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Briefs (left)

Mining Protest Leaves Four Dead In Indonesia

By Jane Perlez

Police officers and rock throwing demonstrators clashed Thursday during a protest against the American mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, leaving three policemen and one Air Force officer dead in remote Papua province, witnesses and officials said.

The four men were killed with stones, Indonesia’s chief of police, Gen. Sutanto, said Thursday night.

More than 20 other people, many of them police officers, were being treated in two hospitals in Jayapura, the provincial capital, for wounds caused by stones and arrows, said Alberth Rumbekwan, a lawyer and member of the Papua National Commission for Human Rights.

Protests against the mine have escalated since last month when the police prevented people who live nearby from panning the mine’s waste for gold.

The protest on Thursday outside the university in Jayapura turned violent as several hundred students demanded that Freeport, which owns a huge copper and gold mine in the poor province, close its operations.

U.S. Lawyer in Terror Case
Is Put on Leave

By Neil A. Lewis

Carla J. Martin, the government lawyer whose improper coaching of witnesses and other actions have jeopardized the death penalty trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, has been forced to take a leave from the Transportation Security Administration, a department spokeswoman said Thursday.

Martin’s actions, disclosed over the last few days, may have wrecked the Justice Department’s efforts to execute Moussaoui, the only person charged in a U.S. courtroom with responsibility for the deaths from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. She has not yet offered an explanation for her behavior, but her lawyer, in a statement Thursday, said, “Ms. Martin has now been vilified by assertions from the prosecution and assorted media pundits.”

The lawyer, Roscoe C. Howard Jr., said Martin was preparing a response. “When her opportunity comes,” he said, “her response will show a very different, full picture of her intentions, her conduct and her tireless dedication to a full trial.”

The disclosure Monday that Martin had sent trial transcripts and e-mail messages to seven government aviation officials listed as witnesses with suggestions as to how they should testify threw the Moussaoui trial into confusion.

Woodpecker’s Existence Continues To Spur Debate

By James Gorman

The ivory-billed woodpecker? That’s the bird that went extinct and was rediscovered, and then there was some argument.

But it’s all settled now, and the great creature lives, elusively, in an Arkansas swamp, with a chunk of federal money to keep it comfortable. Right?

Maybe not. The nation’s best known birder, David A. Sibley, whose book “The Sibley Guide to Birds” is a bible for field identification, has decided that the happy ending is too good to be true.

Sibley, a soft-spoken, attention-avoiding writer and illustrator of many other bird books, as well, says in an article being published Friday in Science that a blurry videotape that was the strongest evidence of the woodpecker’s continued existence does not show an ivory bill at all.