Merck may be ready to settle Vioxx cases
Merck, the third-largest U.S. drugmaker, may pay about $5 billion to settle claims that it hid the health risks of its Vioxx painkiller...
Whitehouse Station, N.J.
Merck, the third-largest U.S. drugmaker, may pay about $5 billion to settle claims that it hid the health risks of its Vioxx painkiller, three lawyers with direct knowledge of the accord said.
Merck pulled Vioxx off the market in 2004 after a study showed it raised the risk of heart attacks in some patients. The company is facing more than 26,500 lawsuits filed by former users and their families.
The agreement is aimed at resolving about 85 percent of the cases, the people with direct knowledge about the settlement said.
U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon is scheduled to announce the accord today in New Orleans, the sources said.
Virginia Beach, Va.
Ship grounded after it starts to leak
The captain of a small cruise ship with 66 people aboard ran the vessel aground Thursday south of Norfolk to keep it from sinking after it began taking on water, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
No injuries were reported among the 31 passengers and 35 crew members aboard The Spirit of Nantucket, said Al Petrone, a spokesman for the Seattle-based Cruise West, which owns the 102-passenger ship. The vessel was on a 10-day cruise from Alexandria to Charleston, S.C., on its final trip of the season.
Petrone said the captain grounded the 207-foot vessel after the leaking was discovered about 5:30 a.m.
"Preliminary reports show something hit the rudder and the rudder then punctured a hole in the bottom of the ship," Petrone said.
He said passengers ate breakfast in the ship's restaurant before they were transferred a few hours later to two other vessels and taken to a nearby harbor. The U.S. Coast Guard had deployed to the area to assess the situation.
Memorabilia dealer describes "invasion"
A memorabilia dealer accusing O.J. Simpson of robbing him testified Thursday that the former football star burst into a hotel room with a handful of other men, including one wielding a gun, and carried off hundreds of collectors' items.
Bruce Fromong, one of two dealers allegedly robbed, said he had expected to meet with an anonymous buyer Sept. 13, when Simpson arrived with others "in a military invasion fashion" and shouted that the items belonged to him.
Simpson, 60, and two co-defendants are charged with robbery, kidnapping and other offenses. Thursday's hearing was to determine if there is enough evidence to take them to trial.
GOP to punish 5 early-vote states
The Republican Party said Thursday it will punish five states for scheduling early nominating contests.
New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming will lose half of their delegates to the national convention, said Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee.
RNC rules require the punishment for states that hold their nominating contests earlier than Feb. 5.
Seattle Times news services
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 10:01 AM
Rebels tighten hold on Libya oil port
UPDATE - 09:29 AM
Reality leads US to temper its tough talk on Libya
UPDATE - 09:38 AM
2 Ark. injection wells may be closed amid quakes
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.