Friday's must-reads

By Geraldine Sealey
Published August 6, 2004 1:51PM (EDT)

At a campaign stop in Ohio, President Bush called for legislation making it easier for employers to offer workers time off instead of overtime pay, but "critics  including Kerry and labor unions  called it a backdoor effort to deny workers the overtime pay that many depend on to make ends meet," the Los Angeles Times reports. "'This administration has launched an all-out assault on overtime,' Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) said in a conference call arranged by the Kerry campaign. Despite the broad popularity of flexible work schedules, legislation to promote them has drawn so much opposition that leaders of the Republican-controlled House decided last year not to bring it to a vote."

In a class-action lawsuit, four former Halliburton employees "contend that a high-level and systemic accounting fraud occurred at the company from 1998 to 2001," the New York Times reports. "The filing accuses the company of accounting improprieties that go far beyond those outlined by the Securities and Exchange Commission in its civil suit against Halliburton, which the company settled on Tuesday, paying $7.5 million. The charges in the complaint and in the S.E.C.'s action cover the two years when Vice President Dick Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive. But he was not named as a defendant in the new filing nor in the regulatory proceeding. S.E.C. officials said Mr. Cheney provided testimony and willingly cooperated in their inquiry and his lawyer, Terrence O'Donnell, said Mr. Cheney's conduct as chief executive of Halliburton was 'proper in all respects.' He added that the S.E.C. 'investigated this matter very, very thoroughly and did not find any responsibility for nondisclosure at the board level or the C.E.O. level.'"

The Los Angeles Times reports on the Al Qaeda suspect arrested in Britain who is "suspected of having written some of the surveillance reports that prompted govern- ment officials to raise the terrorist alert in the United States, counter-terrorism officials disclosed Thursday."

"The suspect, known by the names Abu Eisa al Hindi and Abu Musa al Hindi, is believed to have carried out the surveillance of U.S. financial institutions before the Sept. 11 attacks, then written detailed assessments of the targets that were circulated to other Al Qaeda members, the officials said. Those target assessments were among the materials recovered in a raid in Pakistan last month that led to the capture of an Al Qaeda computer expert. The files included detailed information on the vulnerabilities of major U.S. financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington."

"The founder of an anti-terrorism organization whose parents' shore home was searched by FBI agents investigating the 2001 anthrax attacks was arrested and charged with assault after an altercation at a motel," the AP reports. "Dr. Kenneth M. Berry, 48, of Wellsville, N.Y., was held at the Ocean County Jail on $10,000 bail, charged with four counts of assault. Police responding to a 911 call Thursday afternoon at the White Sands Motel in Point Pleasant Beach discovered Berry being detained by an off-duty police officer and a motel employee."

Fahrenheit 9/11 is popular in Cuba, the Miami Herald reports, but not with Cuban-Americans in Florida who support Bush.

"In Cuba, where leader Fidel Castro is in a heightened war of words with President Bush, bootlegged copies of Moore's Bush-bashing documentary were shown to packed cinemas for a week, and the film was aired on state-run television July 29. In Miami and elsewhere, Cuban Americans who support Bush are vilifying Moore on Spanish-language radio, the Internet and in e-mails."

"Their objection, beyond the new film: inflammatory pieces Moore wrote about Cuban exiles in 1997 and 2000 in which he called them 'Batista supporters' and 'wimps' who were wrong not to immediately send home child-boater Elian Gonzalez. The controversy has put Cuban-American Democrats in a sensitive spot: Moore's writings about Miami exiles are sure to offend some of them, but the filmmaker's anti-Bush message resonates strongly with Democrats eager to reclaim the White House. Miami Cuban-American Gus Garcia, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Boston, said he skipped the Florida delegation's July 28 breakfast with Moore because a relative called and read him an e-mail quoting Moore's writings."

The Chicago Tribune looks at Alan Keyes' impending announcement that he'll face Barack Obama in the Illinois Senate primary and the "ideological rifts [that] finally have come to a head between conservatives and moderates within an Illinois Republican Party battered by scandal and struggling to find its vision. That it took nearly six weeks to pick someone to replace March primary winner Jack Ryan on the Nov. 2 ballot--and the machinations the GOP hierarchy went through to come up with Keyes--points to a sharply divided political organization, some Republicans say."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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