CAR_Public/040319.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, March 19, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 56

                          Headlines

ADELPHIA COMMUNICATIONS: Misuse Of Funds Alleged In Fraud Trial
AETHER SYSTEMS: Faces Several Securities Suits In NY Court
AGCO CORPORATION: Faces Shareholder Fraud Suits In IL, GA Courts
ALASKA: Lawsuit Claims Discrimination In High School Exit Exam
ANSWERTHINK INC: Court Grants Final Dismissal Of Securities Suit

APA MARKETING: Recalls Home Entertainment Units For Fire Hazard
ARTIFICIAL HEART: Makers Seek Approval Of New Transplant Device
ATMEL CORPORATION: CA Court Grants Dismissal Of Stock Fraud Suit
ATMEL CORPORATION: Faces Derivative Fraud Lawsuit In CA Court
BIOPURE CORP: Faces Several Similar Stock Suits in MA Court

BIOPURE CORP: Faces Two Separate Shareholder Derivative Lawsuits
BRASS LIGHT: Recalls Wall Sconce Lights For Fire Hazard
BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE: Court Rejects Certification Of Tire Suit
BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE: Plaintiff Lawyer Decries CA Court Ruling
CANADIAN SUPERIOR: Defends Itself V. U.S. Suit Over Well Claims

CHINA LIFE: Faces Stock Fraud Suit in NY Court
DELTA AIRLINES: Lost 80-Yr. Old Alzheimer's Patient, Family Says
ENRON CORPORATION: TX Judge Seeks Records, Transcripts In Case
ENZYTE: Makers Of Male Genital Supplement Face False Ad Lawsuit
HARTCOURT COMPANIES: Subpoena Enforcement Filed V. Co. Lawyer

HOMESTORE INC: CalSTRS Announces Final Court Approval Of Pact
LAKEWOOD: Recalls Electric Heaters For Electrocution Hazard
LAS VEGAS: Hotel Sanitation Steps Up In Wake Of Virus Spread
MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Apologizes to MN Jurors In Day 1 Of Trial
MICROSOFT CORPORATION: EU To Decide Fate In Antitrust Case Soon

SAFETYNET INDUSTRIES: SEC Files Admin. Proceedings V. FL Man
SALTON INC: Recalls Appliance Timers For Electrocution Hazard
SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: Second Oregon County Grants Wedding Licenses
SEA SPECIALTIES: Recalls Smoked Salmon For Possible Health Risk
SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Derivative Investors' Suit in Ohio Stayed

SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Faces ERISA-related Charges in Ohio
SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Charges v. Parent in California Dropped
SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: To Move for Dismissal of Texas-Ohio Suit
SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Sued in CA for Antitrust Violations
SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Sued for Price Manipulation in N.Y.

SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Blamed for Bankruptcy of Texas Commercial
SPECTRALINK CORPORATION: Mediation Proceedings Begin April 16
SPECTRALINK CORPORATION: Court Defers Action on Derivative Suits
SUPPORTSOFT INC.: Reaches Settlement in Securities Fraud Lawsuit
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge Rejects Dismissal Of Racketeering Suit

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Jury Begins Deliberations In Ex-Exec's Trial
UNITED STATES: Air Force Sec. Cites Role Of Alcohol in Assaults
UNITED STATES: Congress Mulls Airline Passenger Screening Plan
VIROPHARMA INC: Enters Into Agreement to Settle Securities Suit
WASHINGTON: Local Student Kills Self In Front Of Classmates

WELLS FARGO: Reaches Settlement In Lawsuit Over Customer Privacy
WORLDCOM/MCI: SEC Bars Ex-CFO From Practice As An Accountant

                    Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Allegheny Subsidiaries Involved in Lawsuits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Allstate Explains Its Reserve Reestimates
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ameren Companies' Related Lawsuits Continue
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Argonaut Group Completes Reserve Estimates
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bowater Takes On Claims In GA, TN Courts

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CSX Corp. Posts 7-Year Reserve Estimate
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CSX Transport Claims Take Toll on Charges
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Constellation Firm BG&E Deals With Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Entergy Class Suits Filed in Several States
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Fairfax Financial Accounts For Losses

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Foster Wheeler Provides For More Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: GM Believes Asbestos Claims Without Merit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Georgia Pacific To Pay Claims Through 2013
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Harsco Sued For Alleged Airborne Asbestos
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ITT, Subsidiary Resolve 2,000 Claims

ASBESTOS ALERT: Navigators Exposures Negatively Impact LAE Ratio
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PMA Capital Sets Aside Reserves For Losses
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Standard Motor's Liabilities On The Decline
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Viacom Inc. Named in Suits V. Westinghouse
ASBESTOS ALERT: Allmerica Financial Records Additional Losses

ASBESTOS ALERT: Chiquita Brands Faces Claims For Exposure At Sea
ASBESTOS ALERT: Cincinnati Financial Reviews Exposure Claims
ASBESTOS ALERT: ISG May Face Liability Claims But Says Risk Low
ASBESTOS ALERT: SCPIE Holdings May Pay Claims for Highland

                    New Securities Fraud Cases

NORTEL NETWORKS: Cauley Geller Files Securities Suit in S.D. NY
NORTEL NETWORKS: Chitwood & Harley Files Securities Suit in NY
NORTEL NETWORKS: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Suit in NY

                          *********


ADELPHIA COMMUNICATIONS: Misuse Of Funds Alleged In Fraud Trial
---------------------------------------------------------------
Prosecutors on Tuesday called to the stand a golf pro and the
man in charge of the company's fleet of jets in an effort to
bolster prosecutors' claims that Adelphia founder John Rigas,
along with his two sons, dipped into the company's assets and
used its three jets for personal travel, the Associated Press
reports.

Rigas, sons Michael and Timothy Rigas and former Adelphia
executive Michael Mulcahey are on trial in U.S. District Court
in Manhattan on charges of fraud and conspiracy for allegedly
looting the company of millions of dollars. They have pleaded
innocent. Prosecutors say they misled creditors, investors and
the public as they plunged the nation's fifth-largest cable
company into bankruptcy reorganization and made it a part of the
corporate scandals that led to calls for reform at businesses
nationwide. The defense tried to discredit those claims in
cross-examination, arguing that the use of the jets and the golf
outings were routine in corporate America.

Testimony continued Tuesday from George Cretekos, who operated a
car and truck repair shop in Wellsville, N.Y., before he
convinced Timothy Rigas, his childhood friend, to let him manage
Adelphia's fleet of corporate jets in December 1998. Cretekos
said the company's three jets made about 1,000 trips a year,
including the delivery of a Pennsylvania Christmas tree to John
Rigas' daughter, who lived in Manhattan. He said the daughter's
husband thought the tree was too short so a second tree was
flown to New York to replace it. At other times, he said, a jet
delivered eggs, paper towels and toilet paper to the daughter.

Cretekos had testified that other family excursions included a
$100,000 trip to Greece and Africa by John Rigas and a travel
agent and trips by John Rigas' wife to furniture shows in North
Carolina. Golf professional Lisa Scally said Adelphia hired her
to help clients on a company golf outing. She said the company
later flew her at no cost to Hilton Head, S.C., and Monterey,
Calif., where she, her brother and Timothy Rigas enjoyed golf at
Pebble Beach, "one of the most extraordinary golf courses in
America."

The testimony of Scally and Cretekos injected some life into the
trial, which began about three weeks ago and had gotten bogged
down for six days in analysis of financial documents and the
testimony of a single witness. The two were called to testify by
prosecutors.

Adelphia, a Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company, has 5.3
million cable subscribers in more than 30 states. Many of its
alleged false financial reports were filed with securities
regulators in Manhattan.


AETHER SYSTEMS: Faces Several Securities Suits In NY Court
----------------------------------------------------------
The Company is among the hundreds of defendants named in nine
class action lawsuits seeking damages on account of alleged
violations of securities law. The case is being heard in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York, which has consolidated the actions by all of the named
defendants that actually issued the securities in question. Now
there are approximately 310 consolidated cases before Judge
Scheindlin, including the Aether Systems action, under the
caption In Re Initial Public Offerings Litigation, Master File
21 MC 92 (SAS).

These actions were filed on behalf of persons and entities that
acquired its common stock after its initial public offering in
October 20, 1999. Among other things, the complaints claim that
prospectuses, dated October 20, 1999 and September 27, 2000 and
issued by Aether in connection with the public offerings of
common stock, allegedly contained untrue statements of
material fact or omissions of material fact in violation of
securities laws because the prospectuses allegedly failed to
disclose that the offerings underwriters had solicited and
received additional and excessive fees, commissions and benefits
beyond those listed in the arrangements with certain
of their customers which were designed to maintain, distort
and/or inflate the market price of Aether's common stock in the
aftermarket.

The actions seek unspecified monetary damages and rescission.
Aether believes the claims are without merit and is vigorously
contesting these actions.


AGCO CORPORATION: Faces Shareholder Fraud Suits In IL, GA Courts
----------------------------------------------------------------
A putative class action complaint was filed in the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Illinois, on behalf of all
persons who purchased or otherwise acquired AGCO securities
between February 6, 2003 and February 4, 2004, inclusive.
Subsequently, three additional similar complaints were filed in
the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by
the City of Dania Beach Police & Firefighters Retirement System,
Ann Vogel, and Detectives Endowment Association Annuity Fund.

In general, the complaints allege that the Company, and its
chief executive officer and chief financial officer violated
securities laws and regulations by issuing materially false and
misleading statements regarding the Company's financial results
during the Class Period that had the effect of artificially
inflating the market price of its securities and request
monetary damages and attorneys fees. The Company believes that
these cases have no merit.


ALASKA: Lawsuit Claims Discrimination In High School Exit Exam
--------------------------------------------------------------
A nonprofit law firm filed a federal class action lawsuit
Tuesday claiming Alaska's new high school exit exam
discriminates against disabled students, the Associated Press
reports.

Disabled students are flunking the test at a ratio of 3-to-1,
Sid Wolinsky, an attorney with Disability Rights Advocates in
Oakland, Calif., told the AP. "We're not seeking to stop the
whole test, we're not seeking to set aside standards, we're not
seeking damages," Wolinsky said. "We're seeking that the
safeguards required by both federal and Alaska law be
implemented."

The lawsuit lists five high school students and the Learning
Disabilities Association of Alaska as plaintiffs. State
education officials said they had not yet reviewed the lawsuit
and could not comment. "Obviously we're concerned any time the
state Board of Education and the Department of Education are
implicated in not serving all of Alaska's children well," said
department spokesman Harry Gamble. The lawsuit seeks to create
reasonable accommodations for disabled students and to develop
alternative ways of assessing students who can't do well on
tests.

Seniors this year are the first required to pass the exam in
reading, writing and math to get a diploma. Wolinsky said the
firm filed similar cases in Oregon and California. In the Oregon
case, filed in 2000, the state agreed to enlist a national panel
of education and disability experts to devise measures to
protect disabled children on standard tests. Those measures were
put in place in 2001, Wolinsky said. The California lawsuit was
filed in 2001, raising the same issues about exams slated to
begin this year. School officials there delayed giving the exams
until at least 2006, but the issue has not been resolved,
Wolinsky said.


ANSWERTHINK INC: Court Grants Final Dismissal Of Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
On February 11, 2004, a federal court entered final judgment
dismissing a consolidated amended complaint brought against the
Company and several of its current and former officers and
directors alleging violations of the Securities and Exchange Act
of 1934.

The complaint, styled Druskin, et al. v. Answerthink, Inc., et
al., alleged misstatements and omissions concerning, among other
things, related party transactions during the alleged class
period of February 8, 2000 to April 25, 2002.

On January 7, 2003, the suit was consolidated from six class
actions filed between November 2002 and January 2003. A
consolidated amended complaint was filed on May 9, 2003. The
Company filed a motion to dismiss the consolidated amended
complaint on July 15, 2003. The court granted the Company's
motion to dismiss the consolidated and amended complaint on
January 5, 2004 and allowed the plaintiffs leave to amend the
consolidated amended complaint. The plaintiffs did not file an
amended complaint within the time allowed by the court.


APA MARKETING: Recalls Home Entertainment Units For Fire Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
APA Marketing Inc., of Commerce, Calif., in cooperation with the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is voluntarily
recalling 400 Encore! Home Entertainment Wall Units since the
control box for the touch dimmer lighting mechanism can
overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers. APA Marketing has
received one report involving a touch dimmer lighting mechanism
that overheated, causing visual fire damage to the entertainment
center. No injuries have been reported.

The recalled Encore! Home Entertainment furniture is made of
wood with a cherry finish and contains glass door fronts.
Although the units were sold in several combinations, the entire
entertainment center contains: two piers, a light bridge, a TV
cart, and a pair of media storage cabinets. On the back panel of
the piers, the name "APA MARKETING" is printed on a label. The
black control box is located inside the left pier and mounted
next to the tube light in the back.

The Home Entertainment Wall Units, manufactured in China, were
sold at retail furniture stores and consumer electronics stores
nationwide from July 2003 to January 2004 for $3,000 for the
complete entertainment center. Individually, the piers cost
about $700 each, the light bridge is $300, the TV cart is $600,
and the media storage cabinet is $700 each.

Consumers are urged to unplug the light fixtures from the outlet
immediately and contact APA Marketing or the store where the
wall unit was purchased for a free repair. For more information,
contact the company toll-free by calling (866) 220-9395 ext. 212
between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.


ARTIFICIAL HEART: Makers Seek Approval Of New Transplant Device
---------------------------------------------------------------
A temporary artificial heart that promises to help keep certain
patients alive long enough to receive a heart transplant must
pass a key hurdle, as government advisers debate whether the
device works well enough to sell, the Associated Press reports.

The CardioWest Total Artificial Heart is essentially the same
device that made headlines 22 years ago when Barney Clark became
the first recipient of a permanent artificial heart, then called
the Jarvik-7. He lived 112 days. What has changed is how doctors
hope to use the device. It's not supposed to be the kind of
permanent replacement attempted with Clark so long ago.

"The term 'artificial heart' is a little misleading," cautions
Dr. Dan Schultz, the Food and Drug Administration's device
evaluation chief. "We're not talking about a permanent
artificial heart in the sense that the lay public thinks of an
artificial heart." Instead, the device's new maker, SynCardia
Systems Inc., is seeking FDA approval to sell the CardioWest as
a temporary "bridge" to keep patients dying of congestive heart
failure alive a little longer as they await a donor heart for
transplant. "I think a lot of people are probably dying because
they don't have this kind of device available," Dr. Jack G.
Copeland, heart surgery chief at the University of Arizona
Health Sciences Center, who helped develop the CardioWest, told
the AP.

Heart failure is an incurable condition where the heart
gradually is weakened by age or damaged from a survived heart
attack or some other disease and thus can't pump strongly. When
medications ultimately fail, sufferers have few options. Heart
transplants are scarce, and the wait for a donor heart can be
longer than the patient's diseased heart can hold out. Patients
awaiting a transplant already have some FDA-approved options to
help their hearts pump a little longer. The ventricles are the
heart's pumping chambers, and so-called ventricular assist
devices, or VADs, can be attached to a failing ventricle to
boost pumping power. The CardioWest is different. It is for use
when both ventricles fail simultaneously. And it doesn't boost
patient's existing ventricles - it replaces them. Surgeons must
cut off the bottom chambers of the patient's heart and sew the
pumping device onto the remaining atria, or top chambers. Tubes
then connect the artificial heart chambers to a washing machine-
sized generator that keeps them pumping, making the CardioWest
for in-hospital use only.

Of 81 patients implanted with the device in a study, 79 percent
survived long enough to get a transplant. A month after
transplant, 69 percent of patients who received the CardioWest
device while waiting were considered treatment successes -
recovering well - compared with just 37 percent of "control"
patients who weren't given the artificial heart before their
transplant.

Copeland says the difference is that the artificial heart can
pump significantly more blood throughout all the organs,
strengthening them before the heart transplant so that other
complications like kidney failure are less of a worry. But FDA
scientists argue that the study was done in a way that's
impossible to adequately compare CardioWest recipients with
transplant recipients who didn't get extra help, making it more
difficult to discern the device's impact.

