CAR_Public/031027.mbx            C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Monday, October 27, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 211

                        Headlines

ABORTION/ BREAST CANCER: Pact Backs Informed Consent Obligation
APARTHEID LITIGATION: Lawyer Says Colin Powell Stepped In Suits
BIG GAME LOTTERY: Jury Rules in Favor of Taxi Drivers in Lawsuit
COMPUTER ASSOCIATES: Settles Securities Fraud, Derivative Suits
DRESS BARN: Employees Launch Overtime Wage Lawsuit in CA Court

ENRON CORPORATION: TX Court's Refusal To Add Defendants Reversed
EQUITYALERT.COM: SEC Files, Settles Administrative Proceeding
FIRST CAPITAL: SEC Launches, Settles Administrative Proceedings
FLORIDA: 19 Students Injured in A&M University Team Bus Crash
FREDDIE MAC: Ex-Chief to Pay Civil Penalty Per Consent Agreement

HOLLYWOOD: MPAA, Studios Partly Reverse Ban On Oscar Screeners
IDAHO: AG Reaches Agreement on Midvale District School Safety
ILLINOIS: Drivers File Consumer Fraud Suit V. Tollway Authority
JAPAN: Universities Ordered to Refund Y4.8 Million in Tuition
LIVONIA SCHOOLS: District To Pay $20T To Settle Land Sale Suit

McDONALD'S CORPORATION: Settles Weight Discrimination Lawsuit
MICROCRAP MARKETING: SEC Files Two Administrative Proceedings
MISSISSIPPI: Natchez District Seeks Desegregation Suit Dismissal
MUSIC INDUSTRY: Fires New Wave of Copyright Infringement Suits
NATIONAL AUSTRALIAN: Slater & Gordon to Join U.S.Securities Suit

PIER 1 IMPORTS: Recalls Glass Candleholder Due To Injury Hazard
RESEARCH CAPITAL: SEC Files Admin Proceedings Over Stock Fraud
SOLUCORP INDUSTRIES: SEC Commences, Settles Admin Order V. CPA
UNITED STATES: Groups Laud Blocking of Class Action Fairness Act
VANTAGEMED CORPORATION: SEC Institutes Proceeding V. Former CAO

WAL-MART STORES: Faces Probe After Feds Seize Illegal Workers
WASTE MANAGEMENT: SEC Files, Settles Civil Lawsuit V. Officers

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

AMERITRADE HOLDINGS: Raging Bull Holdings Files Stock Suit in NE
CONSOL ENERGY: Charles Piven Files Securities Lawsuit in W.D. PA
MICROFINANCIAL INC.: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in MA
SPORTSLINE.COM: Emerson Poynter Files Securities Suit in S.D. FL

                        *********


ABORTION/ BREAST CANCER: Pact Backs Informed Consent Obligation
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer announced Wednesday that
the first US abortion-breast cancer (ABC) lawsuit filed in the
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas settled for an
undisclosed amount on October 17, LifesiteNews.com/CWN reports.

The plaintiff was a 17-year-old Pennsylvania resident when she
underwent a second-trimester abortion in New Jersey without
either parental knowledge or consent.  Although she hasn't
developed breast cancer, she sued the abortionist, Charles
Benjamin, for neglecting to warn her about the physical and
emotional risks of abortion.

"This settlement will teach the medical establishment that it
can no longer profit by keeping women in the dark about the
breast cancer risk.  This case also establishes that abortion
providers can be sued for battery if the abortion provider
performs abortions (on minors from neighboring states where
parental consent statutes exist) even if the state where the
abortion is performed does not have a parental consent statute,"
coalition President Karen Malec told Lifesite News.

The ABC link has been called "the elephant in medicine's
parlor."  Medical experts privately say abortion causes breast
cancer, but the volatility of the issue prevents them from
publicly acknowledging it.

According to a National Cancer Institute (NCI) study, teens who
procure abortions before age 18 more than double their risk.
Girls and women have a predominance of immature, cancer-
vulnerable Types 1 & 2 breast lobules, which aren't matured into
cancer-resistant Types 3 & 4 lobules until a term pregnancy
takes place.  Abortion can increase the statistical odds of
developing breast cancer in two ways - it delays a full-term
pregnancy; and increases the number of cancer-vulnerable breast
cells because estrogen overexposure during a normal pregnancy
stimulates cell multiplication.  Women don't receive protection
from estrogen overexposure until third-trimester hormones mature
their breast tissue into milk-producing Types 3 & 4 lobules.

