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News Briefs

States Fail To Meet No-Smoking Goals For Women

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Tobacco-related diseases are still the leading cause of preventable death in women, and most states are not meeting the nation’s goals to discourage women from smoking, according to a report being released on Tuesday by the National Women’s Law Center and Oregon Health and Science University.

Thirty-nine states earned a failing grade when judged by a list of criteria from the Department of Health and Human Services and on the strength of their tobacco control policies. The nation overall also earned a failing grade.

“Where we are in the United States is pretty appalling,” said Dr. Michelle Berlin, an author of the study with Oregon Health and Science’s Center for Women’s Health. “The link between smoking and lung cancer is one of the strongest we know of. Yet more women are dying from lung cancer each year than they are from breast cancer.”

“This reminds us that we have a long way to go with regard to tobacco use among women,” said Dr. Corinne Husten, chief of epidemiology at the office on smoking and health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It reinforces the need for comprehensive state tobacco control programs.”

Blair Faces Fight To Salvage His Government

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND

Early in his tenure, Prime Minister Tony Blair faced an explosive charge that his government did a political favor in return for a $1.5 million party donation.

He went on television and said, “I think that most people who have dealt with me think that I am a pretty straight sort of guy.”

Just like that, the crisis was over.

On Monday, his Labor Party, sullen and rebellious, meets in this Channel resort for its annual conference, and trust is no longer so easy to come by. Blair is fighting for his political life.

“‘Trust me’ will only remind a skeptical nation of the last time they did,” said Jonathan Freedland, a columnist at The Guardian, referring to the British government’s attempt to justify the war in Iraq by saying Saddam Hussein had unconventional weapons.

Only six years ago, Blair won a landslide election, the leader of a party rebranded as “New Labor.”

But New Labor’s original stated purpose was to reform the creaking British welfare state, and polls show that voters are even more disenchanted with Blair’s performance at home than with his actions abroad.

U.S. Charges Islamic Leader Who Met Bush

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- ALEXANDRIA, VA.

A prominent Islamic leader who has met with President Bush and been an aggressive defender of militant Middle East causes was charged on Monday in connection with possible terrorist financing.

The leader, Abdurahman Alamoudi of Falls Church, Va., was detained on Sunday at Dulles International Airport in Virginia after a flight from London.

Federal prosecutors said Alamoudi had been arrested for making illegal trips to Libya and for accepting money from the Libyan government.

Alamoudi, a naturalized American citizen, was born in Eritrea and moved to the United States from Yemen in 1979. He is a former executive director of the American Muslim Council and is the president of the American Muslim Foundation. Those advocacy groups are based in Alexandria, Va., and Washington.

Last year, the American Muslim Foundation was among about two dozen Muslim groups, most in Northern Virginia, that were raided by customs agents looking for evidence of terrorist financing.

Alamoudi recently said he was the first person authorized by the Pentagon to nominate candidates to be Muslim chaplains.

That process is now being re-evaluated because of the arrest of a Muslim chaplain, on suspicion of spying, at the prison for militants and suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Alamoudi stopped certifying chaplains several years ago.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Stepping up its involvement in the legal conflict over file sharing, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a motion to stop attempts by the music industry to get the name of a Boston College student who is accused of being a large-scale file trader.

In court papers that were filed on Friday and will be announced on Monday, the group said that Boston College should not be forced to reveal the identity of the student.

The civil liberties group argued that the constitutional rights of its client, referred to as Jane Doe, would be violated if her college, which was also her Internet service provider, were forced to reveal her name.

The industry subpoena “seeks to strip Jane Doe of her fundamental right to anonymity,” according to the group’s court filings.

The industry subpoena is one of many recently filed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a law that gives copyright holders broad powers to get the names of suspected infringers from Internet service providers.

But the civil liberties suit claims that the subpoenas, which can be issued with little judicial oversight or involvement, go beyond even what the law allows.

The group also claims that the law itself is unconstitutional, because it does not provide for the judicial review of requests or notification of the target of the investigation.