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INS Sued Over Investor Rules THE WASHINGTON POST -- san francisco

A group of 200 foreigners has sued the federal government, alleging the Immigration and Naturalization Service illegally changed the rules on a controversial policy granting legal immigrant status to foreigners who promise to invest at least $500,000 and create at least 10 jobs in the United States.

The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, contends the INS exceeded its authority by changing the policy in late 1997 and again last year, making it harder for some foreign investors to get final approval for their business plans and thus have their temporary resident status changed to permanent.

The INS says the program’s basic requirements remain the same, and that the changes simply clarify the rules to preclude a rash of complex financial plans that may have met the letter of the original law but, in reality, invested no money nor created jobs.

In 1990, Congress passed the controversial immigration program to spur foreign investment and job creation in the United States. It created a new visa category conferring resident status on foreigners who submitted business plans promising to create at least 10 U.S. jobs by investing at least $1 million -- or $500,000 in some high-unemployment areas -- in new or existing businesses.

To receive permanent resident status, foreign investors must demonstrate they’ve actually invested money and created jobs.

FBI Reveals It Used Potentially Incendiary Canisters in Waco Siege THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

The FBI reversed Wednesday a six-year-old position that it never used munitions capable of sparking the blaze that ended a standoff with the Branch Davidian sect near Waco, Tex., and left 76 people dead.

The acknowledgment that FBI agents fired “a very limited number” of potentially incendiary tear gas cartridges on the final day of the 51-day siege contradicts congressional testimony from high-ranking Justice Department officials, such as Attorney General Janet Reno, who said that the tear gas used against the Davidians “could not have caused a fire.”

An FBI spokesman, Paul Bresson, said Wednesday that none of its munitions started the fire on April 19, 1993, and noted that they were used hours before the inferno that consumed the Davidians’ compound. FBI officials said they still believe that Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and his followers deliberately torched the compound.

Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh have ordered “a full review of the facts and circumstances” surrounding the use of military gas canisters on that day, according to an FBI statement.


Burn victims awarded a record $4.9 billion in a lawsuit against General Motors Corp. are willing to forego most of the money if the automaker agrees to conduct a recall, their lawyers said Wednesday.

The offer was made on behalf of two women and four children severely burned when the fuel tank of their 1979 Chevrolet Malibu exploded in a rear-end collision. It came shortly before a hearing scheduled for Thursday on GM’s appeal of the jury award.

GM also has asked the judge to order a new trial.

Brian J. Panish, who represents the women and children, wrote in an Aug. 20 letter to GM Chairman John F. Smith, Jr., that his clients would accept a $4.5 billion reduction in the punitive damage award if the company recalls for repairs car models similar to the one involved in his clients’ accident. Half of the remaining punitive damage award would go to the state of California for the care and treatment of burn victims, the letter stated.

Lawyers for GM could not be reached for comment. In appeal papers, GM’s lawyers stated that the July 9 jury award was “the product of passion and prejudice,” not justified by evidence or law.