Scientists have been unable to refute the biological explanation
for the ABC link.  Thirteen out of 16 US studies report risk
elevations.  The NCI provided at least partial funding for 10
studies.

Minnesota and Texas state legislators passed informed consent
legislation earlier this year.  Massachusetts is considering
similar legislation.  Five medical organizations say abortion is
one of the causes of breast cancer.


APARTHEID LITIGATION: Lawyer Says Colin Powell Stepped In Suits
---------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. lawyer Michael Hausfeld told the Cape Town Press Club he
was told by Khulumani victims who attended a reparations meeting
last month that South African Justice Minister Penuell Maduna
had been instructed by the U.S. Government, by U.S. Secretary of
State Colin Powell, to oppose lawsuits brought in the U.S.
against multi-national corporations which allegedly benefited
from apartheid, Business Day.com reports.

Noting that the South African government had advised the court
in New York (where the case has been brought by the victims of
apartheid) that it believed that any action by the court was an
interference in the sovereignty of South Africa, Mr. Hausfeld
said he learned at a recent reparations meeting that Mr. Maduna
had been asked whether his opposition to the lawsuits was the
idea of the South African government.

"He said no, he (Maduna) was instructed to write the letter by
the American government.  He even said he was instructed to
write the letter by Colin Powell," Mr. Hausfeld said.

Spokesman for the Justice Ministry in South Africa, Kaizer
Kganyago, said the minister said nothing of the sort.
Confirming that there had been a meeting with victims of
apartheid in Randburg in August, he said that it was normal
procedure for the foreign affairs departments of the two
countries to act as a channel of communication between the two
countries.

He said the matter was the subject of discussion in parliament
in April when President Thabo Mbeki noted the South African
government opposition to the action.  The government position
remained that it interfered with the sovereignty of South
Africa, he said.

The South African government has argued all along that the
country had taken steps through its truth and reconciliation
process to deal with apartheid reparations.  Mr. Kganyago said
Mr. Maduna had instead - at the reparations meeting - offered to
carry out mediation if victims were prepared to take a route
other than the class action lawsuits.

The Jubilee and Khulumani "complaint" - to the New York Eastern
District Court - names seven banks and thirteen international
corporations from Germany, Britain, the US, the Netherlands and
France.  He said Khulumani had received a letter from the South
African presidency in June "which acknowledged and complimented
Khulumani" in what it was doing in responding to the needs of
victims it was serving.

"It (the letter) also said it did not oppose individual lawsuits
against companies outside of the United States," Mr. Hausfeld
said further.  "The position of the South African government was
that it just resisted those lawsuits that sought to represent
themselves as being the Republic of South Africa or attempting
to speak on behalf of all victims of apartheid."


BIG GAME LOTTERY: Jury Rules in Favor of Taxi Drivers in Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
A jury has ruled that six taxi drivers who said they were
cheated out of their share of a $49.4 million lottery jackpot
should receive portions of the winnings, AP Newswire reports.

The jackpot from the May 4, 2001, Big Game drawing went to 23
other taxi drivers, who received about $2.1 million each before
taxes.  The 23 drivers had argued that they were the only
legitimate winners because only they contributed $5 each to that
day's pool.  However, the smaller group said they paid into the
pool for earlier tickets, and those winnings were supposed to
have been used to buy new tickets.

They still must try to collect the money, which was not held in
escrow during the legal dispute.  One man was awarded $2
million, while five others were awarded $346,357 each.


COMPUTER ASSOCIATES: Settles Securities Fraud, Derivative Suits
---------------------------------------------------------------
Computer Associates International, Inc. agreed to settle all
securities class actions and derivative lawsuits filed against
it, alleging fraudulent activities in its public securities
offerings.

The Company, its former Chairman and CEO, Charles B. Wang,
Sanjay Kumar, and Russell M. Artzt are defendants in a
consolidated securities class action filed on behalf of all
persons who purchased the Company's common stock during the
period January 20, 1998 until February 25, 2002 in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The suit alleges that members of the class were harmed by
misleading statements, misrepresentations, and omissions
regarding the Company's future financial performance.  The suit
generally alleges, among other things, that the Company made
misleading statements of material fact or omitted to state
material facts necessary in order to make the statements made,
in light of the circumstances under which they were made, not
misleading in connection with the Company's financial
performance.  The Company's former independent auditor, Ernst &
Young LLP, has also been named as defendant, but class action
status has not yet been certified and discovery has not been
taken.