How many people suffer such complete heart failure that they
would need more help than from today's standard VAD heart pumps?
That's another key question the FDA wants its scientific
advisers to answer. SynCardia, however, estimates that of the
4,000 people usually on the nation's heart-transplant list,
between 1,000 and 2,000 have double-chamber failure and wouldn't
be candidates for a routine VAD.


ATMEL CORPORATION: CA Court Grants Dismissal Of Stock Fraud Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
On March 2, 2004, the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California dismissed a complaint brought
against the Company and certain of its current officers and a
former officer.

The Complaint, styled Pyevich v. Atmel Corporation, et al.,
alleged that the Company made false and misleading statements
concerning its financial results and business during the period
from January 20, 2000 to July 31, 2002 as a result of sales of
allegedly defective products, and alleges violations of Section
10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Additional,
virtually identical complaints were subsequently filed and were
consolidated into this action. The Complaints did not identify
the alleged monetary damages.

The Company filed its motion to dismiss the Complaint on
November 14, 2003. By Order dated January 29, 2004, the Court
granted Atmel's motion to dismiss with leave to amend. The
plaintiffs did not file an amended complaint.


ATMEL CORPORATION: Faces Derivative Fraud Lawsuit In CA Court
-------------------------------------------------------------
On February 19, 2003, a derivative class action was filed in the
Superior Court for the State of California for the County of
Santa Clara against certain directors, officers and a former
officer of the Company, while the Company itself is named as a
nominal defendant.

The Complaint, styled Cappano v. Perlegos, et al., alleges that
between January 2000 and July 31, 2002, defendants breached
their fiduciary duties to Atmel by permitting it to sell
defective products to customers. The Complaint alleges claims
for breach of fiduciary duty, mismanagement, abuse of control,
waste, and unjust enrichment.

The Complaint seeks unspecified damages and equitable relief as
against the individual defendants. The Company disputes the
claims.


BIOPURE CORP: Faces Several Similar Stock Suits in MA Court
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Company, its former Chief Executive Officer, its Chief
Technology Officer and its Chief Financial Officer were named as
defendants in a number of similar, purported class action
complaints, filed between December 30, 2003 and January 28,
2004, in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Massachusetts by alleged purchasers of Biopure's common stock.

The complaints claim that Biopure violated the federal
securities laws by publicly disseminating materially false and
misleading statements regarding the status of its biologic
license application pending with the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration and of its trauma development program, resulting
in the artificial inflation of Biopure's common stock price
during the purported class period.

The complaints do not specify the amount of alleged damages
plaintiffs seek to recover. The complaints set forth varying
class periods but generally focus on March 2003 through December
24, 2003. The defendants believe that the complaints are without
merit.


BIOPURE CORP: Faces Two Separate Shareholder Derivative Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
The seven board members of the Company's Board of Directors,
including its former Chief Executive Officer, now a former board
member, were named as defendants in two shareholder derivative
actions filed on January 26, 2004 and January 29, 2004 in the
same Court. The Company is named as a defendant, even though in
a derivative action any award is for the benefit of the Company,
not individual stockholders.

The complaints allege in derivative actions brought by
shareholders on behalf of the Company that the individual
directors breached fiduciary duties in connection with the same
disclosures set forth in the purported securities class action
complaints. The complaints do not specify the amount of the
alleged damages plaintiffs seek to recover.


BRASS LIGHT: Recalls Wall Sconce Lights For Fire Hazard
-------------------------------------------------------
Brass Light Gallery Inc., of Milwaukee, Wis., in cooperation
with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is
voluntarily recalling 1,400 Alabaster Wall Sconce Lights since
the tie-downs, which secure the electrical wires to the mounting
bracket, may come loose, causing the wire to touch the bulb and
pose a fire hazard to consumers. Brass Light has received two
reports of wire tie- downs coming loose, though no injuries have
been reported.

The wall-mounted light fixtures have a translucent, natural
alabaster stone cover. The recalled wall sconces include model
numbers AL-3208, AL-5008, and AL-5108. Models AL-3208 and AL-
5008 use one light bulb; whereas, Model AL-5108 uses two bulbs.
The alabaster covers measure 8 inches in width and between 9
and 15 inches in height.

The Wall Sconce Lights, made in the U.S., were sold at lighting
distributors nationwide and Brass Light Gallery mail order
services from January 1998 through November 2003 for between
$175 and $340. For more information, contact Brass Light Gallery
for instructions at toll-free at (888) 212-4953 anytime on how
to receive a free repair kit.


BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE: Court Rejects Certification Of Tire Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
California Superior Court Judge Christopher Sheldon on Wednesday
refused to grant national class action status to a lawsuit
alleging deadly defects in a line of Firestone tires, the
Associated Press reports.

The lawsuit involves Steeltex tires, which are standard
equipment on 71 types of vehicles, including pickups, sport
utility vehicles, recreational vehicles and ambulances. The
plaintiff in the lawsuit, Robert R. Littel, 64, claims he had
four blowouts of Steeltex tires on his motor home in 2001 and
2002.The tires have been linked to crashes that killed five
people. Class action certification could have added up to 5
million plaintiffs to the California lawsuit. Now, the claims
will have to be handled state by state.

Plaintiff's attorney Joseph Lisoni said he will appeal. Lisoni
has said Steeltex tires have a defect that causes the tread to
separate. He wants 40 million tires recalled and consumers
reimbursed at least $1 billion. Dan MacDonald, a spokesman for
Nashville, TN-based Bridgestone-Firestone, said the company was
pleased. "Based on the law and the facts, we're not surprised,"
he said. MacDonald said 100 kinds of Steeltex tires have been
manufactured to 300 different specifications since 1991, meaning
the issues are not similar enough to combine into a single case.

Last month, Firestone recalled 490,000 Steeltex tires made in
Canada. MacDonald said that the recall was precautionary,
because of increased claims, and that no specific problem with
the tire had been identified. The National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration launched an investigation of Steeltex
tires in 2000 but closed it after finding no defects. On Monday,
a state judge in Texas approved a $149 million settlement on
behalf of owners of Firestone ATX, ATXII and Wilderness AT
tires, most of which were sold on Ford Explorers. The settlement
resolved 30 class-action lawsuits against Bridgestone-Firestone.

At least 271 people were reported killed and hundreds more
injured in accidents related to ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT
tires, and the company recalled 17 million of them 3 1/2 years
ago. The company has spent an estimated $1.5 billion on recall-
related costs, including the settlement of dozens of lawsuits,
and only recently started turning a profit again.


BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE: Plaintiff Lawyer Decries CA Court Ruling
---------------------------------------------------------------
During a hearing held Wednesday in the Riverside Branch of the
California Superior Court in Indio, CA, Judge Christopher J.
Sheldon denied a motion, without prejudice, to certify a lawsuit
against Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. as a national class action,
Business Wire reports.

In making his ruling, the judge said plaintiffs' attorneys could
renew the motion for class certification as well as present
evidence of defects in the Steeltex tires. According to
plaintiffs' attorneys, they did not present any evidence at this
hearing as it was not required because case management order
calls for the presentation of evidence only after the class
action is certified.

The lawsuit was filed against the tire manufacturer on August
13, 2002, alleging that its Steeltex R4S, R4SII and A/T tire
series had defects in design, which have resulted in massive
tread separations. The lawsuit further contended that these
separations have led to accidents, which have caused property
damage, injuries and deaths. Following is a statement from
Joseph L. Lisoni of the Pasadena, CA-based law firm of Lisoni &
Lisoni, who is the lead attorney handling the class action
lawsuit:

"We are not pleased with the judge's ruling on our motion of
certification. We are confident that we met all the criteria set
forth in the law to qualify our lawsuit as a national class
action and we feel the judge did not interpret the law properly.
The only two issues before him today were whether the class was
easily identifiable and was there a common question of law. We
clearly demonstrated that each of these two requirements for
certification was met. Each and every day that Steeltex tires
are allowed on the nation's roads and highways, the public is at
risk. Only a total recall of every one of the more than 30
million Steeltex tires on the road will protect their future
safety and welfare.

"As we had advance notice of the judge's ruling on our motion of
certification, it enabled us to plan and put in motion future
actions that we will take to continue our quest to get these
flawed tires off the road. Towards that end, in the very near
future, we will take the following actions:

     (1) We will file with the California Superior Court a
         motion of reconsideration for the certification of the
         national class action and in doing so, as the judge
         requested, we will provide him with the mountain of
         documentation and evidence that we have compiled during
         our 20 months of investigation into the Steeltex tire
         problem.

     (2) Subsequent to an agreement we had reached with
         Bridgestone Corporation, Inc. of Japan prior to today's
         ruling, we will shortly file a national class action
         lawsuit against this corporation.

     (3) We will immediately begin the process of filing class
         action lawsuits in individual states in America,
         beginning with California, Colorado, Arizona, Florida,
         Texas and New Mexico as well as the District of
         Columbia.

     (4) On April 2, we will file a petition with the National
         Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reopen its
         investigation of the Steeltex tires targeted to alleged
         defects, which our investigation has found to have
         caused damage to tires on ambulances and emergency
         vehicles in 33 states.

"This `war' against the Steeltex tire has reached a new plateau
and the enemy is on the run. With the recently announced recall
of 490,000 Steeltex tires by Bridgestone/Firestone, its long
professed claims of the purity of the Steeltex tire have been
permanently shattered. Unless and until they do the ``right
thing' and recall all the tires, we will pursue this litigation
to a successful conclusion."


CANADIAN SUPERIOR: Defends Itself V. U.S. Suit Over Well Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Gas producer Canadian Superior Energy Inc. said Wednesday that
class-action lawsuits against the firm are "groundless,
frivolous and a misuse of the United States legal system", the
Canadian Press reports.

"It is Canadian Superior's opinion that these actions amount to
jockeying by various United States legal counsel to determine
who, if any, will represent a plaintiff, if one exists, against
Canadian Superior," the Calgary-based company said in a release.
"Canadian Superior views these actions as regrettable and
detrimental to its shareholders and, accordingly, these actions
will be aggressively dealt with in court."

Canadian Superior is facing several lawsuits and accusations
that it issued "false and misleading statements" regarding its
Mariner exploration well in the North Atlantic that is being
abandoned. On Tuesday, New York law firm Abbey Gardy announced
it would be part of a suit that alleges the company failed to
tell investors that its Mariner I-85 test well, 290 kilometres
southeast of Halifax, "was not progressing and was virtually
dry."

Late Monday, two other U.S. law firms announced they would be
part of a class-action suit against Canadian Superior in the
name of investors who held shares from November 2003 until March
11, 2004. The lawsuits were the latest bit of bad news to hit
the company, which saw the value of its shares fall 52 cents
Tuesday to $1.68 after hitting a 52-week high of $4.88 on March
1.


CHINA LIFE: Faces Stock Fraud Suit in NY Court
----------------------------------------------
Within four months of its overseas listing on stock exchanges in
New York and Hong Kong, China's largest life insurer is getting
a dose of U.S.-style litigation--in the form of a lawsuit
seeking class-action status from one of America's best-known law
firms, Best Wire reports.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District
of New York in Manhattan by Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach
charges that China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. violated U.S.
securities laws by failing to disclose questionable past
business practices and by engaging in illegal acts related to
agent services, premium payments and embezzlement, among other
things. The law firm said its lawsuit seeks to "recover damages
on behalf of all purchasers" of China Life stock between Dec.
22, 2003 and Feb. 3, 2004.

China Life launched its initial public offering on the New York
Stock Exchange on Dec. 17, raising $3.1 billion. On Dec. 18,
China Life raised nearly $400 million more through an IPO on the
Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Milberg Weiss noted that China Life's IPO was over-subscribed by
about 25 times, following a "road show" in New York City just
before the IPO. The law firm said the interest in the stock was
"the sort of frenzy that was reminiscent of the Internet
bubble." According to the firm's lawsuit, China Life and certain
of its officers engaged in a "massive financial fraud" amounting
to $652 million before the company's conversion to its current
form in June 2003.

The law firm charged that China Life reformed last year "to
cherry-pick healthier policies from its parent company," and
that the predecessor company "engaged in criminal acts involving
illegal agent services, illegal premium payments, embezzlement
and depositing monies in illegal bank accounts." The predecessor
company, now under a new name--China Life Insurance (Group) Co.
(CLIC)--controls the listed company, Milberg Weiss said in a
statement. The law firm also charges that the National Audit
Office of China was preparing to publish adverse audit findings
on the predecessor company as the IPO was launched.

In addition, Milberg Weiss charges that "China Life's share
price would be tied to the illegal acts already known to the
defendants, two-thirds of whom were directors/executive officers
and/or senior managers of the predecessor company." Because of
all those factors, China Life's stock was inflated in the class
period, reaching a high of $34.75 on Dec. 29, Milberg Weiss
charges. The company's stock was trading at $26.38 a share in
New York on the morning of March 17, down 0.3% from the previous
close. The stock was 41.2% higher than its opening price of
$18.68 on Dec. 17.

The alleged accounting irregularities of the predecessor firm,
uncovered by China's state auditors, were made public in early
February. In a Form F-1 registration statement filed with the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 9, 2003, China
Life devoted 15 pages to risk factors that could affect
potential shareholders. Among them, the insurer mentioned
potential problems related to the restructuring of its
predecessor company.

China Life also acknowledged that the pending IPO price of its
American depositary shares, each worth 40 "H" shares--shares
offered in Hong Kong--was greater than book value. In the F-1
statement, the insurer placed its book value at $9.32 a share,
while estimating its IPO price in the range of $15.35 to $18.80.

Beijing-based China Life Insurance Co. Ltd., which has a 45%
market share in China and racked up US$5 billion in revenue for
the first six months of 2003, launched its U.S. IPO with an
offering of 139.7 million American depositary shares. China Life
Insurance (Group) Co. (CLIC), the life insurer's controlling
shareholder, at the same time was offering 13.97 million
American depositary shares--10% of the offering by China Life.


DELTA AIRLINES: Lost 80-Yr. Old Alzheimer's Patient, Family Says
----------------------------------------------------------------
According to relatives of an 80-year old man with Alzheimer's
disease, Delta Air Lines 'lost' him when he was supposed to have
been given an escort between flights in the Atlanta airport, the
Associated Press reports.

Antonio Ayala disappeared Monday after his flight landed and he
was not found until nearly 24 hours later, near a bus station in
downtown Atlanta, several miles from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
International Airport. Police took him to Grady Memorial
Hospital, where he was undergoing dialysis treatment Wednesday
for a kidney ailment and was listed in good condition, officials
said. Family members said Ayala could have gone into a coma
without dialysis. Ayala was flying from New York's La Guardia
airport to El Paso, Texas, and had to change planes in Atlanta.

"He was supposed to be escorted from one plane to another and it
never happened," said Ayala's granddaughter, Cecilia Flowers of
El Paso, Texas. Delta officials said the airline is
investigating but would not elaborate. "We are working very
closely with the family and we are very pleased the family has
been reunited," Delta spokeswoman Peggy Estes said. The airline
flew Ayala's relatives to Atlanta and housed them in a hotel
while they waited for him to be released from the hospital.
"He's just glad that I'm here," Ayala's son, Antonio Ayala Jr.,
said at the hospital. "He told me, 'I've been crying a lot,' but
he can't recall what events" happened.

It is not the first time that a person with Alzheimer's has been
lost by an airline. In 2001, Margie Dabney, 70, became separated
from her husband during an American Airlines stopover at Dallas-
Fort Worth International Airport. Dabney was never found. Last
year, her husband, Joe Dabney, agreed to an undisclosed
settlement with American Airlines. He had sought $10 million.


ENRON CORPORATION: TX Judge Seeks Records, Transcripts In Case
--------------------------------------------------------------
A Houston federal judge handed Enron shareholders a break
Tuesday by ordering the financial institutions they are suing to
produce sworn statements their employees made in the Enron's
bankruptcy case, Knight-Ridder/ Tribune Business News reports.

