Watercooler Stories

By United Press International   |   June 25, 2004 at 6:30 AM
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Suspended British DJ back on air

LONDON, June 24 (UPI) -- A British disc jockey who was suspended for playing Cliff Richard songs has been reinstated after fans deluged the station with requests for Richard's music.

Tony Blackburn will go back to work Friday and Richard will be added to Classic Gold Digital's play list, Britain's Telegraph reported Thursday.

"We have to listen to our listeners, or they won't listen to us," said Paul Baker, the station's head of programming. "It's quite obvious now that they want to hear Cliff Richard on the station, so that's what we'll do."

The controversy erupted when Blackburn ignored management's orders not to play the veteran rocker's music because it did not fit the station's oldies play list.

Blackburn said he is happy the dispute has been settled.

Canucks' Bertuzzi hit with assault charge

VANCOUVER, June 24 (UPI) -- Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks was charged Thursday with assault and causing bodily harm against Colorado's Steve Moore in a March 8 game.

He has been ordered to appear in Vancouver's provincial court on July 9.

After the incident, the NHL suspended Bertuzzi for the remainder of the regular season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. In addition, Bertuzzi's eligibility for next season will be determined by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman prior to the start of training camp.

Bertuzzi's only public comment since the incident was a tearful apology two nights after the incident.

Colorado was leading, 8-2, in the third period when the 6-3 Bertuzzi grabbed Moore, hit him on the head and fell on him, driving his head into the ice.

Moore, 25, suffered a concussion, a neck fracture and facial lacerations and abrasions. It was not known when Moore would return to the ice.

U.S. extends its own Iraq immunity

WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is bypassing the United Nations and is granting its own forces immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the June 30 handover of control.

U.S. administrator Paul Bremer is expected to extend by at least six months an order that gives all foreign personnel in the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority immunity from "local criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction and from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their parent states."

The administration's move comes at a time when issues of immunity are particularly sensitive in light of the scandal over the abuse of U.S. detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Washington Post said.

Wednesday, the administration withdrew a U.N. Security Council draft resolution seeking a one-year extension of immunity when it became clear the resolution would not get the nine votes needed on the 15-member council.

Diplomats told the Washington Times members were reluctant to endorse the extension after widespread reports of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Report: Bad air choking national parks

WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- A report released Thursday by a coalition of conservation groups says bad air is choking several national parks, CNN reported.

It said almost all the pollution comes from outside sources, such as vehicle exhaust, and emissions from nearby factories and power plants.

The report also said air quality in the national parks has improved little since clean air laws were strengthened by Congress in 1990.

The report was issued by the National Parks Conservation Association, the Appalachian Voices and Our Children's Earth.

It ranked the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina as the most polluted. It said unhealthy ozone levels in the park exceeded those found in cities like Washington and New York.

Other parks named in the report were Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Acadia National Park in Maine and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks in California.

"Unless we do something to strengthen the Clean Air Act -- which won't include the President's Clear Skies Plan -- not only will we see ozone get worse, but (so will) the acidification of streams and soils and the cascade of ecological effects," said spokesman Harvard Ayers.

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