In addition, in May 2003, a class action captioned "John A.
Ambler v. Computer Associates International, Inc., et al." was
filed in the same court.  The complaint in this matter, a
purported class action on behalf of the Computer Associates
Savings Harvest Plan (the CASH Plan) and the participants and
beneficiaries of the CASH Plan for a class period running from
March 30, 1998 through May 30, 2003, asserts claims of breach of
fiduciary duty under ERISA, the federal Employee Retirement
Security Act.  The named defendants are the Company and:

     (1) the Company's Board of Directors,

     (2) the CASH Plan,

     (3) the Administrative Committee of the CASH Plan,

     (4) Charles B. Wang,

     (5) Sanjay Kumar,

     (6) Ira Zar,

     (7) Russell M. Artzt,

     (8) Peter A. Schwartz,

     (9) Charles P. McWade and

    (10) various unidentified alleged fiduciaries of the CASH
         Plan

The complaint alleges that the defendants breached their
fiduciary duties by causing the CASH Plan to invest in Company
securities and seeks damages in an unspecified amount.

A derivative lawsuit has been filed against certain current and
former directors of the Company, based on essentially the same
allegations as those contained in the stockholder lawsuits.
This action was commenced in April 2002 in Delaware Chancery
Court, and an amended complaint was filed in November 2002.  The
defendants named in the amended complaint are the Company as a
nominal defendant, current Company directors Mr. Kumar, Mr.
Artzt, Mr. Ranieri and Mr. D'Amato, and former Company directors
Mr. Wang, Ms. Kenny, Mr. de Vogel, Mr. Grasso, and Mr. Pieper.

The derivative suit alleges breach of fiduciary duties on the
part of all the individual defendants and, as against the
current and former management director defendants, insider
trading on the basis of allegedly misappropriated confidential,
material information.  The amended complaint seeks an accounting
and recovery on behalf of the Company of an unspecified amount
of damages, including recovery of the profits allegedly realized
from the sale of common stock of the Company.

On August 25, 2003, the Company announced plans to settle all
outstanding litigation related to the above-referenced
stockholder and derivative actions.  As part of the settlement,
a complaint in the derivative lawsuit was filed in the Federal
Court where the class actions are pending.

Following the federal court's approval, and the finality of that
approval in the event of any appeal, the Company will issue a
total of up to 5.7 million shares of common stock to the
shareholders represented in the three class actions.
Plaintiffs' attorney fees will be covered by this stock
issuance.

If the Company's share price is below $23.43 per share at the
time of distribution, up to 2.2 million of the 5.7 million
shares will be payable in cash at that price - or a maximum of
$51.546 million in cash.  In that case, the stock portion of the
settlement would be reduced to no less than 3.5 million shares.

In settling the derivative suit, the Company agreed to adopt and
maintain certain corporate governance practices.  The settlement
was reviewed by the independent directors who chair the
Company's Governance, Audit, and Compensation and Human Resource
Committees of the Board of Directors as well as by all non-
interested, independent directors who were not named in any of
the suits.  It was also approved by the Board's independent
directors as a whole and has been submitted for approval to the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York.

As part of the approval process, additional details concerning
the settlement have been provided to all interested parties.  In
the event the proposed settlement is not approved, the
litigation which is the subject of the settlement would continue
and the defendants in that litigation, including the Company,
would be exposed to material damages.


DRESS BARN: Employees Launch Overtime Wage Lawsuit in CA Court
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dress Barn, Inc. faces a class action filed in California State
Court on behalf of all managers, assistant managers and
associate managers who worked for the Company in California for
the past four years.

The complaint alleges that the Company improperly classified
these employees as "salaried exempt."  Plaintiff's argument is
that if the employee spent 50% or more of their time doing work
similar to that done by hourly associates, they should be
entitled to overtime, etc.

The Company does not expect the outcome to have a material
adverse effect on the Company, it revealed in a disclosure to
the Securities and Exchange Commission.


