Effort advances to impeach judge

WASHINGTON - The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved four articles of impeachment yesterday against a federal judge in an effort to remove him from office for lying about sexually assaulting two women.

The committee sent the articles of impeachment against U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent of Texas to the House on a 29-0 vote. The House could vote as early as next week. If the full House approves the impeachment charges, the Senate would conduct a trial.

It would be the first impeachment of a federal judge in 20 years. Kent, 59, is due to go to prison Monday to serve a 33-month sentence. He pleaded guilty in court last month to lying to a judicial panel about the assaults against two staffers. - AP

Coleman told to pay Franken costs

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Republican Norm Coleman must pay Democrat Al Franken $94,783 to cover court costs for his appeal of the results in their Minnesota Senate election.

The judgment, which a Ramsey County court administrator entered yesterday, results from the two-month trial that ended with Franken leading Coleman by 312 votes.

Minnesota law required Coleman to cover some of Franken's court costs because the race's outcome did not change. The judgment excludes Franken's attorney fees.

The men have spent $50 million so far on their campaigns and legal fight over the Nov. 4 election. The Minnesota Supreme Court has not said when it will rule on Coleman's appeal. - AP

3 bodies retrieved at Slim Jim plant

GARNER, N.C. - Search teams recovered three bodies yesterday from the unstable wreckage of a Slim Jim snack factory, a day after an explosion knocked down parts of the roof and an exterior wall.

The victims were identified as employees Barbara McLean Spears, 43; Rachel Mae Poston Pulley, 67; and Lewis Junior Watson, 33.

The unexplained explosion ripped through the ConAgra Foods Inc. plant while 300 people were at work. Officials said 38 employees were injured, including four with critical burns, and three firefighters were treated for inhaling ammonia fumes.

ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin said the company was putting money into a fund to help victims' families. - AP

Elsewhere:

Dr. LeRoy Carhart said yesterday that he would perform third-term abortions in Kansas after the slaying of abortion provider George Tiller but declined to say whether his plans include opening a new facility or using an existing practice. He has run a clinic in Bellevue, Neb., since 1985 but had performed late-term abortions at Tiller's clinic because of Nebraska's more restrictive abortion laws.

News Corp. has agreed to form an external diversity council after meeting with civil-rights groups about a New York Post cartoon that critics said likened President Obama to a dead chimpanzee. News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch published an apology in the Post soon after the cartoon ran in February, but pressure for further action continued.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, his wife, and a bodyguard have been released from quarantine in China.