Controversy has surrounded how evidence gathered by Enron
bankruptcy examiner Neal Batson might be used in the civil and
criminal cases relating to Enron. Criminal case judges in
Houston and the bankruptcy judge have been reluctant to order
Batson to turn over his evidence. This is in part because some
of it was gathered with the understanding it would remain
confidential. What U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon ordered
Tuesday was not that Batson provide evidence to those suing in
the civil lawsuits before her, but that the financial
institutions themselves turn over copies of all deposition
transcripts or sworn statements relating to the Enron
bankruptcy. She ordered they do so by March 29. Harmon noted
that she would normally defer to the bankruptcy judge's wishes
that examiner material not be disseminated so as to protect the
bankruptcy process.

But Harmon said the statements have already been given to Enron,
its debtors and its creditors committee, and they are referenced
at length in the public examiner's report. She said fairness
dictates that all parties in the would-be class action suits
before her have the information. "The parties seeking the
statements could, they acknowledge, retake depositions of the
individuals whose statements and depositions were taken by the
examiner, but the costs would be enormous," Harmon noted.

Batson has asked the bankruptcy judge to allow him to hand over
e-mails and other documents to Enron or so-called third parties,
such as Merrill Lynch or other banks and brokerages, whose
employees granted interviews during the investigation. He also
wants to destroy whatever is left and be free of involvement in
any Enron-related cases. Gonzalez has barred creditors and
others from seeking documents from Batson. But Gonzalez's order
said such information must be turned over to the defense in any
criminal case if a judge finds it could help a defendant.

Defense attorneys in the Enron criminal cases relating to the
Nigerian barge deal and the broadband unit have expressed
interest in getting information in Batson's files.


ENZYTE: Makers Of Male Genital Supplement Face False Ad Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
A lawsuit was recently filed in Montgomery County Court in Ohio
by attorneys from Hagens Berman and Murdock Goldenberg Schneider
& Groh, against the maker of the popular herbal male enhancement
product Enzyte on behalf of purchasers, accusing the company of
using false and deceptive advertisements with phony statistics
to lure tens of thousands of men into purchasing its supplement,
PRNewswire reports.

The suit claims Enzyte manufacturer Berkeley Premium
Nutraceuticals built a $100 million business that preyed on men
using unproven claims. Once the class-action suit is certified
by the court, it would represent Enzyte purchasers across the
country. "The ads made repeated unsubstantiated claims with the
intention of drawing out and using men's insecurities," said
John Murdock, one of the attorneys representing consumers
against Berkeley. "In our opinion the primary effect Enzyte had
on its users was to shrink the size of their wallets."

Currently running a national advertising campaign using
innuendos and a silent "Smiling Bob" spokesperson, Berkeley
earlier marketed Enzyte in a nationwide multi-media campaign
with claims that the product would actually increase the size of
a man's genitalia. Some of the claims from ads in magazines such
as Esquire and Gentlemen's Quarterly include:

     (1) "The first all-natural male enhancement program that
         adds one to three inches to your size in just eight
         months or get double your money back"

     (2) "100% Safe with a 98.3% Success Rate"

     (3) "your erectile chambers, as well as your penis, will
          enlarge up to 41%"

When customers tried to take advantage of Berkeley's "double
your money back" guarantee, the company sent out confusing and
deceptive materials that encouraged customers to waive their
right to collect the refund, the suit claims. "We will prove
Berkeley depended on the embarrassment of men and complicated
return policies to keep the number of refunds low and the amount
of profits high," said Murdock. "In my opinion, this is perhaps
the most cynical scheme to defraud consumers I've seen."

According to consumer groups including the Better Business
Bureau, Berkeley generates a high number of complaints. The
Federal Trade Commission has also called into question
treatments like Enzyte. According to the agency's Web site, "If
the product being pitched to cure impotence is 'herbal' or 'all
natural,' dismiss it." In a recent interview, Berkeley's founder
and chief executive officer Steven Warshak admitted that the
company withdrew its claims that Enzyte added inches to a man's
penis because no third-party independent trials were conducted
to substantiate the claim. In fact, in an about-face, its own
Web site now admits, "Enzyte will not alter the shape or size of
your penis."

In 2001, the plaintiff paid $400 for an eight-month supply of
Enzyte, and received more assurances from Berkeley that "most
men report a one to three inch gain in length and 27% increase
in roundness," according to the complaint. He completed the
supply without any increase in genital size, and after many
months of trying to receive his "double your money back"
guarantee, only received a portion of the promised refund.
According to attorneys, even Berkeley's current claims of
"fuller, firmer, better quality erections" continue to imply
that Enzyte increases penis size, perpetuating Berkeley's
deception of consumers.

The suit seeks to represent all those who purchased Enzyte,
including those purchasers to whom the company claimed that the
supplement increases penis size, except residents of California.
Consumers seek class action status, reimbursement for purchases
of Enzyte and damages. The suit claims Berkeley and other
defendants violated Ohio's consumer protection laws, as well as
laws against negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and
fraud.


HARTCOURT COMPANIES: Subpoena Enforcement Filed V. Co. Lawyer
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an
application with the U.S. District Court for the Central
District of California for an order to enforce an investigative
subpoena served on John A. Furutani, an attorney representing
the Hartcourt Companies, Inc., a Utah corporation headquartered
in Pasadena, California.  Furutani is an attorney at the law
offices of Furutani & Peters, LLP, which is also located in
Pasadena.

The Commission's subpoena sought documents and testimony from
Furutani concerning, among other things, whether he sold
Hartcourt securities while in possession of material nonpublic
information. Furutani refused to fully comply with the
Commission's subpoena based on several objections, including the
attorney-client privilege and attorney work-product doctrine.
The Commission alleges that Furutani sold at least 40,000 shares
of Hartcourt common stock between May 8, 2003, when the
Commission staff informed him of its intention to file a
complaint against Hartcourt, and May 27, 2003, when the
complaint was actually filed.

In its application, the Commission asserts that the attorney-
client privilege and work-product doctrine do not protect the
documents and testimonial responses sought by the Commission and
that none of Furutani's other objections provide a valid
justification for his failure to comply. The Commission
requested that the Court order Furutani to show cause why he
should not comply with the subpoena. A hearing on the
Commission's application has not yet been scheduled.


HOMESTORE INC: CalSTRS Announces Final Court Approval Of Pact
-------------------------------------------------------------
In a press release Wednesday, the California State Teachers'
Retirement System (CalSTRS) said that a class action settlement
with Homestore Inc. announced last August, was finalized by a
federal court judge, The Dow Jones Business News reports.

The settlement requires Homestore to reform its corporate
policies, pay $13 million in cash to the class and turn over 20
million common shares. At Tuesday's closing price of $3.90 a
share, the stock portion of the settlement is worth about $78
million.

In 2002, CalSTRS was named lead plaintiff in more than 19
consolidated lawsuits against Homestore and several former
executives. The suits alleged Homestore falsified financial
statements and engaged in accounting irregularities. CalSTRS
estimated its Homestore losses at more than $9 million on more
than 431,000 shares from May 4, 2000 to Dec. 21, 2001, the time
period cited in the lawsuits. In August, Homestore said it took
at $63.6 million charge for the settlement.


LAKEWOOD: Recalls Electric Heaters For Electrocution Hazard
-----------------------------------------------------------
Lakewood Engineering & Manufacturing Co., of Chicago, Ill., in
cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), is voluntarily recalling 150,000 Sun-Sational Electric
Heaters since the electrical connections inside of the heater
can become loose. This could cause the metal portion of the
heater to become energized, posing a serious shock hazard to
consumers. There have no reports of incidents or injuries
relating to this product.

The recalled "Sun-Sational" Deluxe Radiant heaters have a
metallic gray heating element, white base, and red control
knobs. The heater has a label at the base that reads, "SUN-
sational" and "Warning: Risk of Fire." The oval-shaped heater
has an 800 Watt and 1200 Watt setting and has a sensor to alert
users of overheating.

The Heaters, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at retail
stores nationwide, including Sam's Club, between August 1996 and
February 2004 for between $30 and $40.

Consumers are urged to immediately stop using these heaters,
unplug them, and contact the company for a free repair or
replacement. Lakewood also will provide consumers with
instructions as to how to return the heater to the company free
of charge. For more information, contact Lakewood, by Phone:
toll-free at (888) 858-3506 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT
Monday through Friday or log on to the company's Web site at
http://www.lakewoodeng.com.


LAS VEGAS: Hotel Sanitation Steps Up In Wake Of Virus Spread
------------------------------------------------------------
Downtown hotels are stepping up sanitation efforts after the
number of people who reported being sickened by a virus during
visits over the past four months climbed past the 1,000 mark,
the Associated Press reports.

Most of the people who reported catching the highly contagious
Norwalk-like virus are Hawaii residents who stayed in Boyd
Gaming Corp. hotels in downtown Las Vegas, officials said.
Clark County Health District spokesman Dave Tonelli said the
good news is that there seems to be a decrease in the number of
new cases, down to 74 for the week of March 5-12. "The decline
in the new cases is encouraging," Tonelli said. The total number
of cases was 1,174 as of Monday.

The Norwalk virus, or norovirus, can cause diarrhea, stomach
pain and vomiting for 24 to 48 hours. The virus is spread
through food and water and close contact with infected people or
things they have touched. It has been known to afflict travelers
on cruise ships. The source of the Las Vegas outbreak hasn't
been identified, but most of the cases involved people who
stayed or visited the California, Fremont and Main Street
Station hotels. Boyd sells many Las Vegas packages to Hawaiians.

Boyd has since increased sanitation through its properties,
including using hospital-grade disinfectants and cleaning public
bathrooms hourly. Boyd has said some Hawaii customers have
canceled their trips to Las Vegas since the news spread about
the virus.

Tonelli said he's hopeful that the extra cleaning is paying off,
but urged travelers to remain vigilant. "It is not uncommon in
norovirus outbreaks for a decline to be followed by a
resurgence," he said. Robert Silva, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, said he
stayed at the California starting Feb. 25 and all seven in his
party got the virus. Visitors should have been warned about the
disease before arriving. "We had no idea," he said. "Nobody said
anything."


MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Apologizes to MN Jurors In Day 1 Of Trial
----------------------------------------------------------------
Microsoft apologized to jurors for its past anticompetitive
practices during opening statements Wednesday in a case alleging
the company's antitrust violations include word processing and
spreadsheet software, the Associated Press reports.

"Yes, we acknowledge that and we apologize for it," said David
Tulchin, a Microsoft attorney. "The conduct involved competition
that went over the line. The question for you is whether or not
consumers were overcharged." Tulchin was referring to actions
that were the subject of a settlement Microsoft reached with the
Justice Department in 2001 in a lawsuit regarding the company's
operating-system monopoly. That settlement was admitted into
evidence in the Minnesota case, which alleges that violations
included Microsoft's Word and Excel software.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs gave jurors an overview of their
case earlier in the week, alleging that Microsoft overcharged
about 1 million people or businesses in Minnesota for about 9.7
million software licenses issued between 1994 and 2001. The
plaintiffs seek damages of up to $425 million, or up $505
million if the court rules that the damages can be adjusted for
inflation.

Tulchin began his presentation Tuesday and told jurors that
Microsoft may have competed vigorously with other software
makers, but not illegally. He asked jurors: "Should Microsoft
just stop competing so others can catch up?" Tulchin said prices
for Microsoft's Windows operating systems have hovered around
$50 each, and prices for Word and Excel have dropped. He also
attacked the idea that Microsoft practices have hurt consumers.
The lawsuit names six representatives of the class of people
allegedly hurt, and Tulchin told jurors that four of them have
connections to the law firm bringing the case, including one who
lives with a secretary at the firm.

In similar cases, Microsoft has reached settlements with nine
states and Washington, D.C., totaling $1.5 billion. Cases were
dismissed in 16 other states. In the 2001 settlement of the case
brought by the federal government, Microsoft was found to have
illegally monopolized the operating system market using Windows.
The trial judge ordered a breakup of Microsoft, but a federal
circuit court overruled the decision. It did, however, uphold
the judgment that Microsoft held a monopoly with Windows.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Microsoft's Chief Executive,
Steve Ballmer, are scheduled to testify in the Minnesota trial,
which is expected to last more than three months.


MICROSOFT CORPORATION: EU To Decide Fate In Antitrust Case Soon
---------------------------------------------------------------
The European Union (EU) insisted it was "on track" Wednesday to
conclude its antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. next week,
even as the world's biggest software company scrambled to reach
a deal to avert sanctions for allegedly abusing its Windows
monopoly, the Associated Press reports.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and general counsel Brad
Smith remained in Brussels and in contact with the EU antitrust
office, sources familiar with the case said, after a surprise
face-to-face session Tuesday night with EU Competition
Commissioner Mario Monti. No progress toward a settlement was
announced but both sides said talks were continuing.

EU legal experts say any settlement would have to be clinched in
the next day or two if Monti sticks to that timetable, as he
would have to run it by complainants and the advisory committee
first. The committee is scheduled to meet again Monday to
consider the size of the fine Monti's office has said it intends
to impose on Microsoft. While that can amount to as much as 10
percent of annual worldwide revenue, the highest antitrust fine
ever levied by the EU has been under 2 percent. In the Microsoft
case, that would still run into the hundreds of millions of
dollars. Monti's draft decision also orders key changes to the
way Microsoft does business because of its alleged "ongoing"
attempts to monopolize new markets, despite the settlement
reached in a similar U.S. case three years ago.

The EU is demanding Microsoft offer computer makers a discounted
version of Windows without its own Media Player pre-installed so
that rivals like RealNetworks Inc. have a better shot at
reaching consumers. It also wants Microsoft to release more
underlying code to competitors so that their server software can
interface as well with computers running Windows as Microsoft's
own.

Sources familiar with the case say the Media Player issue has
been the hardest to solve, raising the possibility that
Microsoft could agree to settle the server side and fight the
rest in court. An EU order to "unbundle" Media Player would
complicate Microsoft's business strategy of integrating new
functions into Windows. EU officials are already investigating
charges that its latest desktop operating system, Windows XP, is
designed to help extend Microsoft's dominance into new markets
such as instant messaging and mobile phones.

A settlement normally involves no admission of guilt and carries
less precedent-setting punch because it is not a formal
administrative decision. But legal experts note that a
settlement now probably would not be formally adopted until
after May 1, when new EU antitrust rules allowing for a
weightier "settlement decision" go into effect.


SAFETYNET INDUSTRIES: SEC Files Admin. Proceedings V. FL Man
------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instituted and
simultaneously settled public administrative proceedings against
Damian Delgado, a resident of Florida, who, without admitting or
denying the Commission's findings, consented to the Commission's
Order.

The Order found that on February 27, 2004, Delgado was
permanently enjoined from violating Sections 5(a), 5(c) and
17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b) and 15(a)(1)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
thereunder, in the district court action SEC v. James Mulhearn,
Damian Delgado, and Adrian Balboa, Civil Action Number 03-61747-
MARTINEZ

The complaint in the district court action alleged that Delgado
engaged in a fraudulent, unregistered offering of securities in
Safetynet Industries, Inc.  Based on the injunction entered
against him, the Commission ordered that Delgado be barred from
association with any broker or dealer.


SALTON INC: Recalls Appliance Timers For Electrocution Hazard
-------------------------------------------------------------
Salton, Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., in cooperation with the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is voluntarily
recalling 16,700 Timex Outdoor Appliance Timers since the Timex
timers have reverse polarity in the wiring, which allows current
to flow to the attached appliance when the timer is turned off.
Consumers can receive an electric shock. One incident has been
reported where the consumer received an electrical shock.

The timer is designed to be mounted on a wall and plugged into a
120V outlet. It has an outlet on the underside for the appliance
plug. Consumers can program the device to turn lights and
appliances on or off at desired intervals. The word "Timex" is
printed on the front door of the timer and on the dial inside. A
label on the back includes the words "Model Number: 12/810."

The Outdoor Timers, manufactured in China, were sold at selected
Lowe's stores nationwide from November 2003 through December
2003 for about $20 each.

