Challengers chosen for Kennedy seat
The relatively quiet campaign to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat was matched by equally light turnout Tuesday as voters picked two state politicians to face off in next month's general election. Attorney General Martha Coakley won a four-way race for the Democratic nomination, while state Sen. Scott Brown earned the Republican nomination. Coakley's win was her first step toward becoming the first female senator from Massachusetts. Election officials said turnout in Boston was a meager 10 percent, with similar turnout in most other cities. Brown, a conservative legislator and lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, has also gained local notoriety as a former Cosmopolitan centerfold model and the father of an American Idol contestant. Kennedy, who died Aug. 25 of brain cancer, held his seat for nearly 47 years. His seat has been held on an interim basis by Paul G. Kirk Jr., a former Democratic National Committee chairman, until it is filled on Jan. 19.
Lawsuit over Indian trusts is settled
The Obama administration on Tuesday announced it will pay American Indians $3.4 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit that argued that the federal government cheated tribes for more than a century out of royalties for oil, mineral and other leases. The settlement ends a 13-year legal battle that led to 3,600 filings, millions of pages of discovery documents and 11 appellate decisions. It is the largest settlement American Indians have ever received from the U.S. government, eclipsing the sum of all previous settlements, according to the plaintiff's lawyers. The dispute stemmed from a 19th century decision to grant parcels of land to individual American Indians and place the properties in trust accounts. For more than a century, plaintiffs contended, the account holders were cheated out of their share of revenues the federal government collects for leasing that land. The settlement provides a $1,000 cash payment to every individual with a trust account and $2 billion for the federal government to buy back the parcels, some of which have been subdivided so much over the decades as to become almost worthless. The government would consolidate the parcels and then return them to tribes. It would also donate up to $60 million for scholarships for American Indian children.
Bioweapons threat: The Obama administration has decided not to support a global monitoring system for biological weapons. The decision will be reflected in the administration's new strategy for countering biological threats, which is due out today, officials said.
TSA breach: The Transportation Security Administration is investigating a security breach, officials said Tuesday. Legislators criticized the TSA for inadvertently revealing information such as criteria for airport searches and a list of passenger nationalities requiring special scrutiny on a government Web site.