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BP claims czar promises bigger, quicker payments

NEW ORLEANS

Bigger, quicker BP payments are promised

Victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill should start getting bigger payments faster, the administrator of the fund set up to help them said Saturday. "Over the past few weeks, I have heard from the people of the gulf, elected officials, and others that payments remain too slow and not generous enough," Kenneth Feinberg said in a statement. "I am implementing new procedures that will make this program more efficient, more accelerated and more generous." Feinberg said claims from now on will be sorted by industry to allow those reviewing the claims to apply a more specific, uniform set of standards when deciding how much a person or business will be paid. He did not provide details, and it was unclear if the new processing guidelines would benefit people in industries not directly tied to the gulf or simply make more consistent payments to victims in industries that are being compensated.

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile

Rescue capsule arrives at mine

The first of three rescue capsules specially built to lift out 33 miners trapped since early August arrived at the mine Saturday. Two back-up rescue devices constructed at Chile's naval shipyard are expected to be delivered next week. The capsule, a 924-pound tube made of steel mesh and sheets, will be used to pull the miners out one by one once one of the three rescue holes being drilled reaches the men. The government says that should happen by early November or earlier if all goes well.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Officials say rising drug lord arrested

Mexican authorities have arrested an alleged trafficker known as "The Tiger" who they say shipped a half-ton of drugs to the U.S. each month and may have been poised to take over for a dead capo in the Sinaloa cartel. Federal police said Saturday that Margarito Soto Reyes, 44, was detained along with eight alleged accomplices near the western city of Guadalajara. Police said Soto Reyes allegedly traded in synthetic drugs on routes established by former Sinaloa leader Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, who was killed in a gun battle with soldiers in July.

LAGOS, Nigeria

Nobel laureate forms party

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka launched a political party Saturday, promising to overcome a government he called cynical and brutal. Members of the Democratic Front for a People's Federation elected Soyinka as its leader during the party's inaugural meeting. The 76-year-old essayist said he wouldn't run as a candidate in the nation's 2011 presidential race, but promised the party would use the power of persuasion and words to affect the outcome of an election many worry will be tainted by political thuggery, violence and ballot-box stuffing.

London

Labor Party elects a new leader

Ed Miliband has been elected to lead Britain's Labor Party, officials said Saturday. Ed Miliband, 40, narrowly beat his brother, David Miliband, to become leader with a final tally of 50.65 percent to 49.35 percent. The result may not spur much reaction in British financial markets, but the Labor leader could influence fiscal policies implemented by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government led by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Times wires

BP claims czar promises bigger, quicker payments 09/25/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 25, 2010 10:16pm]
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  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
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    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

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  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

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    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
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    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
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    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]