ENRON CORPORATION: TX Court's Refusal To Add Defendants Reversed
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ruled that Washington County
judge Terry Flenniken abused his discretion after he refused to
add seven financial institutions to the securities class action
filed against fallen energy trader Enron Corporation in State
District Court in Brenham, Texas, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The suit was filed on behalf of several Washington County
residents who bought stock after former Enron Chairman Kenneth
Lay spoke at a local Chamber of Commerce forum.  The suit named
as defendants Mr. Lay, ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, ex-CFO Andrew
Fastow, Arthur Andersen and a few ex-Andersen executives.

The suit alleges fraud, conspiracy and negligent
misrepresentation, over Enron's implementation of side deals and
schemes that hid its true financial health.  Andersen attorneys
Ramzel and Rusty Hardin later asked the court to add J.P. Morgan
Chase & Co., Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Credit Suisse First
Boston, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Barclays and Lehman
Bros. as defendants.  They also sought to add Michael Kopper, a
former Enron executive who pleaded guilty to fraud and money
laundering, as one of the defendants.

Arthur Andersen argued that the banks enabled Enron to engage in
the financial deals that masked the company's troubles so the
banks have to be at the trial table, the Houston Chronicle
states.  "All Andersen ever wanted was if there is going to be a
trial about what happened at Enron that all the primary actors
who are potentially responsible will be there," said Andy
Ramzel, one of Andersen's attorneys.

The trial court however refused the motion.  The Brenham case
was expected to be the first Enron shareholder fraud lawsuit to
reach a jury, with a November trial date.

The three-judge appellate panel ruled that the rural judge must
grant defendant Arthur Andersen's request that the banks be
added to the case.  "But, as the brief history of this debacle
shows ... the fall of Enron is not about one person, or even a
few people; it is the story of a host of actors," wrote Justice
Wanda McKee Fowler for the appellate panel, The Houston
Chronicle states.  "Asking the jury, or us, to look only at Lay,
Fastow, Skilling, Andersen and some of its partners is like
asking someone to look only at the eye of the hurricane and to
ignore the furor surrounding it."

The court granted the unusual relief of a mandamus -- or an
appeal before a trial is complete.  The judicial panel said a
trial without the banks could "profoundly affect" the outcome of
the lawsuit, and having two trials is especially wasteful.

The addition of these new parties is likely to cause the case to
take much longer to get to trial.  It also could mean more
efforts to bounce the case to federal court and try to get it
merged with the giant class action before US District Judge
Melinda Harmon, the Houston Chronicle states.


EQUITYALERT.COM: SEC Files, Settles Administrative Proceeding
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission instituted administrative
proceedings against Vancouver, British Columbia-based Internet
stock promoter EquityAlert.com, Inc. and its parent, Innotech
Corporation, Equity Alert's principals, Harmel S. Rayat and
Bhupinder S. Mann, and two public companies, T&G2, Inc. and
Virilitec Industries, Inc.  Each of these respondents settled
the proceedings without admitting or denying the findings in the
Commission's Order.

The Commission's Order found that Equity Alert was hired to
advertise T&G's predecessor, International Mercantile
Corporation and Virilitec to subscribers of Equity Alert's stock
promotion website.  Equity Alert was paid with stock of the
companies, given to Equity Alert by persons directly or
indirectly controlling or controlled by the issuers, or under
direct or indirect common control with the issuers.  Then, after
promoting the companies, Equity Alert improperly sold the stock
on the open market for $171,370.

According to the Commission's Order, Equity Alert was hired to
promote International Mercantile, the predecessor of T&G (now a
Bernardsville, New Jersey developer of fingerprint scanning
technology and electronic gaming devices), in exchange for
$49,500 in cash and/or unrestricted International Mercantile
shares.

The individual who hired Equity Alert was also entering into a
merger agreement under which a company of which he was president
would merge into International Mercantile, and he would assume
the title of president of the post-merger company, T&G.  The
individual arranged for a private company he controlled to
provide Equity Alert with a convertible note that was
exercisable into International Mercantile stock.

The Commission's Order finds that Equity Alert e-mailed its
subscribers a news alert advertising International Mercantile as
the newest of the "red hot" biometric companies whose share
prices had risen following September 11, 2001.  In the two days
that followed the dissemination of the e-mail, International
Mercantile's stock price rose 31 percent, from $1.13 to $1.48,
on volume that was 16,000 percent higher than the average daily
trading volume of the stock during the preceding six months.
The day after Equity Alert sent the e-mail news alert, it sold
its International Mercantile stock for $132,500.