Consumers are urged to contact Salton to receive a prepaid
shipping label to return the recalled timer. Salton will send
the consumer a replacement timer. For more information, call
toll free at (800) 919-3101 between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT
Monday through Friday, or e-mail Salton at salton@saltonusa.com.


SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: Second Oregon County Grants Wedding Licenses
----------------------------------------------------------------
A second Oregon county has decided to issue marriage licenses to
gay couples, a decision legal experts say will likely will press
the state's highest court to settle the issue soon, the
Associated Press reports.

Benton County follows in the steps of Multnomah County, the
state's most populous, which has issued over 2,400 licenses to
gay couples since March 3. Benton County is home to Oregon State
University and Corvallis, one of the state's most liberal cities
about 80 miles south of Portland. It will start issuing licenses
March 24, County Commissioner Linda Modrell said Tuesday after
three hours of emotional public testimony. Commissioners passed
the measure 2-1 against the advice of County Attorney Vance
Croney.

Legal observers say the decision by a second county to issue gay
marriage licenses likely will press the state's highest court to
settle the issue soon and put a stop to independent decisions
made in Oregon's 36 counties. A legal challenge by a group
opposed to gay marriage is pending before the court. Kevin
Neely, a spokesman for Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers, said
Tuesday that the state Justice Department is studying whether
the state can do "something to intervene that would expedite
final decision making" by the state Supreme Court.

Modrell said the county's decision was based partly on a
nonbinding opinion issued last week by Oregon Attorney General
Hardy Myers, which said a ban on gay marriage probably violates
Oregon's constitution but existing state law prohibits the
practice. "If the attorney general believes it is likely to be
deemed unconstitutional, and if the other opinions out there
believe the law is likely to be unconstitutional, it is just as
unconstitutional today as it will be next week, next month and
next year," Modrell told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Anti-gay marriage groups denounced Benton's actions and
dismissed the vote as pure politics. "We would call it using the
sacred institution of marriage as a political tool," said Tim
Nashif, spokesman for the Defense of Marriage Coalition, which
is suing Multnomah County and has submitted a proposed ballot
initiative to ban gay marriage. "They're not making decisions
just for Benton County, they are making it for the entire
state."

San Francisco started issuing same-sex licenses about a month
ago, but the California Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a
halt. Officials in communities in New York and New Jersey were
also ordered to stop. Portland is now the last resort for many
couples.


SEA SPECIALTIES: Recalls Smoked Salmon For Possible Health Risk
---------------------------------------------------------------
Sea Specialties Inc. of Miami, FL, in cooperation with the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is recalling its 4 oz., 8
oz., and 16 oz. packages of "Sea Specialties Brand Hand Packed
Thin Sliced Smoked Atlantic Salmon" because they have the
potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an
organism which can be serious and sometimes cause fatal
infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and
others with weakened immune systems.

Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms
such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea,
abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause
miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. No illnesses
have been reported as a result of this problem.

The recalled "Sea Specialties Brand Hand Packed Thin Sliced
Smoked Atlantic Salmon" was distributed in Florida, Missouri,
Illinois, Alabama, California and Pennsylvania in retail stores.
The product comes in 4 oz., 8 oz., or 16 oz. sizes with Sell By
August 30, 2004 stamped on the front or on a sticker on the back
of the packages.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing
by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in 4 oz.
packages of "Sea Specialties Brand Hand Packed Thin Sliced
Smoked Atlantic Salmon" with a sell by date of August 30, 2004.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled 4 oz., 8 oz. or 16
oz., packages of "Sea Specialties Brand Hand Packed Thin Sliced
Smoked Atlantic Salmon" with a sell by date of August 30, 2004
are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full
refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at
(305) 621-7600 x 143.


SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Derivative Investors' Suit in Ohio Stayed
----------------------------------------------------------------
In the fourth quarter of 2002, two shareholder derivative
actions were filed in state court in Columbus, Ohio against AEP
-- the parent of Southwestern Electric Power Company -- and its
Board of Directors alleging a breach of fiduciary duty for
failure to establish and maintain adequate internal controls
over our gas trading operations.  These cases have been stayed
pending the outcome of the Motion to Dismiss the Consolidated
Amended Complaint in the federal securities lawsuits, pending in
Columbus, Ohio.

"If these cases do proceed, we intend to vigorously defend
against them," Southwestern Electric said in its latest SEC
disclosure.

For more information, contact Southwestern Electric Power Co. by
Mail: 428 Travis St, Shreveport LA 71156 or by Phone:
(318) 222-2141.


SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Faces ERISA-related Charges in Ohio
----------------------------------------------------------
In the fourth quarter of 2002 and the first quarter of 2003,
three putative class action lawsuits were filed against AEP,
certain executives and AEP's Employee Retirement Income Security
Act (ERISA) Plan Administrator alleging violations of ERISA in
the selection of AEP stock as an investment alternative and in
the allocation of assets to AEP stock.

The ERISA actions are pending in federal District Court,
Columbus, Ohio. In these actions, the plaintiffs seek recovery
of an unstated amount of compensatory damages, attorney fees and
costs.

"We have filed a Motion to Dismiss these actions. The
parties have fully briefed this Motion. We intend to continue to
vigorously defend against these claims," Southern Electric's
latest SEC disclosure states.

For more information, contact Southwestern Electric Power Co. by
Mail: 428 Travis St, Shreveport LA 71156 or by Phone:
(318) 222-2141.


SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Charges v. Parent in California Dropped
--------------------------------------------------------------
In November 2002, the Lieutenant Governor of California filed a
lawsuit in Los Angeles County, California Superior Court against
forty energy companies, including AEP, and two publishing
companies alleging violations of California law through alleged
fraudulent reporting of false natural gas price and volume
information with an intent to affect the market price of natural
gas and electricity.

This case is in the initial pleading stage and all defendants
have filed motions to dismiss, according to Southern Electric in
a recent SEC disclosure.  AEP has been dismissed from the case.
The plaintiff had stated an intention to amend the complaint to
add an AEP subsidiary as a defendant.  The plaintiff amended the
complaint but did not name any AEP company as a defendant.

For more information, contact Southwestern Electric Power Co. by
Mail: 428 Travis St, Shreveport LA 71156 or by Phone:
(318) 222-2141.


SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: To Move for Dismissal of Texas-Ohio Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
In November 2003, Texas-Ohio Energy, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
California alleging that AEP and a large number of other energy
companies conspired to manipulate natural gas prices in
California in violation of federal and state antitrust and
unfair competition laws.

Certain of the other defendants in this case have filed
a Notice of Potential Tag-Along Action with the Judicial Panel
on Multi-District Litigation seeking to have this case
transferred to the United States District Court for the District
of Nevada where there are a number of other cases now pending
that assert claims regarding the alleged manipulation of energy
markets in California.  None of the AEP companies is a party to
these other pending cases.

"Once venue for the Texas-Ohio Energy, Inc. case is determined,
we plan to move to dismiss the complaint and otherwise
vigorously defend against these claims," Southwestern Electric
said in its latest SEC report.

For more information, contact Southwestern Electric Power Co. by
Mail: 428 Travis St, Shreveport LA 71156 or by Phone:
(318) 222-2141.


SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Sued in CA for Antitrust Violations
----------------------------------------------------------
In February 2004, two individuals on behalf of themselves and
two businesses they own and another individual filed an action
in state court in San Diego County, California against a large
number of energy companies including AEPES.  This action alleges
violations of state antitrust and unfair competition laws based
on alleged manipulation of gas price indices.

"This case is in the initial pleading state. We plan to
vigorously defend against these claims," Southwestern Electric's
SEC filing states.

For more information, contact Southwestern Electric Power Co. by
Mail: 428 Travis St, Shreveport LA 71156 or by Phone:
(318) 222-2141.


SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Sued for Price Manipulation in N.Y.
----------------------------------------------------------
In the third quarter of 2003, Cornerstone Propane Partners filed
an action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York against forty companies, including AEP and
AEPES seeking class certification and alleging unspecified
damages from claimed price manipulation of natural gas futures
and options on the NYMEX from January 2000 through December
2002.

Thereafter, two similar actions were filed in the same court
against a number of companies including AEP and AEPES making
essentially the same claims as Cornerstone Propane Partners and
also seeking class certification.  On December 5, 2003, the
Court issued its initial Pretrial Order consolidating all
related cases, appointing co-lead counsel and providing for the
filing of an amended consolidated complaint.  In January 2004,
plaintiffs filed an amended consolidated complaint.

"We plan to move to dismiss the complaint and otherwise
vigorously defend against these claims," Southwestern Electric
said.

For more information, contact Southwestern Electric Power Co. by
Mail: 428 Travis St, Shreveport LA 71156 or by Phone:
(318) 222-2141.


SOUTHWESTERN ELECTRIC: Blamed for Bankruptcy of Texas Commercial
----------------------------------------------------------------
Texas Commercial Energy, LLP (TCE), a Texas REP, filed a lawsuit
in federal District Court in Corpus Christi, Texas, in July
2003, against Southwestern Electric Power Co., and four AEP
subsidiaries, certain unaffiliated energy companies and ERCOT.

The action alleges violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act,
fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty,
breach of contract, civil conspiracy and negligence. The
allegations, not all of which are made against the AEP
companies, range from anticompetitive bidding to withholding
power.  TCE alleges that these activities resulted in price
spikes requiring TCE to post additional collateral and
ultimately forced it into bankruptcy when it was unable to raise
prices to its customers due to fixed price contracts. The suit
alleges over $500 million in damages for all defendants and
seeks recovery of damages, exemplary damages and court costs.
Two additional parties, Utility Choice, LLC and Cirro Energy
Corporation, have sought leave to intervene as plaintiffs
asserting similar claims.

"We filed a Motion to Dismiss in September 2003.  In February
2004, TCE filed an amended complaint.  We intend to file a
motion to dismiss the amended complaint and otherwise vigorously
defend against the claims," Southwestern Electric's SEC filing
partly reads.

For more information, contact Southwestern Electric Power Co. by
Mail: 428 Travis St, Shreveport LA 71156 or by Phone:
(318) 222-2141.


SPECTRALINK CORPORATION: Mediation Proceedings Begin April 16
-------------------------------------------------------------
SpectraLink Corporation issued on January 14, 2002 a press
release announcing preliminary financial results for the fourth
quarter of 2001 and revising downward its estimates for year
2002 results of operations.  Shortly after the press release,
the Company's stock price declined and the Company and certain
of its officers and directors were named as defendants in four
lawsuits filed between February 7, 2002 and March 6, 2002, three
of which were filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Colorado and one of which was filed in the Colorado
District Court for the City and County of Denver.

In each of the lawsuits, plaintiffs, who purport to be
purchasers or holders of SpectraLink common stock, seek to
assert claims either on behalf of a class of persons who
purchased securities in SpectraLink between July 19, 2001 and
January 11, 2002, or in the case of two of the lawsuits (one
filed in the United States District Court and one in the
Colorado District Court), derivatively on behalf of SpectraLink.
Two of the lawsuits filed in the United States District
contained essentially identical claims alleging that SpectraLink
and certain of its officers and directors violated Sections
10(b) and 20(a) and Rule 10b-5 under the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934, as a result of alleged public misstatements and
omissions, accompanied by insider stock sales made in the months
prior to the decline in the price of SpectraLink's stock after
the January 14, 2002 press release.

In the cases brought as derivative actions, the plaintiffs
allege that the officers and directors of SpectraLink violated
fiduciary duties owed to SpectraLink and its stockholders under
state laws by allowing and/or facilitating the issuance of these
same alleged public misstatements and omissions,
misappropriating nonpublic information for their own benefit,
making insider stock sales, wasting corporate assets, abusing
their positions of control, and mismanaging the corporation. The
plaintiffs in these derivative cases allege that SpectraLink has
and will continue to suffer injury as a result of these alleged
violations of duty for which the officers and directors should
be liable.  The cases are styled:

(1) Wilmer Kerns, Individually And On Behalf of All Others
    Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, vs. SpectraLink Corporation;

(2) Bruce Holland and Nancy K. Hamilton, Defendants (United
    States District Court Civil Action Number 02-D-0263);

(3) Danilo Martin Molieri, Individually and On Behalf of All
    Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, v. SpectraLink
    Corporation, Bruce Holland and Nancy K. Hamilton, Defendants
    (United States District Court Civil Action Number 02-D-
    0315);

(4) Evie Elennis, derivatively on behalf of SpectraLink
    Corporation, Plaintiff(s), v. Bruce M. Holland, Anthony V.
    Carollo, Jr., Gary L. Bliss, Michael P. Cronin, Nancy K.
    Hamilton and John H. Elms, Defendants), and SpectraLink
    Corporation, Nominal Defendant (United States District Court
    Civil Action Number 02-D-0345); and

(5) Roger Humphreys, Derivatively on Behalf of Nominal Defendant
    SpectraLink Corporation, Plaintiff, v. Carl D. Carman,
    Anthony V. Carollo, Jr., Bruce M. Holland, Burton J.
    McMurtry, Gary L. Bliss, Michael P. Cronin, John H. Elms,
    and Nancy K. Hamilton, Defendants (Colorado District Court
    Case. No.02CV1687).

The Kerns and Molieri purported class actions were consolidated,
and the plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Amended Complaint. In
January of 2003, the Court denied a motion to dismiss that
amended pleading, and discovery commenced.

The Court has certified a class of all purchasers of publicly
traded common stock of SpectraLink from April 19, 2001 through
January 11, 2002, inclusive.  On November 26, 2003, the Lead
Plaintiffs in these consolidated class actions moved the court
for permission to file a second consolidated amended class
action, which would have deleted certain of the original claims,
would have extended the class period so that it would commence
on February 1, 2001 instead of April 19, 2001, and would have
added more detail on claims relating to alleged improper revenue
recognition.  The Company opposed the motion.

On March 5, 2004, the Magistrate Judge entered a written Order
denying Lead Plaintiffs' motion. Lead Plaintiffs have the right
to apply to the District Court to modify or set aside the
Magistrate Judge's Order.

The parties to the consolidated class actions have agreed to
engage in mediation on April 16, 2004, and the Court has granted
a stipulated motion, which extends various discovery and other
deadlines. There can be no assurance that the mediation will be
successful.

For more information, contact SpectraLink Corporation by Mail:
5755 Central Avenue, Suite 202E, Boulder CO 80301 or by Phone:
(303) 440-5330.


SPECTRALINK CORPORATION: Court Defers Action on Derivative Suits
----------------------------------------------------------------
The two derivative actions were stayed pending resolution of the
motion to dismiss in the consolidated class action, and
plaintiff's counsel in the Elennis derivative action filed an
unopposed motion for relief from the stay and filed an amended
complaint and then a corrected amended complaint.  Prior to the
entry of the stays in each of the derivative cases, the
defendants had filed motions to dismiss. Defendants have moved
to dismiss the amended and corrected Elennis complaint, which
motion is currently pending.

"SpectraLink believes that the lawsuits are without merit and it
intends to vigorously defend itself and its officers and
directors if a successful mediated settlement cannot be reached.
SpectraLink does not believe that its interests and that of the
named officers and directors are adverse to each other as of
this time," the company's SEC disclosure recently states.

For more information, contact SpectraLink Corporation by Mail:
5755 Central Avenue, Suite 202E, Boulder CO 80301 or by Phone:
(303) 440-5330.


SUPPORTSOFT INC.: Reaches Settlement in Securities Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit was filed in November 2001 against
SupportSoft, Inc. and two of its officers in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York.  The
lawsuit alleged that the company's registration statement and
prospectus dated July 18, 2000 for the issuance and initial
public offering of 4,250,000 shares of common stock contained
material misrepresentations and/or omissions, related to alleged
inflated commissions received by the underwriters of the
offering.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are SupportSoft, Radha Basu,
Brian Beattie, Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation, Bear,
Stearns & Co. Inc. and FleetBoston Robertson Stephens Inc.  The
lawsuit seeks unspecified damages as well as interest, fees and
costs.  Similar complaints have been filed against 55
underwriters and more than 300 other companies and other
individual officers and directors of those companies.  All of
the complaints against the underwriters, issuers and individuals
have been consolidated for pre-trial purposes before U.S.
District Court Judge Scheindlin of the Southern District of New
York.

