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Nation in brief

Briefs in admissions case set record

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 19, 2003

WASHINGTON -- In a record outpouring of support, more than 60 national organizations came to the defense of the University of Michigan on Tuesday, telling the Supreme Court that racial diversity has become an integral part of American life and must be preserved.

Never before had so many friend-of-the-court briefs been filed on one side of a dispute before the Supreme Court, which on April 1 will hear two cases involving undergraduate and law school admissions to the Ann Arbor campus.

At least 63 corporations, more than 100 universities, retired military leaders, labor unions, civil rights and religious groups and nearly 14,000 law students signed briefs that endorsed the continued use of race-based affirmative action.

Hearing set in death of teens

NEW YORK -- The supervisor of a 911 operator accused of improperly handling a distress call from four drowning teenagers faces a hearing on a charge of failing to follow police procedure.

The Police Department filed the administrative charges last week against the supervisor, who could be demoted or even dismissed because of the charges, police officials said.

The teenagers placed a frantic, 12-second 911 call on Jan. 24, telling the operator that their rowboat was "taking on water" in Long Island Sound. The operator consulted the supervisor after trying unsuccessfully to enter Long Island Sound as the location of the call. The two decided that they did not have enough information to dispatch help.

As a result, efforts to rescue the teens did not begin until the following day, when their parents reported them missing.

Fifth victim of plant blast dies

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A man burned in last month's explosion at a North Carolina plastics factory died Tuesday, bringing the death toll to five.

Three people died Jan. 29, the day of the explosion and raging fire at the West Pharmaceuticals Services plant in Kinston. A fourth victim died Jan. 31.

The latest victim, Milton Murrell, died at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center. Four other patients remained in critical condition.

10 years given in beating death

MILWAUKEE -- The oldest defendant in the fatal mob beating of a 36-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison.

Antonio Albert, 33, expressed remorse for the death of Charlie Young Jr. Albert had pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless homicide.

Young was beaten by a mob of mostly youngsters Sept. 29 and died Oct. 1. He was chased and beaten with broomsticks, shovels, a folding chair and a milk crate after a confrontation with one of the youngsters.

Ten juveniles were charged as adults with reckless homicide. Several have pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

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