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Deepwater drilling ban may not be needed now, panel says

A ban on deepwater drilling may no longer be needed now that the oil industry and the government appear to have developed safer drilling methods, an expert panel said Thursday in a report to the presidential commission investigating the gulf oil spill. The report by the Bipartisan Policy Center is likely to boost oil industry groups and Gulf Coast lawmakers who are pushing to end the drilling freeze before its scheduled Nov. 30 expiration.

Governor cited in probe • New York Gov. David A. Paterson, a Democrat, misled investigators for the state ethics commission when he testified that he had intended to pay for free tickets he obtained to last year's World Series, according to a report issued by an independent counsel investigating the matter. But the independent counsel, Judith Kaye, said it was up to the local district attorney in Albany, N.Y., P. David Soares, to decide whether Paterson should be prosecuted for perjury.

Judge questions lawyers' fee • The federal judge overseeing the cases brought by ground zero workers against New York City have summoned the law partnership of Worby Groner Edelman and Napoli Bern Ripka to a hearing today so the lawyers can justify $6.1 million in legal expenses they are trying to pass on to their clients. And next week, the lawyers are due back in court again to respond to searing accusations of overcharging by the other leading law firm representing some of the workers.

Mine companies accused • Mine companies are tipping off their workers before federal officials make surprise inspections, an illegal practice that has become more prevalent since a West Virginia explosion killed 29 miners, the nation's top mine official said. "We're looking at this as a chronic problem, without question," Mine Safety and Health Administration director Joe Main said.

Report looks at prison assaults • The government reported that 4.4 percent of inmates in prison and 3.1 percent of inmates in jail report being victimized sexually by another inmate or staff member. Those percentages translate to the sexual victimization of 88,500 inmates behind bars nationwide in the previous 12 months, according to a study by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2008-09.

Record emerald • A 64-carat emerald found by Terry Ledford of Alexander County, N.C., is North America's largest cut emerald, experts say.

Casino is fined • Nevada's gambling board has fined Caesars Palace $250,000 for allowing a high-limit baccarat player to dance on a Las Vegas casino card table while the game was being played.


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