On June 26, 2003, the plaintiffs announced that a proposed
settlement between the issuer defendants and their directors and
officers had been reached.  As a result of the proposed
settlement, which is subject to court approval, the company
anticipates that its insurance carrier will be responsible for
any payments other than attorneys' fees prior to June 1, 2003.

On September 2, 2003, plaintiffs' executive committee advised
the court that the lead plaintiff in the action against the
company was unwilling to serve as a class representative, and
sought leave to seek a new class representative.  On October 20,
2003, SupportSoft, Inc. was notified that a new class
representative would be substituted into the case against it,
but attempts to formally confirm this substitution have not been
successful.  At a court conference on March 4, 2004, plaintiffs'
executive committee advised the court that the negotiators for
plaintiffs and issuers have agreed on the terms of the
settlement.  The parties must still submit settlement
documentation to the court for approval.

"While we cannot predict with certainty the outcome of the
litigation or whether the settlement will be approved, we
believe that the claims against us and our officers are without
merit," SupportSoft, Inc. said in its latest SEC disclosure.

For more information, contact SupportSoft, Inc. by Mail: 575
Broadway, Redwood CA 94063 or by Phone: (650) 233-4539.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge Rejects Dismissal Of Racketeering Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler on Wednesday rejected a bid
by tobacco companies to have her throw out the government's $289
billion racketeering suit, Reuters News reports.

Judge Kessler denied a motion for dismissal by the tobacco
companies, rejecting their argument that the case violated the
U.S. Constitution's separation of powers among the executive,
judicial and legislative branches of government. The tobacco
companies had argued, in their motion for dismissal, that the
racketeering suit amounted to "regulation by litigation" and
therefore put executive branch officials in an area that should
be reserved for Congress. But Kessler disagreed, saying the
Justice Department was simply enforcing the laws passed by
Congress. "The Department of Justice is exercising the kind of
discretion that prosecutors typically exercise in choosing, on a
fact-specific, case-by-case basis, which lawsuits to bring,"
Kessler wrote.

The government has brought claims against the Philip Morris unit
of Altria Group Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., the
Loews Corp.'s Lorillard Tobacco unit, British American Tobacco
Plc, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. and the Vector Group Ltd.'s
Liggett Group. Brought in 1999 by the Clinton administration,
the suit seeks damages and tougher rules on marketing,
advertising and warning claims on tobacco products.

The case, which is set to go to trial in September, accuses
tobacco companies of intentionally and willfully misleading the
American public. It says the companies long denied that smoking
caused disease and made misleading statements about the
addictive qualities of nicotine. The tobacco companies have
countered that the government itself knew of the relationship
between smoking and disease. They also argue that the government
never said nicotine was "addictive" until the Surgeon General
changed the definition of addiction.


TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Jury Begins Deliberations In Ex-Exec's Trial
----------------------------------------------------------------
A New York jury is poised to decide the fate of Tyco
International Inc.'s two former top executives after prosecutors
wrapped up closing arguments on Wednesday in the nearly six-
month-long corruption trial, Reuters News reports.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Marc Scholl used the final
day of arguments to walk jurors step by step through months of
testimony and evidence against Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz,
the former chairman and chief financial officer, respectively,
of conglomerate Tyco. In his thorough but tedious closing
argument -- some jurors dozed and most quit taking notes after
the first several hours -- the prosecutor quoted countless
damaging excerpts from testimony given by former employees and
directors during the trial.

Scholl, his voice contending with the noise of nearby car
alarms, sirens and horns, at one point called arguments by the
defense "nonsense." "These are excuses that would be laughable
if they were heard anywhere else," he told a jury that has been
witness to one of the biggest corporate corruption cases in U.S.
history.

Kozlowski and Swartz are accused of securities fraud,
conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying documents. They went on
trial in September in a case that pitted them against former
Tyco directors who made them among the best-paid executives in
the United States. Several directors testified they never
approved tens of millions of dollars in bonuses and forgiven
loans for Kozlowski and Swartz, who are accused of stealing $170
million and obtaining another $430 million through illicit stock
sales.

With closing arguments complete, jurors are due on Wednesday to
receive instructions on the law from the judge presiding over
the case and then will be ordered to begin deliberations. Both
Kozlowski and Swartz face up to 25 years in state prison if
convicted on all counts.


UNITED STATES: Air Force Sec. Cites Role Of Alcohol in Assaults
---------------------------------------------------------------
Air Force Secretary John Roche, the service's top civilian
leader, on Wednesday said that alcohol plays a "big time" role
in sexual assaults in the Air Force, the Associated Press
reports.

Roche said a recent review of rape cases at air bases in the
Pacific revealed that at least half of them involved the use of
alcohol. "It's there big time - big time," he told a group of
reporters. The review also showed that senior commanders
generally took the problem of sexual assault seriously, he said.
"But then there were things we found that frankly were dumb,"
Roche said. "The dumbest," he said, was the rape victim
assistance program. It was set up in such a way that if criminal
charges were not brought against the accused, then all
assistance to the accuser was dropped.

The Air Force is reviewing sexual assaults throughout the
service as a result of a study showing that airmen in the
Pacific Air Command were accused of 92 rapes from 2001 to 2003.
Rape claims among cadets in the Air Force Academy triggered a
purge of the academy's commanders and sweeping changes.

Asked whether he believed he was at fault for not recognizing
earlier that rape was a serious problem in the Air Force, Roche
said, "I'm the captain of the ship, so I'm at fault for
everything." He added, however, that he felt Air Force leaders
moved as swiftly as could reasonably be expected once they
looked closely at the Pacific. Roche, who has served as Air
Force secretary since 2001, was nominated last year to become
Army secretary. Last week, however, he asked President Bush to
withdraw the nomination, saying it was unlikely to be acted upon
by Congress this year while controversy continued over his role
in a Boeing aircraft leasing deal and other issues, including a
sexual assault scandal at the Air Force Academy.

After the problems at the Air Force Academy became known, Roche
said he and others asked themselves whether the Air Force at
large might have a similar problem. The conventional wisdom, he
said, was that it did not. During a visit to Osan air base in
South Korea - the largest U.S. Air Force base in the country -
his wife discussed the issue of sexual assaults with some female
Air Force personnel. Afterward she told him, "Maybe you ought to
look at this," Roche said, and that led to the extensive review
of rape cases in the Pacific.


UNITED STATES: Congress Mulls Airline Passenger Screening Plan
--------------------------------------------------------------
Congress, the Bush administration and major airlines all say
they want the same thing: a computerized passenger screening
program that will keep dangerous people off airliners -but not
all are pleased with the way the two-year-old project is taking
shape, the Associated Press reports.

The Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, or CAPPS
II, would rank all air passengers according to the likelihood of
their being terrorists. But some say the project would violate
privacy rights, while others are concerned it would cost the
private sector too much money. The House aviation subcommittee
scheduled a hearing on the status of CAPPS II on Wednesday.
Congress last year ordered its investigative arm to report on
whether CAPPS II safeguards passenger privacy. The auditors
reported last month that the government hasn't adequately
addressed security and privacy concerns.

U.S. airlines are refusing to voluntarily turn over passenger
data to the government so it can test the system. They echo
their customers' concerns about government snooping and the
possibility that people will be wrongly labeled as terrorists.
The Air Transport Association, the trade group for major
airlines, has come up with seven "privacy principles" that it
says the government should follow in implementing CAPPS II.
The guidelines seek to ensure the TSA collects only personal
information pertaining to aviation security, stores it securely
and gets rid of it as soon as travel is completed. The airlines
also said that passengers must be allowed to access their
personal information and correct any errors.

The TSA says it agrees that privacy must be protected. A privacy
officer, Nuala O'Connor Kelly, has been hired to make sure
federal privacy law is upheld. The agency won't hold on to
passengers' records, except for people who might be terrorists.
The TSA also says it has established a way for passengers to
redress inaccurate information, though that remains to be
tested. The Business Travel Coalition, a group that wants to
lower the cost of business travel, said in a statement that
business would be disrupted if travelers were inadvertently
snared by the system. The group also said that CAPPS II would
burden corporations and travel agencies with higher costs.

The passenger screening program would check information such as
a name, address and birth date against commercial and government
databases. Each passenger would be given one of three color-
coded ratings. Suspected terrorists and violent criminals would
be designated as red and forbidden to fly. Passengers who raise
questions would be classified as yellow and would receive extra
security screening. The vast majority would be designated green
and allowed through routine screening.


VIROPHARMA INC: Enters Into Agreement to Settle Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
ViroPharma Incorporated announced that it has entered into an
agreement in principle to settle its current class action
securities litigation, Primezone reports.

The proposed settlement will be paid from the company's
insurance coverage and will not result in the payment of any
funds by the company. The proposed settlement is subject to the
approval of the court.

For more information, contact Vincent J. Milano, Vice President,
CFO and Treasurer, by Phone: (610) 321-6225.


WASHINGTON: Local Student Kills Self In Front Of Classmates
-----------------------------------------------------------
According to local authorities, a 13-year-old boy shot and
killed himself in front of his classmates Wednesday in the town
of Joyce, the Associated Press reports.

The shooting took place in front of about 20 students in an
eighth-grade classroom, Sheriff Joe Martin told the AP. The
boy's name was not immediately released.

The district recommended parents keep their children at school,
where grief counselors were on hand. There are two schools on
the campus, the 120-student Crescent Elementary and the 110-
student Crescent Junior-Senior High. Joyce is about 70 miles
from Seattle, on the Olympic Peninsula.


WELLS FARGO: Reaches Settlement In Lawsuit Over Customer Privacy
----------------------------------------------------------------
Four nonprofit groups in Monterey County will get $30,000 under
the proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Wells
Fargo Bank over customers' privacy, The Californian reports.

Moreover, many Wells Fargo customers would receive a month of
online bill-paying service for free under the agreement. The
bank charges $6.95 a month for the service. The settlement,
which still must be approved by a San Francisco Superior Court
judge, stems from a 1999 lawsuit against Wells Fargo.

The suit, one of several actions against banks and other
financial institutions, accused Wells Fargo of improperly
disclosing customer information to third parties. Consumer
advocates contend such a practice violates the privacy of bank
customers and targets them for unwanted marketing come-ons.
Wells Fargo denied the allegations, which covered a period from
September 1995 until July 2001.

The bank agreed to the proposed settlement, rather "than
continuing to litigate," Wells Fargo said in a notice this month
to California customers. "We're committed to protecting
(customers') privacy. We don't sell to third parties," Wells
Fargo spokeswoman Julie Campbell said Friday. Under the
settlement, Wells Fargo will donate $3.25 million to charity
groups and offer free bill-paying service at an estimated cost
of $3.5 million.

Local groups receiving money would be the Foundation for
Monterey County Free Libraries, $5,000; Interim Inc., $10,000;
South County Housing, $10,000; and the Salinas YMCA, $5,000.
The privacy issue struck a chord with Wells Fargo customer Nikki
Schoessow, a Salinas business student. "This should be
prohibited. (Banks) are the place we go for security," she said.
"I don't like this kind of stuff going on."


WORLDCOM/MCI: SEC Bars Ex-CFO From Practice As An Accountant
------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended
former WorldCom Chief Financial Officer Scott D. Sullivan from
appearing or practicing before the Commission as an accountant.
Sullivan consented to the suspension without admitting or
denying the suspension order's findings.

The suspension was based on a judgment of permanent injunction
entered on March 8, 2004, by the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York that:

     (1) enjoins Sullivan from violating Section 17(a) of the
         Securities Act of 1933, and Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5)
         of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5,
         13b2-1 and 13b2-2 thereunder, and from aiding and
         abetting WorldCom's violations of Section 13(a),
         13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1
         and 13a-13;

     (2) prohibits him from acting as an  officer  or
         director of any issuer that has a class of securities
         registered pursuant to Exchange Act Section 12 or that
         is required to file reports pursuant to Exchange Act
         Section 15(d); and


     (3) provides that any monetary relief will be decided by
         the Court at a later date.

The Commission's civil complaint against Sullivan, filed on
March 2, 2004, alleged, among other things, that by September
2000, Sullivan and other senior WorldCom executives knew that
WorldCom's true operating performance and financial results were
materially below the financial guidance they had given to Wall
Street analysts and investors. Rather than disclose WorldCom's
true financial condition and suffer the resulting decline in
the company's share price, from approximately September 2000
through June 2002, Sullivan engaged in a scheme that
fraudulently concealed WorldCom's true operational and financial
results. The scheme involved improperly manipulating WorldCom's
reported revenue, expenses, net income, earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), and
earnings per share.

Also on March 2, 2004, in connection with the same conduct,
Sullivan pleaded guilty to criminal charges filed by the U.S.
Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. The
Commission acknowledges the assistance and cooperation of the
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and
the  Federal Bureau of Investigation.


                    Asbestos Alert


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Allegheny Subsidiaries Involved in Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
Subsidiaries of Allegheny Energy Supply Co. LLC are and may
become subject to legal claims arising from the presence of
asbestos or other regulated substances at certain of its
facilities.  The Distribution Companies, namely Monongahela
Power Co. (excluding Monongahela's generation of electricity for
its West Virginia jurisdiction), Potomac Edison Co., and West
Penn Power Co., have been named as defendants in pending
asbestos litigation involving multiple plaintiffs and multiple
defendants.  In addition, asbestos and other regulated
substances are still present and may in the future continue to
be located at Allegheny-owned facilities where suitable
alternative materials are not available. AE believes, however,
that any remaining asbestos at any given Allegheny-owned
facility is contained.  Allegheny believes that it uses and
stores all hazardous substances in a safe and lawful manner.
However, asbestos and other hazardous substances are currently
used and will continue to be used at Allegheny-owned facilities,
which could result in actions being brought against Allegheny
that would claim exposure to asbestos or other hazardous
substances.

Monongahela, Potomac Edison, and West Penn have also been named
as defendants along with multiple other defendants in pending
asbestos cases alleging bodily injury involving multiple
plaintiffs and multiple sites.  These suits have been brought
mostly by seasonal contractor employees and do not involve
allegations of either the manufacture, sale or distribution of
asbestos-containing products by Allegheny.  While Allegheny
believes that some or all of the cases are without merit as
against Allegheny, it cannot predict the outcome of the asbestos
suits.  The asbestos suits arise out of historical operations
and are related to the removal of asbestos-containing materials
from Allegheny's premises.  Various foreign and domestic
insurers, including Lloyd's of London, insured Allegheny's
historical operations.  Allegheny's asbestos-related litigation
expenses have to date been reimbursed in full by recoveries from
its historical insurers and Allegheny believes that it has
sufficient insurance to respond fully to the asbestos suits.
Certain of Allegheny's insurers, however, have contested their
obligations to pay for the future defense and settlement costs
relating to the asbestos suits.  Allegheny is currently involved
in two asbestos insurance-related actions, Certain Underwriters
at Lloyd's, London et al. v. Allegheny Energy, Inc. et al., Case
No. 21-C-03-16733 (Washington County, MD), and Monongahela Power
Company et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London and
London Market Companies, et al., Civil Action No. 03-C-281
(Monongalia County, WV), both commenced in 2003.  The parties in
the actions are seeking an allocation of responsibility for
Allegheny’s historic asbestos liability.  Allegheny is
continuing to receive payments from its insurance during the
pendency of these actions, specifically the sum of
$1,875,000,000, payable in equal parts on each of July 1, 2004,
2005 and 2006.  During the twelve months ended December 31, 2003
and 2002, Allegheny received insurance recoveries of $1,800,000,
net of $400,000 of legal fees, and $2,400,000, net of $500,000
of legal fees, related to the asbestos cases.  Allegheny does
not believe that the existence or pendency of either the
asbestos suits or the actions involving its insurance will have
a material impact on Allegheny's consolidated financial
position, results of operations or cash flows.  Allegheny
believes that it has established adequate reserves, net of
insurance receivables and recovery, to cover existing and future
asbestos claims.  On December 19, 2003, Allegheny settled and/or
dismissed 4,314 of its 5,624 open cases; however, the court
signed the final Order formally dismissing these cases on
January 8, 2004.  These settlements and/or dismissals did not
result in a material change to the accrued contingent reserve.
As of March 8, 2004, Allegheny had 1,409 open cases remaining.
The Company also stated that actuarially determined reserves for
potential alleged asbestos claims contributed to the increase in
its $26,300,000 operation expense (which primarily includes
salaries and wages, employee benefits, materials and supplies,
contract work, outside services, and other expenses) for the
Delivery and Services segment for 2003.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Allstate Explains Its Reserve Reestimates
--------------------------------------------------------------
Allstate Corp. says that unfavorable reserve reestimates in 2003
were due to favorable Allstate Protection auto injury severity
and late reported loss development that was better than previous
estimates, offset by unfavorable increases related to asbestos,
and other discontinued lines.  Unfavorable reserve reestimates
in 2002 were due to claim severity and late reported losses for
Allstate Protection that were greater than what was anticipated
in previous reserve estimates and to increased estimates of
losses related to asbestos, environmental, and other
discontinued lines in the Discontinued Lines and Coverages
segment.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ameren Companies' Related Lawsuits Continue
----------------------------------------------------------------
Ameren Corp., Union Electric Co. (UE), Central Illinois Public
Service Co. (CIPS), Ameren Energy Generating Co. (Genco), and
Central Illinois Light Co. (CILCO) have been named, along with
numerous other parties, in a number of lawsuits, which have been
filed by certain plaintiffs claiming varying degrees of injury
from asbestos exposure.  Most have been filed in the Circuit
Court of Madison County, Illinois.  The number of total
defendants named in each case is significant with as many as 110
parties named in a case to as few as six.  However, the average
number of parties is 60 in the cases that were pending as of
December 31, 2003.

