National news briefs: 11/10/12

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Obama blamed for coal layoffs

WASHINGTON -- Citing what he perceives as an Obama administration "war on coal," an Ohio coal mining executive and prominent Republican donor responded to the results of the presidential election by laying off more than 150 workers.

Robert Murray, chief executive of Murray Energy Co., the largest privately held coal company in America, blamed the layoffs on President Barack Obama -- and, by extension, the voters who elected him -- in a memo to employees. The company employs 3,000 people and produces 30 million tons of coal a year.

"The American people have made their choice," Mr. Murray said in what he called a prayer that he delivered Wednesday to about 50 staff members at a meeting at which he discussed the layoffs.

Reduced demand for coal, slumps in coal prices and looming pollution regulations have converged to cause the destruction of the coal industry, Mr. Murray said.

"We must totally go into survival mode and generate all the cash that we can from whatever we still have left that can help us," he wrote in a staff memo.

"Yes, Murray Energy Corp. has been forced to make some personnel layoffs," the company said in a statement. "But far more will come."

Teen sentenced to life

AKRON, Ohio -- A remorseful teenager was sentenced Friday to life in prison with no chance for parole for his role in a plot to lure men with phony Craigs-list job offers.

"I thought it was something horrible," a grim-faced Brogan Rafferty, 17, told Judge Lynne Callahan before he was sentenced.

Rafferty told the judge, who will preside at the January trial of alleged triggerman Richard Beasley, 53, that his mentor is evil and deceitful and said he wished he had taken the opportunity to flee and stop the killings.

"There were many options I couldn't see at the time," said Rafferty.

Mine officials face prison

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Plea agreements say two supervisors at Manalapan Mining's Harlan County mine, where a coal miner was killed last year, knowingly violated federal safety laws.

The documents filed this week say Jefferson Davis and Joseph Miniard are planning to plead guilty and are facing prison time when they are sentenced during a March hearing in U.S. District Court.

The men were supervisors at the mine when an underground collapse in June 2011 killed miner David Partin.

Mr. Miniard is facing up to six years in prison; Mr. Davis is facing a maximum one-year sentence. Manalapan also could be fined up to $250,000.

Malaria vaccine falls short

The latest clinical trial of the world's leading malaria vaccine candidate produced disappointing results Friday. The infants given the vaccine produced by GlaxoSmithKline had only about a third fewer infections than a control group.

But researchers said they wanted to press on, assuming they keep getting financial support, because the number of children who die of malaria is so great that even an inefficient vaccine can save thousands of lives.

Another Bush may run

AMARILLO, Texas -- George P. Bush, 36, a nephew of former President George W. Bush, has filed papers indicating that he intends to run for statewide office in Texas.

Mr. Bush, 36, whose father, Jeb, is a former Florida governor, filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission in Austin on Wednesday, appointing a campaign treasurer.



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