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L.A. police lieutenant sues ex-chief Gates

A Los Angeles police lieutenant has filed a $30-million slander lawsuit against former Chief Daryl Gates, alleging that Gates unfairly made him the scapegoat for the civil unrest that followed the verdicts in the Rodney King beating case. Lt. Michael Moulin also on Friday sued the producers of two television programs, Donahue and Inside Edition, saying they recklessly broadcast comments by Gates that criticized Moulin's actions as watch commander in the department's 77th Street Division. An hour before truck driver Reginald Denny was beaten at Florence and Normandie avenues as violence broke out April 29, Moulin withdrew his outnumbered officers from the intersection. Gates said Moulin should have sent the officers back to the intersection immediately. But Moulin says in his lawsuit it was not within his authority to do so. On Friday, Gates denied he had blamed Moulin for the rioting.

California forest fire almost under control

SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ Firefighters were gaining the upper hand Saturday over a forest fire that destroyed more than 24,000 acres of trees and cost more than $250-million in damages and firefighter power, officials said. Workers had the fire in the Eldorado National Forest 70 miles east of Sacramento 90 percent contained Saturday, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said. Although more than 4,000 firefighters had the fire surrounded, it would take another three days to have it entirely under control, officials said. The cause is still being investigated.

USAir strike set to begin 7 a.m. Monday

WASHINGTON _ Union mechanics at USAir Group Inc., one of the nation's largest airlines, who rejected a new contract offer Saturday, said their strike would begin 7 a.m. EDT Monday. But officials with the International Association of Machinists and USAir scheduled meetings today to try and avert a crippling strike, which would be a first for USAir. A USAir spokesman said the company has plans to keep its planes flying but refused to give details.

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