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News Briefs

Moussaoui Judge Orders Trial Delayed Until June


The conspiracy trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in this country with a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, was postponed Monday until late June because of the enormous amount of evidence Moussaoui must digest while serving as his own lawyer.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema also granted Moussaoui’s motion for larger quarters, calling his detention in a small, windowless cell “both inhumane and an unreasonable barrier to his ability to work with the materials produced to him.”

The judge ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to give Moussaoui more space at the Alexandria, Va., city jail to review the reports, computer disks, audio and video tapes gathered by the government for possible use against him.

Also Monday, prosecutors revealed more information about a business card found at the Pennsylvania crash site of United Flight 93, which the government has said contained a phone number also dialed by Moussaoui.

The government said the business card actually contained an address -- not a phone number -- used by alleged al-Qaida operative Ramzi Binalshibh in Hamburg, and that Moussaoui dialed the number for that home.

Japanese Government Replaces Top Banking Minister


An official who already serves as the minister for economics and fiscal policy will take on responsibility for cleaning up Japan’s banking sector as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi responds to growing international pressure to revive the economy.

As part of a Cabinet shake-up Monday, Koizumi fired a top economic adviser who balked at instituting aggressive financial reform measures. He reappointed a dozen ministers, including most of those holding key posts. Five were replaced, including the agriculture minister who had been criticized for his handling of Japan’s mad cow disease outbreak, and the defense minister, whose agency had been criticized for collecting data on those who submitted freedom-of-information requests.

But the most significant change was the replacement of Hakuo Yanagisawa, who as head of the Financial Services Agency was Japan’s top banking regulator. He had objected to using public money to help banks write off their nonperforming loans.

Yanagisawa’s job will be assumed by Heizo Takenaka, who will also continue in his current Cabinet post as economic and fiscal policy minister. Yanagisawa and Takenaka were known to disagree about how best to resolve Japan’s bad-loan mess.

Prosecutors Lay Out Murder Case Against Einhorn


In opening arguments Monday, a prosecutor said Ira Einhorn jealously murdered his former girlfriend in a classic case of domestic violence and even wrote a poem after he struck another ex-lover with a bottle and tried to strangle her.

The poem was titled “An act of violence,” Assistant District Attorney Joel Rosen told the jury in the trial of the onetime counterculture figure.

“Suddenly it happens. Bottle in hand I strike away at the head. In such violence, there may be freedom,” Rosen quoted Einhorn as writing.

“He had his own little bizarre philosophy of violence,” Rosen said as Einhorn stared intently at the jurors. “This defendant believed in the use of violence when breaking up a relationship.”

Einhorn, 62, fled Philadelphia just before going on trial in 1981 on charges of killing Holly Maddux and placing her body in a trunk in a closet of his apartment. He remained a fugitive in Europe until his capture in France in 1997 and managed through legal maneuvers to avoid extradition until last year.