The claims filed against Ameren, UE, CIPS, Genco and CILCO
allege injury from asbestos exposure during the plaintiffs'
activities at the Ameren Companies' electric generating plants.
In the case of CIPS, its former plants are now owned by Genco,
and in the case of CILCO, AmerenEnergy Resources Generating Co.
(AERG) now owns most of its former plants.  As a part of the
transfer of ownership of the generating plants, the transferor
(CIPS or CILCO) has contractually agreed to indemnify the
transferee (Genco or AERG) for liabilities associated with
asbestos-related claims arising from activities prior to the
transfer.  Each lawsuit seeks unspecified damages in excess of
$50,000, which, if proved, typically would be shared among the
named defendants.

Ameren, UE, CIPS, Genco and CILCO believe that the final
disposition of these proceedings will not have a material
adverse effect on their financial position, results of
operations or liquidity.

As of December 31, 2003, Ameren is specifically named as
defendant in 15 asbestos-related lawsuits filed, two have been
dismissed, and the remaining 13 are pending.  UE is named in 121
lawsuits filed, with 22 settled, 50 dismissed, and 49 pending.
CIPS is named in 68 lawsuits filed, 11 settled, 21 dismissed,
and 36 pending.  Genco is named in two lawsuits filed, both of
which are pending.  CILCO is named in 13 lawsuits filed, one
settled, one dismissed, and 11 pending.  The total number of
asbestos-related lawsuits filed against the Ameren Companies is
178, with 31 settled, 67 dismissed, and 80 pending.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Argonaut Group Completes Reserve Estimates
---------------------------------------------------------------
In the third quarter of 2003, Argonaut Group Inc. completed an
analysis of the recoverability of losses and loss adjustment
expense reserves related to asbestos and environmental claims
for its run-off lines.  This analysis resulted in a decrease to
ceded loss and loss adjustment expense reserves, and a
corresponding increase to net loss and loss adjustment expense
reserves and a related expense of $10,200,000.  The Company
revised its analysis that projects anticipated future ceded
reinsurance recoveries relative to existing claims and incurred
but not reported claims.  The analysis relied on identification
of reinsurance contracts that the Company purchased at the time
the policies were in force.  These reinsurance contracts provide
coverage for specific policy contracts for which the Company has
claim exposure.  Previously, the Company utilized historical
relationships of ceded losses to gross losses to estimate
expected future ceded losses.  The current approach incorporates
more of the specific characteristics of the existing and
expected claims, and related policies and reinsurance contracts,
and, accordingly, management believes it provides a more refined
estimate of expected future ceded loss recoveries.

Company policy beginning in 1985 was to exclude asbestos
coverage on all general liability policies.  During the third
quarter of 2002, management identified claims associated with
certain general liability policies issued through one office
from 1985 to the early 1990's, which did not exclude absolute
asbestos coverage.  The Company strengthened its loss reserves
by $7,000,000 in the third quarter of 2002 for these claims.
The Company reviewed policy files issued during this period for
additional exposures and management believes the policies
written were limited to this specific time frame and one
location.  The Company completed its 2002 annual analysis of
reserves for the run-off lines in the fourth quarter of 2002 and
as a result strengthened its asbestos reserves by $52,800,000.
The decision to strengthen asbestos reserves was the result of
an evaluation and review of exposure to asbestos claims,
particularly in light of industry and litigation trends, actual
claims experience, and actuarial analysis by the Company's
consulting and internal actuaries.  However, some uncertainty
remains regarding the severity and frequency of future claims to
the extent that other carriers and policyholders may not have
provided notice of loss or addressed issues of coverage.
Additional uncertainty is created by continued unfavorable
trends in the insurance industry related to asbestos.  All of
these factors were considered as part of the decision to
strengthen reserves in the fourth quarter of 2002.  Although
legislative reform for class action lawsuits, judicial and
legislative actions imposing minimum proof requirements, and
other tort-related reforms are possible in the near term, the
study did not take these mitigating factors into account in
evaluating the severity or frequency of claims.

Total reserves for run-off lines as of December 31, 2003 were
$219,300,000, net of reinsurance but before effects of the
adverse development cover, including reserves for environmental
and asbestos claims of $180,000,000.  Management uses various
actuarial methods to determine the potential range of losses for
the run-off lines in total, which resulted in a range of
potential ultimate liability, net of reinsurance, of
$152,200,000 to $335,500,000.  In determining its best estimate,
management primarily relied on the report year method.  The
report year method relies most heavily on the Company's
historical claims and severity information, whereas other
methods rely more heavily on industry information.  This method
produces an estimate of losses which have been incurred but not
yet reported based on projections of numbers of future claims
and the average severity for those future claims.  The
severities were calculated based on Argonaut specific data and
in management's opinion best reflect Argonaut liabilities based
upon the insurance policies issued.  As a result of this reserve
analysis, the reserve for incurred but not reported
environmental and asbestos claims (net of reinsurance) at
December 31, 2003, was $99,600,000 compared to $102,100,000 and
$58,200,000 as of December 31, 2002 and 2001, respectively.  The
reserve for incurred but not reported claims for the remaining
run-off lines (net of reinsurance) was $11,800,000 as of
December 31, 2003, compared to $15,300,000 and $18,800,000 as of
December 31, 2002 and 2001, respectively.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bowater Takes On Claims In GA, TN Courts
-------------------------------------------------------------
In late 2001, Bowater, several other paper companies, and 120
other companies were named as defendants in asbestos personal
injury actions based on product liability claims.  These actions
generally allege occupational exposure to numerous products.
Bowater has denied the allegations and no specific product of
Bowater has been identified by the plaintiffs in any of the
actions as having caused or contributed to any individual
plaintiff's alleged asbestos-related injury.

These claims have been filed by claimants who sought monetary
damages in civil actions pending in state courts in Georgia,
Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Tennessee and Texas.
Around 850 of these claims have been dismissed, either
voluntarily or by summary judgment, and an estimated 178 claims
remain.  Insurers are defending these claims and the Company has
not settled or paid any of these claims.  Bowater believes that
all of these asbestos-related claims are covered by insurance,
subject to any applicable deductibles and its insurers' rights
to dispute coverage.  While it is not possible to predict with
certainty the outcome of these matters, based upon the advice of
special counsel, the Company does not expect these claims to
have a material adverse impact on Bowater's business, financial
position or results of operations.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CSX Corp. Posts 7-Year Reserve Estimate
------------------------------------------------------------
In its recent regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, CSX Corp. reported a charge of $232,000,000 pretax,
$145,000,000 after tax in conjunction with the change in
estimate of casualty reserves to include an estimate of incurred
but not reported claims for asbestos and other occupational
injuries to be received over the next seven years.

The primary component of the expense increase was a charge of
$229,000,000 recorded in conjunction with the Company's change
in estimate for its casualty reserves to include an estimate of
incurred but not reported claims for asbestos and other
occupational injuries that could be received over the next seven
years.  This charge is reflected as "Provision for Casualty
Claims" in the financial statements.

During 2003, the Company retained third party professionals to
work with it to project the number of asbestos and other
occupational injury claims to be received over the next seven
years and the related costs.  Based on this analysis the Company
established reserves for the probable and reasonably estimable
asbestos and other occupational injury liabilities.  In
conjunction with the change in estimate, in 2003 the Company
recorded a net charge of $206,000,000 to increase its provision
for these claims.  About $141,000,000 of this amount relates to
asbestos claims.

Around 5,500 of the Company's 14,278 open claims for the fiscal
year ended December 26, 2003 are asbestos claims against the
Company's previously owned international container-shipping
business, Sea-Land.  Because the Sea-Land claims are claims
against multiple vessel owners, the Company's reserves reflect
its portion of those claims.  The remaining open claims have
been asserted against CSX Transportation.  At December 26, 2003
and December 27, 2002, the Company had about $13,000,000 and
$10,000,000 reserved for the Sea-Land claims.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CSX Transport Claims Take Toll on Charges
--------------------------------------------------------------
During 2003, CSX Transportation Inc. (CSXT) retained third party
professionals to work with it to project the number of asbestos
and other occupational injury claims to be received over the
next seven years and the related costs.  Based on this analysis
the Company established reserves for the probable and reasonably
estimable asbestos and other occupational injury liabilities.
In conjunction with the change in estimate, in 2003 the Company
recorded a charge of $203,000,000 to increase its provision for
these claims.  About $138,000,000 of this amount relates to
asbestos claims.  Additionally, the provision for personal
injury claims was increased by $26,000,000 as a result of a
change in estimate.

The Company increased its reserve for asbestos and other
occupational claims by a net $203,000,000 to cover the estimate
of incurred but not reported claims to be filed during the next
seven years.  Reflecting the additional provisions, the
Company's reserve for asbestos and other occupational claims on
an undiscounted basis amounted to $331,000,000 at December 26,
2003, compared to $161,000,000 at December 27, 2002.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Constellation Firm BG&E Deals With Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------
Since 1993, Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. (BGE) in central
Maryland, a regulated electric and gas public utility of
Constellation Energy Group Inc., has been involved in several
actions concerning asbestos.  The actions are based upon the
theory of "premises liability," alleging that BGE knew of and
exposed individuals to an asbestos hazard.  The actions relate
to two types of claims.

The first type is direct claims by individuals exposed to
asbestos.  BGE is involved in these claims with around 70 other
defendants.  Around 570 individuals who were never employees of
BGE each claim $6,000,000 in damages ($2,000,000 compensatory
and $4,000,000 punitive).  These claims are currently pending in
state courts in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  BGE does not know
the specific facts necessary to estimate its potential liability
for these claims.  The specific facts BGE does not know include

     (1) identity of BGE's facilities at which the plaintiffs
         allegedly worked as contractors,

     (2) the names of the plaintiffs' employers,

     (3) the date on which the exposure allegedly occurred, and

     (4) the facts and circumstances relating to the alleged
         exposure.

To date, 259 asbestos cases were dismissed or resolved for
amounts that were not significant.  Around 155 cases are
scheduled for trial by the end of 2004.

The second type is claims by one manufacturer - Pittsburgh
Corning Corp. (PCC), which declared bankruptcy on April 17, 2000
- against BGE and around eight others, as third-party
defendants.

These claims relate to around 1,500 individual plaintiffs and
were filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland in
the fall of 1993.  To date, about 375 cases have been resolved,
all without any payment by BGE.  BGE does not know the specific
facts necessary to estimate its potential liability for these
claims.  The specific facts BGE does not know include:

the identity of BGE facilities containing asbestos manufactured
by the manufacturer,

the relationship (if any) of each of the individual plaintiffs
to BGE,

the settlement amounts for any individual plaintiffs who are
shown to have had a relationship to BGE,

the dates on which/places at which the exposure allegedly
occurred, and

the facts and circumstances relating to the alleged exposure.

Until the relevant facts for both types of claims are
determined, the Company is unable to estimate what its, or
BGE's, liability might be.  Although insurance and hold harmless
agreements from contractors who employed the plaintiffs may
cover a portion of any awards in the actions, the potential
effect on Constellation Energy's, or BGE's, financial results
could be material.


COMPANY PROFILE

Constellation Energy Group Inc.
750 E. Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-783-2800
http://www.constellationenergy.com

Description: Constellation Energy Group Inc. is a North American
energy company that conducts its business through various
subsidiaries, including a merchant energy business, Baltimore
Gas and Electric Co., and other non-regulated businesses.
Through its other non-regulated businesses, it designs,
constructs and operates heating, cooling and cogeneration
facilities; provides home improvements, service heating, air
conditioning, plumbing, electrical and indoor air quality
systems, and provides electric and natural gas retail marketing.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Entergy Class Suits Filed in Several States
----------------------------------------------------------------
Entergy Corp. reported in a regulatory filing that several class
action and other suits have been filed in state and federal
courts seeking relief from Entergy Louisiana Inc., Entergy New
Orleans Inc. and others for asbestos-related disease allegedly
resulting from exposure on Entergy Louisiana's and Entergy New
Orleans' premises.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed in federal and state courts in
Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi primarily by contractor
employees in the 1950-1980 timeframe against Entergy Gulf States
Inc., Entergy Louisiana, Entergy Mississippi Inc., and Entergy
New Orleans as premises owners of power plants, for damages
caused by alleged exposure to asbestos or other hazardous
material.  Many other defendants are named in these lawsuits as
well.

There are around 419 lawsuits involving just over 7,000 claims.
Reserves have been established that should be adequate to cover
any exposure.  Additionally, negotiations continue with insurers
to recover more reimbursement, while new coverage is being
secured to minimize anticipated future potential exposures.
Management believes that loss exposure has been and will
continue to be handled successfully so that the ultimate
resolution of these matters will not be material, in the
aggregate, to the companies' financial position or results of
operation.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Fairfax Financial Accounts For Losses
----------------------------------------------------------
Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. reported that its net health
hazard related claims (APH) losses and ALAE incurred for runoff
operations during the year 2003 amounted to $61,800,000.  Net
asbestos losses and ALAE incurred during 2003 amounted to
$77,100,000 and this includes a $16,000,000 one-time
reclassification of reserves from environmental pollution into
asbestos.  Both figures include a $24,700,000 one-time
reclassification of reserves from non-latent classes into
asbestos.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Foster Wheeler Provides For More Claims
------------------------------------------------------------
Foster Wheeler Ltd. expects to report a consolidated net loss
for 2003 of about $157,000,000 compared with a net loss of
$525,200,000 in 2002.  The reduction in the net loss reflects
improved operating performance offset by net charges close to
$151,700,000.  Included in the 2003 net charges is a non cash
$68,100,000 provision for increased asbestos claims and a
reduction in the corresponding insurance assets because of the
insolvency of insurance carriers, $59,500,000 in charges
associated with professional services and severance benefits
related to the company's ongoing restructuring, and $32,300,000
for revisions to project cost estimates and related receivables.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: GM Believes Asbestos Claims Without Merit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Like most domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers, over
the years General Motors Corp. has used some brake products each
of which incorporated small amounts of encapsulated asbestos.
These products, generally brake linings, are known as asbestos-
containing friction products.  There is a significant body of
scientific data demonstrating that these asbestos-containing
friction products are not unsafe and do not create an increased
risk of asbestos-related disease.  GM believes that the use of
asbestos in these products was appropriate.

