was applied correctly. The filing also questions whether Skilling received a fair trial without a change of venue.

In February, similar claims were rejected without a hearing by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Skilling sought the New Orleans review after a three-judge panel there upheld all 19 of his 2006 convictions of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors involving the 2001 collapse of Enron.

Skilling is serving a 24-year prison term that will be reduced after a federal ruling that a sentencing guideline was improperly applied.

From wire reports

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