The Commission's Order also finds that Equity Alert was hired to
promote another small cap company, Virilitec, a Brooklyn, New
York developer of nutritional supplements purportedly designed
to enhance human male sperm count and sexual virility.  The
husband of Virilitec's president and chairperson hired Equity
Alert and arranged for a long-time Virilitec shareholder to
transfer 40,000 Virilitec shares to Equity Alert.  After Equity
Alert disseminated a promotional e-mail regarding Virilitec, the
average daily trading volume of Virilitec stock was over 3,000
percent higher than that of the preceding six months.  In the
days following the Virilitec promotional campaign, Equity Alert
began selling the Virilitec shares, ultimately grossing $38,870.

According to the Commission's Order, Equity Alert obtained the
International Mercantile and Virilitec stock with a view to
distributing the stock to the public from persons directly or
indirectly controlling or controlled by the issuers, or under
direct or indirect common control with the issuers.  Therefore,
the stock was restricted and Equity Alert was prevented from
selling the stock to the public for one year.  The transactions
violated the registration provisions of the federal securities
laws, which prohibit the offer or sale of securities unless a
registration statement has been filed with the Commission or is
in effect as to the securities.

The Commission's Order found that EquityAlert.com, Inc.,
Innotech Corporation, Mr. Mann, Mr. Rayat, T&G, and Virilitec
violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933,
and ordered them to cease and desist from committing or causing
any violations and any future violations of those provisions.
The Commission's Order also ordered EquityAlert.com, Inc. and
Innotech Corporation to disgorge $31,555.14, waiving payment of
the remainder of its improper trading proceeds, based on the
now-defunct entities' demonstration of its inability to make
full payment.


FIRST CAPITAL: SEC Launches, Settles Administrative Proceedings
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission instituted another set of
related administrative proceedings, one proceeding against a
Houston-based public company, First Capital International, Inc.,
its president, Alexander Genin and a former stock promoter,
Edwin M. Koziol.

Each of these respondents settled the proceeding without
admitting or denying the findings in the Order.  In the related
matter, the Commission instituted proceedings against OTC Live,
Inc. and Mark A. Suleymanov.

According to the Commission's Orders, Mr. Genin hired a now-
defunct stock promotion company (of which Orlando, Florida
resident Mr. Koziol was president) and another promoter, OTC
Live, based in Rego Park, New York, to promote First Capital on
the Internet.  To pay these promoters, Mr. Genin transferred to
them a total of 64,500 First Capital shares from a brokerage
account over which he held power of attorney.

The Commission's Orders allege that OTC Live (whose president
and founder, Mr. Suleymanov, also uses the surname "Suleman")
began its promotional campaign by posting a research report
recommending that investors purchase First Capital stock.  In
the four days that followed, First Capital's stock price rose 92
percent, from $0.13 to $0.25 per shares.  OTC Live later sold
the stock it had received from First Capital's president, Mr.
Genin, for $3,285.  About a month later, Mr. Koziol's company
began its First Capital promotion.  Mr. Koziol's company then
sold the stock it had received from Mr. Genin.  Mr. Koziol
received approximately $3,300 as a result.

One of the Commission's Orders finds that Mr. Koziol's company
obtained the First Capital stock with a view to distributing the
stock to the public from a person directly or indirectly
controlling or controlled by First Capital, or under direct or
indirect common control with First Capital.  Therefore, the
stock was restricted and could not be sold to the public for one
year.  The Commission's Order found that First Capital, Mr.
Genin, and Mr. Koziol violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the
Securities Act and orders them to cease and desist from
committing or causing any violations and any future violations
of those provisions.  The Order also orders Mr. Koziol to
disgorge $3,692.85, representing the amount he made from the
illegal stock sales plus prejudgment interest.

The other Order from the Commission alleges that OTC Live and
Mr. Suleymanov also violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the
Securities Act.  A hearing will be scheduled before an
administrative law judge to determine whether the allegations in
the Order are true and, if so, whether OTC Live and Mr.
Suleymanov should be ordered to cease and desist from committing
or causing any violations and any future violations of Sections
5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act, and whether they should be
ordered to disgorge the proceeds of their conduct.


FLORIDA: 19 Students Injured in A&M University Team Bus Crash
-------------------------------------------------------------
A bus carrying Florida A&M University's cross-country team
overturned on a highway Thursday morning, injuring nineteen
people on their way to a tournament, AP Newswire reports.