As with other companies that have used asbestos, there has been
an increase in the number of claims against GM related to
allegations concerning the use of asbestos-containing friction
products in recent years.  A growing number of auto mechanics
are filing suit seeking recovery based on their alleged exposure
to the small amount of asbestos used in brake components.  These
claims almost always identify numerous other potential sources
for the claimant's alleged exposure to asbestos, which do not
involve GM, or even asbestos-containing friction products and
many of these other potential sources would place users at much
greater risk.  The vast majority of these claimants do not have
an asbestos-related illness and may never develop one.  This is
consistent with the experience reported by other automotive
manufacturers and other end users of asbestos.

Two other types of claims related to alleged asbestos exposure
are being asserted against GM, representing a significantly
lower exposure than the automotive friction product claims.
Like other locomotive manufacturers, GM used a limited amount of
asbestos in locomotive brakes and in the insulation used in the
manufacturing of some locomotives.  These uses have been the
basis of lawsuits being filed against GM by railroad workers
seeking relief based on their alleged exposure to asbestos.
These claims almost always identify numerous other potential
sources for the claimant's alleged exposure to asbestos, which
do not involve GM or even locomotives. Many of these claimants
do not have an asbestos-related illness and may never develop
one.  In addition, like many other manufacturers, a relatively
small number of claims are brought by contractors who are
seeking recovery based on alleged exposure to asbestos-
containing products while working on premises owned by GM.
These claims almost always identify numerous other potential
sources for the claimant's alleged exposure to asbestos, which
do not involve GM.  The vast majority of these claimants do not
have an asbestos-related illness and may never develop one.

While General Motors has resolved many of these cases over the
years and continues to do so for conventional strategic
litigation reasons (avoiding defense costs and possible exposure
to runaway verdicts), GM believes the vast majority of such
claims against GM are without merit.  Only a small percentage of
the claims pending against GM allege the contraction of a
malignant disease associated with asbestos exposure.  The vast
majority of claimants do not have an asbestos-related illness
and may never develop one.  In addition, GM believes that it has
very strong defenses based upon a number of published
epidemiological studies prepared by highly respected scientists.
Indeed, GM believes there is compelling evidence warranting the
dismissal of virtually all of these claims against GM.  GM will
vigorously press this evidence before judges and juries whenever
possible.  The West Virginia Supreme Court and an Ohio trial
court have ruled that Federal law preempts asbestos tort claims
asserted on behalf of railroad workers.  Such preemption means
that Federal law entirely eliminates the possibility that
railroad workers could maintain claims against GM.

GM's annual expenditures associated with the resolution of these
claims have increased in nonmaterial amounts in recent years,
but the amount expended in any year is highly dependent on the
number of claims filed, the amount of pretrial proceedings
conducted, and the number of trials and settlements which occur
during the period.  While over time GM anticipates annual
expenditures relating to these claims may increase somewhat as a
function of the number of claims increasing, it is management's
belief, based upon consultation with legal counsel, that the
claims will not result in a material adverse effect upon the
financial condition or results of operations of GM.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Georgia Pacific To Pay Claims Through 2013
---------------------------------------------------------------
Georgia Pacific Corp. and many other companies are defendants in
suits brought in various courts around the nation by plaintiffs
who allege that they have suffered personal injury as a result
of exposure to asbestos containing products.  These suits allege
a variety of lung and other diseases based on alleged exposure
to products previously manufactured by us.  The Company's
asbestos liabilities relate primarily to joint systems products
manufactured by Bestwall Gypsum Company and its gypsum business
that contained small amounts of asbestos fiber.  The Company
discontinued using asbestos in the manufacture of these products
in 1977.

In fiscal 2001, 2002 and 2003, working with National Economic
Research Associates (NERA) and Navigant Consulting (formerly
known as Peterson Consulting), the Company's external
consultants, Georgia Pacific recorded pre-tax charges totaling
$563,000,000 for asbestos liabilities and defense costs, net of
anticipated insurance recoveries, that it expects to pay through
2013.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Harsco Sued For Alleged Airborne Asbestos
--------------------------------------------------------------
Harsco Corp. has been named as one of many defendants (around 90
or more in most cases) in legal actions alleging personal injury
from exposure to airborne asbestos.  In their suits, the
plaintiffs have named as defendants many manufacturers,
distributors and repairers of numerous types of equipment or
products that may involve asbestos.  Most of these complaints
contain a standard claim for damages of $20,000,000 or more
against the named defendants.  The Company has not paid any
amounts in settlement of these cases, with the exception of two
settlements totaling less than $10,000 paid by the insurance
carrier prior to 1998.  However, if the Company was found to be
liable in any of these actions and the liability was to exceed
the Company's insurance coverage, results of operations, cash
flows and financial condition could be adversely affected.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ITT, Subsidiary Resolve 2,000 Claims
---------------------------------------------------------
ITT Industries Inc. and its subsidiary Goulds Pumps, Inc. have
been joined as defendants with numerous other industrial
companies in product liability lawsuits alleging injury due to
asbestos.  These actions against the Company have been managed
by the Company's historic product liability insurance carriers,
and substantially all claims, including all defense and
settlement costs, have been covered by those same carriers.
These claims stem primarily from products sold prior to 1985
that contained a part manufactured by a third party, e.g., a
gasket, which allegedly contained asbestos.  The asbestos was
encapsulated in the gasket (or other) material and was non-
friable.  In certain other cases, it is alleged that ITT
companies were distributors for other manufacturers' products
that may have contained asbestos.

Frequently, the plaintiffs are unable to demonstrate any injury
or do not identify any ITT or Goulds product as a source of
asbestos exposure. During 2003, the Company and Goulds resolved
around 2,000 claims through settlement or dismissal.  The
average amount of settlement per claim has been nominal.

The Company is involved in two actions, Cannon Electric, Inc. et
al. v. Ace Property & Casualty Company et al. Superior Court,
County of Los Angeles, CA, Case No. BC 290354, and Pacific
Employers Insurance Company et al., v. ITT Industries, Inc., et
al., Supreme Court, County of New York, NY, Case No. 03600463.
The parties in both cases are seeking an appropriate allocation
of responsibility for the Company's historic asbestos liability
exposures among its insurers.  The California action is filed in
the same venue where the Company's environmental insurance
recovery litigation has been pending since 1991.  Both actions
have been stayed to allow the parties to negotiate an acceptable
allocation arrangement.  In addition, Utica National, Goulds
historic insurer, has requested that the Company negotiate a
coverage in place agreement to allocate the Goulds' asbestos
liabilities between insurance policies issued by Utica and
others. The parties are currently negotiating the terms of such
an agreement.  The Company is continuing to receive insurance
payments during the pendency of these proceedings.  The Company
believes that these actions will not materially affect the
availability of its insurance coverage and will not have a
material adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial
position, results of operations or cash flows.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Navigators Exposures Negatively Impact LAE Ratio
----------------------------------------------------------------
Included in the Navigators Group Inc. 2003 fourth quarter and
full year results is the previously announced after-tax charge
of $20,500,000 or $1.68 per basic share and $2.14 per diluted
share, respectively for incurred losses related to asbestos
exposures.  The combined loss and expense ratio for the 2003
fourth quarter and full year was 129.9% and 104.0%, respectively
compared to 98.0% and 98.5% for the comparable 2002 year
periods.  The combined loss and expense ratio for the 2003
fourth quarter and full year were negatively impacted by 44.2%
and 11.7%, respectively for incurred losses related to asbestos
and environmental exposures.

Navigators' Chief Executive Officer, Stan Galanski, commented,
"The Company achieved strong but controlled growth in line with
our expectations.  We are pleased with the profitability of our
current book of business, and have taken appropriate action to
maintain adequate loss reserves across all lines of business,
including reserves for asbestos and environmental exposures.  We
are particularly proud of the strong results generated by our
London operations, both in the U.K. branch of Navigators
Insurance Company and Syndicate 1221."

Navigators' Insurance Companies adjusted combined ratio for the
three months ended December 31, 2003 was 84.9%, whereas its
Lloyd's operations segment posted 88.0% for a total of 85.7%.
Adjusted combined ratio excludes $31,648,000 incurred losses for
asbestos exposures.  Inter-segment profit commissions of
$5,552,000 recorded as commission expense of the Insurance
Companies and commission income of the Navigators Agencies was
reduced as a result of the $31,648,000 incurred losses for
asbestos exposures.  Navigators' Insurance Companies adjusted
combined ratio for the year ended December 31, 2003 was 92.3%,
and its Lloyd's operations segment posted 92.3% for a total of
92.3%.  Adjusted combined ratio excludes $32,479 incurred losses
for asbestos exposures ($31,680,000).  Inter-segment profit
commissions of $5,718,000 recorded as profit commission expense
of the Insurance Companies and commission income of the
Navigators Agencies was reduced as a result of the incurred
losses for asbestos exposures.  Outstanding asbestos claim count
for the year ended December 31, 2003 is 108.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PMA Capital Sets Aside Reserves For Losses
---------------------------------------------------------------
At December 31, 2003, 2002 and 2001, PMA Capital Corp.'s gross
reserves for asbestos-related losses were $37,800,000,
$42,100,000 and $59,900,000, respectively ($17,800,000,
$25,800,000 and $28,600,000, net of reinsurance, respectively).
Of the net asbestos reserves, about $14,900,000, $22,900,000,
and $26,600,000 related to IBNR losses at December 31, 2003,
2002 and 2001, respectively.  At December 31, 2003, 2002 and
2001 gross reserves for environmental-related losses were
$14.200,000, $18,200,000 and $29,600,000, respectively
($8,800,000, $14,300,000 and $16,000,000, net of reinsurance,
respectively).  Of the net environmental reserves, around
$3,700,000, $7,900,000 and $9,200,000 related to IBNR losses at
December 31, 2003, 2002 and 2001, respectively.  All incurred
asbestos and environmental losses were for accident years 1986
and prior.

Estimating reserves for asbestos and environmental exposures
continues to be difficult because of several factors, including

evolving methodologies for the estimation of the liabilities;

lack of reliable historical claim data;

uncertainties with respect to insurance and reinsurance coverage
related to these obligations;

changing judicial interpretations; and

changing government standards and regulations.

PMA Capital believes that its reserves for asbestos and
environmental claims are appropriately established based upon
known facts, existing case law and generally accepted actuarial
methodologies.

However, due to changing interpretations by courts involving
coverage issues, the potential for changes in federal and state
standards for clean-up and liability, as well as issues
involving policy provisions, allocation of liability and damages
among participating insurers, and proof of coverage, PMA
Capital's ultimate exposure for these claims may vary
significantly from the amounts currently recorded, resulting in
a potential future adjustment that could be material to the
Company's financial condition and results of operations.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Standard Motor's Liabilities On The Decline
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard Motor Products Inc. reported in a regulatory filing
that its accrued asbestos liabilities amounted to $24,426,000 at
December 31, 2003 compared with $25,595,000 at December 31,
2002.

A previous story in the December 12, 2003 edition of the Class
Action Reporter shows that Standard Motor reflected total
liability of around $27,000,000 for asbestos-related expenses.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Viacom Inc. Named in Suits V. Westinghouse
---------------------------------------------------------------
Viacom Inc. is a defendant in lawsuits claiming various personal
injuries related to asbestos and other materials, which
allegedly occurred as a result of exposure caused by various
products manufactured by Westinghouse, a predecessor, generally
prior to the early 1970s.  Westinghouse was neither a producer
nor a manufacturer of asbestos.  The Company is typically named
as one of a large number of defendants in both state and federal
cases.  In the majority of asbestos lawsuits, the plaintiffs
have not identified which of the Company's products is the basis
of a claim.  Claims against the Company in which a product has
been identified principally relate to exposures allegedly caused
by asbestos-containing insulating material in turbines sold for
power-generation, industrial and marine use, or by asbestos-
containing grades of decorative micarta, a laminate used in
commercial ships.

Claims typically are both filed and settled in large groups,
which makes the amount and timing of settlements, and the number
of pending claims, subject to significant fluctuation from
period to period.  The Company does not report as pending those
claims on inactive, stayed, deferred or similar dockets, which
some jurisdictions have established for claimants who allege
minimal or no impairment.  As of December 31, 2003, the Company
had pending around 112,280 asbestos claims, as compared to
around 103,800 as of December 31, 2002 and around 106,000 as of
December 31, 2001.  The 2002 and 2001 numbers of claims included
around 1,100 claims and 7,100 claims, respectively, on inactive
dockets in various states which would not be counted as pending
under the Company's current methodology.  Of the claims pending
as of December 31, 2003, around 82,340 were pending in state
courts, 27,400 in federal court and around 2,540 were third
party claims.  During 2003, the Company received around 36,990
new claims and closed or moved to an inactive docket around
28,500 claims.  The Company reports claims as closed when it
becomes aware that a court has entered a dismissal order or when
the Company has reached agreement with the claimants on the
material terms of a settlement.

Settlement costs depend on the seriousness of the injuries that
form the basis of the claim, the quality of evidence supporting
the claims and other factors.  To date, the Company has not been
liable for any third party claims.  The Company's total costs
(recovery) in 2003 and 2002 for settlement and defense of
asbestos claims after insurance recoveries and net of tax
benefits were about $(8,700,000) and $28,000,000, respectively.
A portion of such costs relates to claims settled in prior
years.  If proceeds received in 2003 from commuted insurance
policies were excluded from the Company's total costs in 2003,
the Company's total costs after insurance recoveries and net of
tax benefits would have been $56,600,000.

Filings include claims for individuals suffering from
mesothelioma, a rare cancer, the risk of which is allegedly
increased primarily by exposure to asbestos, lung cancer, a
cancer which may be caused by various factors, one of which is
alleged to be asbestos exposure, other cancers, and conditions
that are substantially less serious, including claims brought on
behalf of individuals who are asymptomatic as to an allegedly
asbestos-related disease.  Claims identified as cancer remain a
small percentage of asbestos claims pending at December 31,
2003.  In a substantial number of the pending claims, the
plaintiff has not yet identified the claimed injury.

The Company believes that its reserves and insurance are
adequate to cover its asbestos liabilities and that these
asbestos liabilities are not likely to have a material adverse
effect on its results of operations, financial position or cash
flows.

The Company from time to time receives claims from federal and
state environmental regulatory agencies and other entities
asserting that it is or may be liable for environmental cleanup
costs and related damages principally relating to discontinued
operations conducted by companies acquired by the Company.  In
addition, the Company from time to time receives personal injury
claims including toxic tort and product liability claims arising
from historical operations of the Company and its predecessors.

Balance sheet reserves and liabilities related to taxes, legal
issues, restructuring charges and discontinued businesses,
including asbestos and environmental matters, require
significant judgments and estimates by management.  The Company
continually evaluates these estimates based on changes in the
relevant facts and circumstances and events that may impact
estimates.  While management believes that the current reserves
for matters related to discontinued businesses, including
environmental and asbestos are adequate, there can be no
assurance that circumstances will not change in future periods.

Businesses that have been previously disposed of by the Company
prior to January 1, 2002, were accounted for as discontinued
operations in accordance with Accounting Principles Board (APB)
Opinion No. 30.  Assets related to discontinued operations
primarily include aircraft financing leases that are generally
expected to liquidate in accordance with contractual terms.
Liabilities related to various disposed businesses include
environmental, asbestos, litigation and product liability.  The
assets and liabilities of discontinued operations are presented
net in "Other liabilities" on the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Effective January 1, 2002, all subsequent discontinued
operations will be accounted for under SFAS No. 144, "Accounting
for the Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets".


