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Nation in brief

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 4, 2002

Damages award in Ford case set aside

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court Tuesday nullified a $69.1-million damages award to a Nevada couple who said their 3-year-old son was killed by a Ford truck because of a defective parking brake.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Ford's liability, but said the jury should have been told the amount of the punitive damages was not meant to punish Ford for how parking brake systems may have affected people everywhere. The court said the damages were meant to punish Ford only for what happened in Nevada.

University settles anti-Semitism suit

MINNEAPOLIS -- St. Cloud State University agreed Tuesday to pay nearly $1-million over the next five years to settle allegations of anti-Semitism among administrators and professors.

The lawsuit alleged department administrators disparaged classes taught by Jewish professors to persuade students not to take the courses. The lawsuit also said Jewish faculty members were paid less, denied promotions and not given full credit for their teaching experience.

Aide to Pa. governor-elect faces heroin charge

PHILADELPHIA -- A personal aide and driver for Gov.-elect Ed Rendell was released Tuesday after being charged with heroin possession and reckless endangerment.

Charles Breslin, 45, was pulled over Monday for driving erratically. Police said a syringe, heroin and Xanax, a prescription antianxiety drug, were found in the car.

Rendell said Breslin had been expected to be part of the governor's inaugural committee but would not be now. Both charges against Breslin are misdemeanors.

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