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U.S. Prosecutors Start Investigating Oil Spill

The U.S. attorney’s office has begun investigating an oil spill last week in San Francisco Bay. The move signals that criminal charges may be filed against the crew of the vessel that lost 58,000 gallons of fuel after hitting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The federal prosecutors join local, state and federal agencies looking into the cause of the spill, which contaminated the bay, led to the closing of more than 25 beaches and killed hundreds of birds.

Darrell Wilson, a representative of the ship owner, Regal Stone of Hong Kong, said about possible federal charges, “It’s kind of a given there will be, because of the strict liability laws.”

The National Transportation Safety Board, which has authority over maritime casualties, began an independent investigation on Sunday, at the request of the Coast Guard, which is continuing its investigation.

“The perception may be that we’re investigating ourselves,” Rear Adm. Craig Bone of the Coast Guard said Monday. “We want to remove ourselves from that.”

Georgia Opposition Nominates Presidential Candidate

Georgia’s opposition nominated the owner of a winemaking company on Monday to face President Mikheil Saakashvili in early presidential elections, scheduled for Jan. 5.

The candidate, Levan Gachechiladze, is a member of Parliament from the opposition New Rights Party and founder of Georgian Wines and Spirits. At a news conference on Monday, he accused Saakashvili’s government of terrorizing political opponents.

“The first message will be that we have to destroy the regime of Saakashvili,” he said in an interview later, adding that he and his opposition partners would do so using democratic means.

It was the first major political announcement by the opposition since a state of emergency was imposed after the police and riot troops used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse antigovernment protests on Nov. 7. Hundreds were injured, and there have been unconfirmed reports of at least one death.

Italian Soccer Authorities Meet In Wake of Riots After Fan’s Death

The Italian soccer authorities met on Monday to discuss what measures to take in the wake of the rioting that took place in several cities on Sunday after the accidental police shooting of a fan on Sunday morning.

The fan, Gabriele Sandri, was on his way to a match involving his favorite team, Lazio, on Sunday morning when he was killed by a stray bullet.

“During these hours of mourning we have felt the need to produce a strong gesture from the world of sport, of soccer,” Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri told reporters on Monday afternoon, after meeting with the heads of Italy’s sports and soccer federations. “A gesture that unequivocally condemns blind and furious violence, because it does not honor the memory of a young life cut short nor does it honor the world of sports.”

The worst violence took place in Rome, where hundreds of enraged soccer fans attacked police stations as well as the headquarters of the Italian Olympic Committee, which is located inside Rome’s soccer stadium, causing some $147,000 worth of damage there. About 40 police officers were injured during the clashes, the ANSA news agency reported.