ASBESTOS ALERT: Allmerica Financial Records Additional Losses
-------------------------------------------------------------
Allmerica Financial Corp. disclosed that during 2001, its pool
commissioned an independent actuarial review of the current
reserve position, which noted a range of reserve deficiency
primarily as a result of adverse development of asbestos claims.
As a result of this study, the Company recorded an additional
$33,000,000 of losses.  Allmerica believes that this item is not
indicative of overall operating trends of this pool or other
voluntary pools in which it participates. Because of the
inherent uncertainty regarding the types of claims in this pool,
there can be no assurance that these additional reserves will be
sufficient.  Loss and LAE reserves for the Company's voluntary
pools were $71,800,000 and $80,100,000 at December 31, 2003 and
2002, respectively, including $50,000,000 and $49,900,000
related to ECRA as of December 31, 2003 and 2002, respectively.
In addition, during 2003, Allmerica incurred a $21,900,000
charge related to a second voluntary pool (Industrial Risk
Insurers, IRI), related to an adverse arbitration decision.
Allmerica participated in this pool from 1982 to 1995.  The
reinsurance recoverable balance for this pool at December 31,
2003 was not significant and Allmerica does not anticipate
further significant activity in the future.  For all but the
ECRA and IRI pools, the average annual paid losses and reserve
balances at December 31, 2003 were not individually, or in the
aggregate, significant.  Excluding the ECRA and IRI pools, the
average annual paid losses and reserve balances at December 31,
2003 were not individually, or in the aggregate, significant.

The Company believes that its reserves and insurance are
adequate to cover its asbestos liabilities and that these
asbestos liabilities are not likely to have a material adverse
effect on its results of operations, financial position or cash
flows.

COMPANY PROFILE

Allmerica Financial Corp. (NYSE: AFC)
440 Lincoln Street
Worcester, MA 01653
Phone: 508-855-1000
Fax: 508-853-6332
http://www.allmerica.com

Description: Allmerica Financial Corp. is a non-insurance
holding company that operates through Allmerica Financial Life
Insurance and Annuity Company, First Allmerica Financial Life
Insurance Company, The Hanover Insurance Company, Citizens
Insurance Company of America and certain other insurance and
non-insurance subsidiaries.  The Company offers financial
products and services in two major areas, Risk Management and
Asset Accumulation.  Within these broad areas, the Company
conducts business principally in three operating segments: Risk
Management, Allmerica Financial Services and Allmerica Asset
Management.  In addition to the three operating segments, the
Company has a Corporate segment that consists primarily of cash,
investments, corporate debt, Capital Securities (mandatorily
redeemable preferred securities of a subsidiary trust holding
solely junior subordinated debentures of the Company) and
corporate overhead expenses.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Chiquita Brands Faces Claims For Exposure At Sea
----------------------------------------------------------------
Over the last 17 years, a number of claims have been filed
against Chiquita Brands International Inc. on behalf of merchant
seamen or their personal representatives alleging injury or
illness from exposure to asbestos while employed as seamen on
Company-owned ships at various times from the mid-1940s until
the mid-1970s.  The claims are based on allegations of
negligence and unseaworthiness.  In these cases, the Company is
typically one of many defendants, including manufacturers and
suppliers of products containing asbestos, as well as other ship
owners.  Fifteen of these cases are pending in state courts in
various stages of activity.  Over the past six years, 21 state
court cases have been settled and 27 have been resolved without
any payment.  In addition to the state court cases, there are
around 5,250 federal court cases that are currently inactive
(known as the "MARDOC" cases).  The MARDOC cases are managed
under the supervision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.  In 1996, the Federal Court
administratively dismissed all then pending MARDOC cases without
prejudice for failure to provide evidence of asbestos-related
disease or exposure to asbestos.  Under this order, all MARDOC
cases subsequently filed against the Company have also been
administratively dismissed.  The MARDOC cases are subject to
reinstatement by the Federal Court upon a showing of some
evidence of asbestos-related disease, exposure to asbestos and
service on the Company's ships.  While six MARDOC cases have
been reinstated against the Company, there has been little
activity in the reinstated cases to date.  As a matter of law,
punitive damages are not recoverable in seamen's asbestos cases.
Although the Company has very little factual information with
which to evaluate these maritime asbestos claims, management
does not believe, based on information currently available to it
and advice of counsel that these claims will, individually or in
the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on the financial
statements of the Company.

COMPANY PROFILE

Chiquita Brands International Inc. (NYSE: CQB)
250 East Fifth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: 513-784-8000
Fax: (513) 784-8030
http://www.chiquita.com

Description: Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and its
subsidiaries operate in two business segments: Fresh Produce and
Processed Foods.  The Company Fresh Produce segment sources,
distributes and markets a line of fresh fruits and vegetables
sold under the Chiquita and other brand names.  Chiquita's fresh
fruits and vegetables include bananas, berries, citrus, grapes,
melons, mushrooms, stone fruit, tomatoes and a variety of other
fresh produce.  In Europe, the Company's Processed Foods segment
sells Chiquita branded fruit juices, beverages, snacks and
desserts, which are manufactured by third parties to Chiquita's
specifications.  In the United States, several national fruit
juice and beverage producers manufacture and sell shelf-stable,
refrigerated and frozen juice and beverage products using the
Chiquita brand name, for which they pay Chiquita a license fee.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Cincinnati Financial Reviews Exposure Claims
------------------------------------------------------------
Cincinnati Financial Corp. management has reviewed its exposure
to asbestos and environmental risk, and believes that reserves
are adequate and that these coverage areas are immaterial to the
company's financial position due to the types of accounts the
company has insured in the past.  Factors evaluated to reach
those conclusions include

Open claim counts for the long-tail asbestos and environmental
losses annually ranged from 400 to 600, or less than 1percent of
the total open claim count, in each of the three years.

Loss and loss expenses incurred for all asbestos and
environmental claims were $13,000,000, or 0.7percent of total
loss and loss expense in 2003, compared with $20,000,000, or 1.2
percent, in 2002 and $7,000,000, or 0.4 percent, in 2001.

Reserves for all asbestos and environmental claims were constant
at $71,000,000 in 2003 and 2002, up from $63,000,000 in 2001.
Reserves for all asbestos and environmental claims were 2.5
percent, 2.7 percent and 2.7 percent of total reserves, in 2003,
2002 and 2001, respectively.

The company wrote commercial accounts after the development of
coverage forms that exclude cleanup costs.  The company's
exposure to risks associated with past production and/or
installation of asbestos materials is minimal because the
company was primarily a personal lines company when most of the
asbestos exposure occurred.  The commercial coverage the company
did offer was predominantly related to local-market construction
activity rather than asbestos manufacturing.  Further, over the
past two years, to limit its exposure to mold and other
environmental risks going forward, the company has revised
policy terms where permitted by state regulation.

COMPANY PROFILE

Cincinnati Financial Corp. (NasdaqNM: CINF)
6200 South Gilmore Road
Fairfield, OH 45014
Phone: 513-870-2000
Fax: 513-870-2066
http://www.cinfin.com

Description: Cincinnati Financial Corp. operates in the property
casualty and life insurance businesses.  The Company's four
reportable segments are commercial lines property casualty
insurance, personal lines property casualty insurance, life
insurance and investment operations.  Cincinnati Financial had
three subsidiaries, as of December 31, 2002.  The lead property
casualty insurance subsidiary, The Cincinnati Insurance Company,
markets commercial and personal insurance policies in 31 states.
Cincinnati Financial's other two subsidiaries are CFC Investment
Company, which provides commercial leasing, financing and real
estate services, and CinFin Capital Management Company, which
provides asset management services to institutions, corporations
and individuals with $500,000 minimum asset accounts.


ASBESTOS ALERT: ISG May Face Liability Claims But Says Risk Low
---------------------------------------------------------------
International Steel Group Inc. (ISG) may be subject to future
claims with respect to historic asbestos exposure relating to
its acquired assets.  While management estimates that the risk
of incurring liability as the result of any such claims is
remote, it is impossible to estimate at this time.

ISG purchased only selected assets of Bethlehem Steel Corp.,
Acme Steel Corp. and LTV Corp. through sales in bankruptcy
proceedings.  The sales orders issued by the U.S. Bankruptcy
Courts having jurisdiction over each transaction explicitly
provide that the sellers retained asbestos-related liability,
and that ISG shall not be deemed as a successor to any seller
with respect to asbestos-related liabilities or any other
matter.  The Company believes the manner through which its
facilities were purchased in conjunction with the attendant
orders of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court places it in a better
position than other steel makers with substantial exposure to
asbestos-related liability.  Despite the foregoing it is
possible that future claims with respect to historic asbestos
exposure could be directed at the Company.  The risk of
incurring liability as the result of such claims is considered
remote.

COMPANY PROFILE

International Steel Group Inc. (NYSE: ISG)
3250 Interstate Drive
Richfield, OH 44286
Phone: 330-659-9100
http://www.intlsteel.com

Description: International Steel Group Inc. (ISG) is an
integrated United States-based steel manufacturing company that
owns and operates 11 major steel producing and finishing
facilities in six states.  The Company was formed by WL Ross &
Co. LLC (WLR) to acquire and operate globally competitive steel
facilities.  Since its formation, ISG has grown to become an
integrated steel producer in North America by acquiring, out of
bankruptcy, the steel making assets of LTV, Acme Steel
Corporation and Bethlehem Steel Corporation.


ASBESTOS ALERT: SCPIE Holdings May Pay Claims for Highland
----------------------------------------------------------
SCPIE Holdings Inc. issued cut-through endorsements to certain
policyholders of Highlands Insurance Company under which SCPIE
is obligated to pay the claims in the event that Highlands is
declared insolvent by a court of competent jurisdiction and is
unable to pay.

SCPIE also has previously reported that Highlands has been
embroiled in an ongoing litigation along with other insurance
companies involving contingent asbestos liabilities.  A
California court has rendered a judgment against Highlands,
which Highlands and the other insurance companies have appealed.

Meanwhile, the State of Texas appointed the Texas Insurance
Commissioner as receiver for Highlands.  The receiver continues
to pay Highlands claims.  The California plaintiff in the
asbestos litigation has opposed a petition for liquidation filed
by the State of Texas.  Last week the Company learned that the
parties have agreed to postpone any court hearing to no earlier
than August 9, 2004.  While time continues in SCPIE's favor as
these claims are paid down the Company continues to monitor this
situation quarterly.

COMPANY PROFILE

SCPIE Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SKP)
1888 Century Park East, Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: 310-551-5900
Fax: 310-551-5924
http://www.scpie.com

Description: SCPIE Holdings Inc. is a holding company owning
subsidiaries engaged in providing insurance and reinsurance
products.  The Company classifies its business into two
segments, Direct Healthcare Liability Insurance and Assumed
Reinsurance.  Direct Healthcare Liability Insurance represents
professional liability insurance for physicians, oral and
maxillofacial surgeons, hospitals and other healthcare
providers.  Assumed Reinsurance represents the book of assumed
worldwide reinsurance of professional, commercial and personal
liability coverages, commercial and residential property risks,
accident and health coverages and marine coverages.


                    New Securities Fraud Cases


NORTEL NETWORKS: Cauley Geller Files Securities Suit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Rudman, LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, on behalf of purchasers of Nortel Networks
Corporation publicly traded securities during the period between
January 7, 2004 and March 15, 2004, inclusive, against
defendants Nortel, and:

     (1) Frank A. Dunn,

     (2) Douglas C. Beatty, and

     (3) Michael J. Gollogly

The lawsuit alleges violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. More specifically, the complaint alleges that,
shortly before the start of the Class Period, Nortel advised
investors that it would be restating its financial results for
2000, 2001 and 2002 and the first and second quarters of 2003.
Then, after reporting solid fourth quarter results during the
Class Period that far surpassed analysts' expectations, the
Company shocked investors by announcing that it would be
restating its financial results yet again, this time for the
just-reported fourth quarter of 2003 as well. Subsequently, in a
clear indication of the severity of the Company's problems, the
Company announced that it would be placing defendants Beatty and
Gollogly on paid leave of absence, pending the completion of the
Company's independent review being undertaken by its audit
committee. Following this announcement, shares of Nortel common
stock fell $1.19 per share, or 18.5%, to close at $5.24 per
share on extremely high trading volume.

For more information, contact Samuel H. Rudman or David A.
Rosenfeld, Client Relations Department, Jackie Addison or
Heather Gann, by Mail: P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-
5438, by Phone: 1-888-551-9944 (toll free), Fax: 1-501-312-8505,
or by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com.


NORTEL NETWORKS: Chitwood & Harley Files Securities Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
Chitwood & Harley initiated a class action lawsuit in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York, on
behalf of purchasers of securities of Nortel Networks
Corporation between October 23, 2003 and March 12, 2004,
inclusive, against Nortel, and:

     (1) Frank A. Dunn,

     (2) Douglas C. Beatty, and

     (3) Michael J. Gollogly

Previously, an investor filed suit alleging a class period from
January 7, 2004 through March 15, 2004. Although different class
periods are alleged, the cases will likely be consolidated. The
Chitwood & Harley's complaint charges Nortel and the Individual
Defendants with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. More specifically, the complaint alleges that after
reporting solid fourth quarter results following the Company's
recent restatement, the Company shocked investors by announcing
that it had placed defendants Beatty and Gollogly on a paid
leave of absence, pending the completion of the Company's
independent review of its previously issued financial statements
by its audit committee which review would likely lead to a
further restatement.

Thus, the Complaint alleges, despite investors' belief that the
restatement had been completed in 2003, the Company essentially
admitted that its previously issued financial statements could
not be relied upon and that the Company lacked adequate internal
controls. Following the March 15 announcement, shares of Nortel
common stock fell $1.19 per share from the previous trading
day's close, or 18.5%, to close at $5.24 per share on extremely
high trading volume.

For more information, contact Lauren Antonino, by Mail: 1230
Peachtree Street, Suite 2300, Atlanta, Georgia 30309, by Phone:
1-888-873-3999, ext. 6888 (toll-free), or by E-mail:
lsa@classlaw.com.


NORTEL NETWORKS: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a class
action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, on behalf of purchasers of Nortel Networks
Corp. publicly traded securities during the period between
December 23, 2003 and March 12, 2004, against Nortel and certain
of its officers and directors for violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.

The complaint charges Nortel supplies products and services that
support the Internet and other public and private data, voice
and multimedia communications networks using wireline and
wireless technologies. The complaint alleges that during the
Class Period, defendants caused Nortel's shares to trade at
artificially inflated levels through the issuance of false and
misleading financial statements. Defendants had formulated a
plan to have the Company's credit rating on its $4.1 billion
debt raised from "B3" to "investment grade." Defendants were
advised by Moody's that if the Company could improve its
financials, the Company's rating would be raised. Not only would
this rating change have a positive impact on the Company's stock
price but this would in turn further inflate the Company's net
income (beyond the already falsified accounting).

By raising the Company rating, the Company could refinance its
debt at a preferable rate, and increase the Company's margins.
Defendants had hoped that the Company's positive (albeit false)
Q4 2003 report would put pressure on Moody's to raise its
rating. Regardless, by posting the false (but positive) Q4
results, defendants and the Company's top executives were
rewarded with $30 million in bonuses. Then as defendants' scheme
began to unwind, Nortel put its chief financial officer and
controller on leave of absence pending completion of an
investigation into the circumstances leading to the restatement.

On March 15, 2004, Nortel delayed filing its annual report and
admitted it may have to restate results for a second time in six
months while the timing of certain accruals and provisions in
2003 and earlier periods were re-examined. In response to this
delay in filing, the price of the Company's shares fell.
Defendants knew that as a result of their actions, Nortel's
lenders could demand early repayment of $3.6 billion of notes
and convertibles bonds. As this leaked out into the market the
Company's shares continued to decline.

For more information, contact: Steven G. Schulman, Esq., Peter
E. Seidman, Esq. or Andrei V. Rado, Esq., of Milberg Weiss
Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, by Mail: One Pennsylvania Plaza,
49th fl. New York, NY, 10119-0165, by Phone: (800) 320-5081, by
E-mail: PMAcase@milberg.com, or visit the firm's Web site:
http://www.milberg.com.


                            *********


A list of Meetings, Conferences and Seminars appears in each
Wednesday's edition of the Class Action Reporter. Submissions
via e-mail to carconf@beard.com are encouraged.

Each Friday's edition of the CAR includes a section featuring
news on asbestos-related litigation and profiles of target
asbestos defendants that, according to independent researches,
collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
liabilities.


                            *********


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
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Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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