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Nation in brief

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 14, 2002

Judge blocks New York mass transit strike

NEW YORK -- A judge on Friday barred city transit workers from carrying out a threatened strike that would paralyze the city's mass transit system and strand 7-million daily riders.

Justice Jules Spodek ruled that a state law clearly bans strikes by public employees. The ruling was issued as the transportation authority and the union continued round-the-clock negotiations at a hotel, trying to avert a shutdown of the nation's largest public transportation system.

Calif. mayor charged

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Mayor Tom Bates has been charged with an infraction for trashing hundreds of copies of the University of California at Berkeley's student newspaper the day it endorsed his opponent, prosecutors said.

The infraction, announced Thursday, is punishable by a fine up to $250, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Bates, 64, is expected to appear in court Jan. 8 and plead guilty, said his attorney, Malcolm Burnstein.

Sniper suspect's mother deported

SEATTLE -- The mother of teenage sniper suspect John Lee Malvo has been deported to Jamaica, a federal official confirmed Friday.

The Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that Una James, 38, was en route to Jamaica, her home country. She left Seattle on Thursday night for Miami and was to be flown Friday from there to Jamaica, the official said.

Immigration and Naturalization Service officers took James into custody Tuesday.

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