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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Globe benefits from rejection of bid for duty-free silicon

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday a Commerce Department ruling against Dow Corning's request to avoid paying duty on imported silicon is good news for a Niagara Falls company.

Dow Corning had asked for a special foreign trade subzone to exempt it from paying a tariff on Chinese and Russian silicon. Two months ago, Schumer wrote to the Commerce Department to oppose that request, asserting that duty-free silicon for Dow Corning would hurt Globe Specialty Metals of Niagara Falls, which recently reopened a silicon plant and employs about 100 people.

The Chinese and Russian silicon is required to be taxed under an anti-dumping law that calls for special U.S. tariffs on imports being sold here below their price in the originating country or below the cost of production. Dow Corning sought to avoid the anti-dumping tariff.

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New judge to hear suit aimed at stopping Somerset Verizon

LOCKPORT -- Arguments in a lawsuit aimed at stopping Verizon Communications' $4 billion data center in Somerset will be heard today by Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III after another judge pulled out of the case.

State Supreme Court Justice Ralph A. Boniello III issued a letter Monday recusing himself from the case. Boniello said he thought he could handle it impartially, but he had informed the attorneys late last week that before he became a judge, he served stints as Niagara County attorney and counsel to the county's Industrial Development Agency, which are defendants in the lawsuit.

Arthur J. Giacalone, attorney for Mary Ann Rizzo of Amherst, the plaintiff in the case, had replied to that notice Monday by asking Boniello to recuse himself. The judge did so. "I prefer to err on the side of caution," Boniello wrote.

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House bill aims to stem flow of illegal drugs from Canada

Governments at every level will be given six months to come up with a unified strategy to stem the flow of illegal drugs across the Canadian border.

A measure passed Tuesday by the House of Representatives calls for the Office of National Drug Control Policy to lead the way in coming up with a way to blunt the growing movement of Ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and marijuana across the U.S.-Canadian border.

The measure calls for the office to work with the head of each relevant national drug control program agency and state, local, tribal, and international governments to develop strategy. It was passed by the Senate on Monday.

Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said the only way to patch smuggling holes along the porous, 4,000-mile-plus border is to work together.

Any strategy will have to delineate the roles of each national drug control agency, identify the resources it will take to implement the plan and focus on trafficking through Indian reservations.

Far more of those drugs come across the southern border, but agents seize eight times the amount of the club drug Ecstasy up north than they do on the southern border. Over the past five years, agents on the northern border have nabbed about 880 pounds of Ecstasy a year.

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