Steve Wong, spokesman for Upstate Carolina Medical Center in
Gaffney said the injuries were primarily cuts and bruises, and
none appeared life-threatening.  Mr. Wong said he expects most
of the patients to be released Thursday.

Officials at the school in Tallahassee said the team was on its
way to Greensboro, NC, for a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
event.  The bus crashed on Interstate 85 near the South
Carolina-North Carolina state line, about 115 miles south of
their destination.


FREDDIE MAC: Ex-Chief to Pay Civil Penalty Per Consent Agreement
----------------------------------------------------------------
David Glenn, the ousted president of home mortgage giant Freddie
Mac has agreed to pay a $125,000 civil penalty fine and
cooperate with a federal investigation into the company's
questionable accounting practices, AP Newswire reports.

Under the consent agreement he signed with the Office of Federal
enterprise Oversight on Wednesday, Mr. Glenn is barred from
working for Freddie Mac or larger rival Fannie Mae.  The two
government-sponsored yet publicly traded companies are the
biggest players in the multi-trillion dollar home mortgage
market.

Mr. Glenn, Freddie Mac's president since 1990, was removed in
June for failing to cooperate with an internal review.  The
oversight agency said that while Mr. Glenn was president, there
were "serious and substantial issues regarding the management,
operations and business practices of Freddie Mac."

The company has disclosed that accounting errors and
manipulations of internal accounts resulted in its
underreporting earnings for 2000-2002 by at least $4.5 billion.
The head of the oversight agency said Wednesday he expected it
would complete its investigation of accounting problems at the
$40 billion-a-year company by month's end.

"Given the fact that we will have new information available to
us . I wouldn't want to produce an incomplete report," Armando
Falcon told a Senate hearing on legislative proposals for
overhauling regulation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The agency, part of the Department of Housing and Urban
Development, also has been conducting a special review of Fannie
Mae's accounting.  It restructured Mr. Glenn's compensation in
September, denying him $13 million in salary, bonuses and stock
options.  In the agreement, Mr. Glenn did not admit or deny any
wrongdoing.

"David Glenn is not an accountant or a derivatives expert.  He
relied at all times upon those who are," said Mr. Glenn's
attorney, Thomas Vartanian.  "He is a businessman that, in the
15 years he devoted to Freddie Mac, helped to build a remarkably
strong company that has put more than 10 million American
families in new homes."

An investigation ordered by Freddie Mac's board, made public in
July, found that a missing page from Glenn's diaries contained
material related to a meeting in which the company's auditors
from the Arthur Andersen accounting firm raised concerns to
executives about some questionable transactions.  Freddie Mac
fired the now-fallen Andersen as its auditing firm in March 2002
and replaced it with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac has agreed to cooperate with
investigations by the housing oversight agency, the Justice
Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well
as a tax audit by the Internal Revenue Service involving a
potential liability of $750 million plus interest.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were created by Congress to pump
money into the home mortgage market.  They buy home mortgages
from banks and other lenders and package them into securities
for sale to investors worldwide.


HOLLYWOOD: MPAA, Studios Partly Reverse Ban On Oscar Screeners
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Hollywood
studios decided Thursday to partially reversed their ban on
special video copies for awards groups, capitulating to
widespread criticism that the move would make it harder for
smaller films to win Oscars, Yahoo News reports.

The new agreement will allow "screener" copies, in VHS format
only since DVDs can be copied much easier and at near-original
quality, to be sent to the approximately 5,600 Academy Awards
voters, but not the far larger pool that hands out lesser
honors.

That means groups that present the Golden Globes, Screen Actors
Guild Awards, critics prizes and other movie honors will have to
see films at theaters or at screenings arranged by studios.
Oscar voters, meanwhile, can watch movies at home on copies sent
by the films' distributors.

Trying to crack down on piracy, top studios and their trade
group, the Motion Picture Association of America, pushed through
an across-the-board ban on September 30, which immediately drew
fire from the rest of the film industry.  MPAA President Jack
Valenti said screener copies sent to awards voters had popped up
for sale on eBay and had been used to duplicate bootlegged DVDs
in Asia.

However, the MPAA was forced to back down after widespread
complaints that the ban would make it harder for independent
arthouse films to compete against big studio movies come Oscar
time.  "If the current system were in place five years ago,
Hilary Swank wouldn't have her Oscar," for "Boys Don't Cry,"
said Tom O'Neil, author of the book "Movie Awards."

