Judge rules against BP in settlement
A federal judge on Tuesday rejected BP's argument that a multibillion-dollar settlement over the company's massive 2010 gulf oil spill shouldn't compensate businesses if they can't directly trace their losses to the spill. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said in his ruling that the settlement was designed to avoid the delays that would result from a "claim-by-claim analysis" of whether each claim can be traced to the spill. This month, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Barbier erred when he initially refused to consider BP's "causation" arguments. In response to that ruling, Barbier agreed with plaintiffs' lawyers that BP can't make these arguments because the company took a contradictory position on the same issue when it urged Barbier last year to approve the settlement. Barbier said requiring claimants to meet BP's proposed requirements for connecting losses to the spill would bring the claims process to a "virtual standstill."
Syria continues assault on key city
A new round of Syrian government air raids on rebel-held areas of the northern city of Aleppo killed at least 15 people on Tuesday, including three children, activists said. The strikes extended the furious aerial assault by President Bashar Assad's warplanes and helicopters on the embattled city into its 10th day. Activists say more than 360 people were killed in the first nine days of the campaign, which began Dec. 15. Aleppo is Syria's largest city and a former commercial and industrial hub.
Musharraf's trial is postponed
The scheduled opening on Tuesday of treason proceedings against the former Pakistani ruler Pervez Musharraf was put off until the new year after bomb materials and handguns were found along his route to the trial, officials said. A special court is trying Musharraf on charges that he subverted the constitution in 2007 when he imposed emergency rule and fired much of the judiciary. He is the first military ruler to face such serious charges in the country's history.
Big Sur, Calif.
Residents allowed to return after fire
All the roughly 100 residents forced to evacuate during a wildfire in central California's Big Sur region have now been allowed back into their homes, officials said Tuesday. The evacuations and road closures were lifted Monday night, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Tyson Navarro confirmed, though two roadways will be open only to residents. Earlier Tuesday, the Forest Service said 34 homes were destroyed in the fire.
Washington: The State Department on Tuesday cautioned travelers about the risks of visiting Honduras, saying that killings of Americans are frequent and almost never solved.