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Italy reports slick oozing from cruise ship<p></p>

Italy

Slick reported oozing from cruise ship

Salvage and rescue workers reported the first sign of a significant contaminant slick beginning to ooze from the partly submerged Costa Concordia on Tuesday as divers recovered the body of the 16th victim from the Jan. 13 shipwreck off the Tuscan coast. Samples of the slick, described as a "very thin film" by officials and residents, were being analyzed, said Adm. Ilarione Dell'Anna. The precise origin of the slick was unclear, but Italian officials said absorbent booms placed around the 950-foot-long hull and beyond were trapping it. Smit, a Dutch salvage company, has been hired to extract the ship's half-million gallons of fuel, which has become a pressing priority to avoid an environmental disaster from the shipwreck.

WASHINGTON

VA finds errors at 123 gravesites

A review of cemeteries administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs has revealed problems with 123 gravesites, including eight cases in which people were buried in the wrong gravesite. The other mistakes consisted primarily of headstones and markers that were incorrectly moved to the wrong gravesites during renovation projects, the department said in a report Tuesday. The department said it has contacted or will be contacting the affected families to apologize and to describe the corrections being made.

TURKEY

French bill on genocide assailed

Turkey warned the French president on Tuesday against signing a law that would make it a crime to deny that the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks nearly a century ago constituted genocide, saying such a move would deal a heavy blow to the relations between the two countries. France's parliament approved the bill late Monday, risking more sanctions from Turkey and complicating an already delicate relationship with the rising power. Historians widely believe that some 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered around 1915 by Ottoman Turks during the collapse of the Ottoman. Turkey says the Armenian deaths were far fewer in number and not the result of systematic killings.

Elsewhere

Dallas: Stephen Tebo, a real estate developer from Boulder, Colo., paid $176,000 in an auction for the white hearse used to transport President John F. Kennedy's body from Parkland Memorial Hospital to Air Force One at Dallas' Love Field for the flight back to Washington following his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963.

Los Angeles: A 24-year-old German national, Harry Burkhart, entered a not guilty plea Tuesday in connection with 100 arson-related charges stemming from a series of fires that terrorized Los Angeles over the New Year's weekend.

Somalia: The U.N. representative to Somalia on Tuesday moved the office to Mogadishu for the first time since 1995. Augustine Mahiga, who was based in Kenya, said he hoped the move marks the start of renewed hope for Somalia's future.

Times wires

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