Under the new agreement, Oscar voters will have to sign a pledge
that they will not pass their screener copies on to anyone else
lest they be expelled from the Academy if pirated movies were
traced back to their screener copy.  Mr. Valenti and Academy
President Frank Pierson said studios will try the new screener
policy for a year, then decide if it needs adjustment.

Movie distributors began sending VHS screeners to Oscar voters
in the late 1980s.  As awards campaigning intensified through
the 1990s, distributors expanded their VHS and DVD mailing lists
to include voters for Golden Globes, British Academy honors and
key guild awards, along with top critics and entertainment
reporters.

"What began some years ago as a courtesy to academy members over
time expanded to thousands of copies passed through many hands
outside our industry," Mr. Valenti said.

The number of screeners sent varies depending on the studio and
the film.  As many as 15,000 screeners for some films have been
sent to guild members, critics, reporters or other awards voters
in past years.  Awards analysts say screener copies boosted
prospects for arthouse films, which have grabbed an increasing
share of Oscars in the last decade.  Screeners allowed voters to
see arthouse movies they otherwise might have missed, helping to
draw attention to such eventual Oscar winners as Ms. Swank,
Halle Berry in "Monster's Ball" and Marcia Gay Harden in
"Pollock."

Oscar buzz for Ms. Swank began after the Los Angeles Film
Critics Association gave her its best-actress prize, and many of
that group's members caught the movie because screener copies
were available, Mr. O'Neil said.

The Los Angeles critics group last weekend voted to call off its
awards this year because of the screener ban.  Jean Oppenheimer,
the group's president, said the awards cancellation will stand
unless the MPAA rescinds the entire screener ban.

Supporters of awards screeners also say the videos leveled the
playing field between independent distributors or studio-owned
arthouse units such as Fox Searchlight or Sony Pictures Classics
and big studios with huge budgets for awards marketing.


IDAHO: AG Reaches Agreement on Midvale District School Safety
-------------------------------------------------------------
State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has approved a settlement
in a lawsuit filed against the Midvale School District on
September 16, 2003, resolving issues related to school building
safety.  Under terms of the settlement, the Midvale School
District has agreed to take the following actions by September
30, 2004:

     (1) Anchor the roof trusses to the masonry walls and
         horizontal bracing of the Midvale Junior-Senior High
         School and Midvale Elementary School,

     (2) Repair deteriorating or missing mortar joints in
         exterior walls,

     (3) Repair the floor in the administration area by
         replacing sub-flooring or, if inspection reveals that
         the joists cannot bear the load, develop an abatement
         plan by October 31, 2004.

The state agreed to dismiss the lawsuit without prejudice.  When
the agreed-upon repairs are completed, the dismissal will become
final.

"The students in the Midvale School District are the winners in
this settlement," Attorney General Wasden said.  "They will be
attending safer schools next fall because the administration and
the school board stepped up and did what is right for the
students."

During negotiations with the Midvale School District, the State
agreed to pay for an engineer to inspect the buildings.  The
repairs, recommended by the engineer, will be made by current
Midvale School District employees and will require minimal
expenditures for materials.  The repairs will improve the
strength of the building(s) in the event of an earthquake.

The conditions in the Midvale School District are not considered
to be "imminent safety hazards" under the Uniform Public School
Building Safety Act, I.C.  39-8001 to 39-8012, and the Idaho
Division of Building Safety's Rules Governing Uniform School
Building Safety, IDAPA 07.06.01.  They are however, considered
to be "serious safety hazards."  Idaho law requires "serious
safety hazards" to be eliminated within one year.

In accordance with a law passed by the legislature in 2003, and
in compliance with an order of the Idaho Supreme Court, the
Attorney General filed lawsuits to eliminate unsafe conditions
in seven school districts, including Midvale.

"Both before and after filing the lawsuits, my office invited
the districts to work with us toward negotiated settlements,"
Attorney General Wasden said.  "Unfortunately, only Midvale took
us up on the offer.  I hope the other districts will reconsider.
We've demonstrated in Midvale that negotiation can resolve these
issues to the benefit of students and taxpayers."

The cases involving Cottonwood Joint School District No. 242,
St. Maries Joint School District No. 41, Lake Pend Oreille
School District No. 84, Whitepine Joint School District No. 288,
Lapwai School District No. 341, and Challis Joint School
District No. 181 are still pending.  So far, none of the
remaining districts have notified the Attorney General that the
conditions have been repaired or that the district has a plan to
repair the unsafe conditions.


