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News Briefs

Defense Suggests More Suspects Aided Oklahoma City Bomb Plot

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- MCALESTER, OKLAHOMA

A persistent cast of mystery men joined the elusive “John Doe No. 2” as defense lawyers on Thursday began their effort to sow doubts that Terry L. Nichols was Timothy J. McVeigh’s sidekick in the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building nine years ago.

With the trial that could end in Nichols’ execution now at its midpoint, witnesses opening the defense phase on Thursday told of spotting at least three other possible associates of McVeigh as the plot moved toward the explosion on April 19, 1995, that killed 168 people.

Two of the strangers -- one described as wearing the same distinctive baseball cap depicted by the FBI in the sketch of a man supposedly accompanying McVeigh to the Ryder agency where he rented the truck for the bombing -- were placed by witnesses at a motel where McVeigh stayed in Junction City, Kan.

Nichols, 49, in his regular uniform of gray blazer and white shirt, looked on impassively and at times with a fierce wide-eyed stare, occasionally jotting notes and leaning over to whisper to one of his three lawyers. He did not doze as he appeared to do last week during graphic accounts of the recovery of the remains of 19 children that left jurors weeping.

Massachusetts Aims To Cut Emission Of Greenhouse Gases

THE BOSTON GLOBE

Governor Mitt Romney plans to unveil a comprehensive agenda on climate change Thursday, which officials said would make Massachusetts the first state to consider the impact on greenhouse gases when state regulators evaluate highway projects and other public construction plans.

Massachusetts, which was the first state to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, would go further by basing its transportation planning and funding decisions in part on the greenhouse gases that projects would produce. The plan also suggests giving the owners of hybrid cars tax breaks and the right to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes even without passengers.

The Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan represents the state’s effort to meet regional emissions goals that New England’s governors and Eastern Canada’s premiers embraced in 2001.

The plan was cheered by environmental groups, which had hoped for a strong signal that Romney would extend the previous administration’s efforts to limit greenhouse gases.

“Governor Romney is making it clear that he understands that failure to act on climate change is not an option,” said Frank Gorke, of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. “And that he understands that, to rise to the challenge of reducing pollution, states have to lead by example.”