ILLINOIS: Drivers File Consumer Fraud Suit V. Tollway Authority
---------------------------------------------------------------
Twenty-five motorists have joined a lawsuit originally filed by
Lombard restaurateur Gary Johnson that accuses the Illinois
State Toll Highway Authority of consumer fraud, AP Newswire
reports.  The lawsuit claims the toll authority has unjustly
fined people who paid tolls while coin baskets were broken.  It
also accuses the state of charging fees that led to bills
reaching thousands of dollars.

Toll authority spokeswoman Joelle McGinnis told AP safeguards
are in place to ensure motorists are not tagged as violators if
they pay tolls when machines are broken.  She also said the
authority has the right to charge a $20-per-violation fee.  "We
are confident that the judge will rule in our favor on all of
these counts and look forward to defending ourselves against
this frivolous lawsuit in court," she said.

Mr. Johnson amended his suit last week to add 25 plaintiffs and
added a claim that the agency and TransCore, the company that
repairs toll equipment and runs the violation enforcement
program, committed consumer fraud.  According to the lawsuit,
Mr. Johnson is seeking more than $50,000, among other things.  A
judge has not yet certified the lawsuit as a class action.


JAPAN: Universities Ordered to Refund Y4.8 Million in Tuition
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Tokyo District Court ordered the universities of Waseda,
Keio, Sophia and Kanto Gakuin to refund tuition totaling about
4.8 million yen paid by eight applicants who, after passing
university entrance examinations, decided before April 2001 not
to enroll in the universities, the Daily Yomiuri Online reports.

In a class action, 20 plaintiffs had demanded that seven private
universities, including Waseda and Keio universities, refund
about 18 million yen in tuition and entrance fees that had been
paid in advance.

The court approved claims filed by eight of 13 plaintiffs who
either were admitted after the Consumer Contract Law went into
effect in April 2001, or who canceled their enrollments before
the new academic year began on April 1st.  It rejected refunds
to seven plaintiffs who canceled their enrollments before the
law took effect and four others who canceled after the start of
the new school year.  The 20th plaintiff had not paid tuition
but was seeking a refund of the entrance fee.

"The universities had made preparations based on an estimated
number of cancellations and the damage could have been avoided
by filling vacancies with those on the waiting list," presiding
Judge Takashi Saito said.  "Therefore, all payments excluding
the entrance fee should be refunded under the Consumer Contract
Law."

Under the law, contracts that excessively protect the interests
of the business operator can be canceled.  The judge ruled that
nonrefundable agreements between the universities and applicants
were invalid.  In decisions since July on refunds of university
entrance fees after the law went into effect, the Osaka District
Court ruled against refunding the plaintiffs' fees, while the
Kyoto District Court ruled the other way.

Mr. Saito supported the Osaka District Court ruling, handed down
earlier this month, saying, "Students receive services when they
are admitted to a university."

According to the ruling, the 20 plaintiffs had passed the
entrance examinations for one of the following: Waseda, Keio,
Sophia, Aoyama Gakuin, Rissho and Kanto Gakuin universities and
Hoshi College of Pharmacy.  They canceled their enrollments
after passing entrance examinations for state and local
government-run universities after having paid entrance fees and
tuition for the private universities.

At a press conference afterward, the plaintiffs' lawyers said
they were satisfied up to a point, saying a legal precedent to
approve tuition refunds had been established.  However, they
said the ruling was strict because the refund of admission fees
was rejected and some of the plaintiffs had been denied a
tuition refund.


LIVONIA SCHOOLS: District To Pay $20T To Settle Land Sale Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
In a settlement agreement submitted to Judge Pamela Harwood last
week in Wayne Circuit Court, Livonia Public Schools has agreed
to pay $20,000 in attorney fees to a residents' group that sued
the district last year for allegedly violating the state's Open
Meetings Act when it discussed selling the old Rosedale School
site in closed session, The Detroit News reports.

The settlement also calls on the school district to make public
minutes from five closed sessions it held to discuss the
Rosedale School site, which Judge Harwood ruled in July was
illegal.

Superintendent Randy Liepa did not return a call seeking comment
on the settlement, but Cynthia Heenan, an attorney for
plaintiffs Tim Bailey, Jan Alfonso, and the group, Friends of
Open Spaces in Livonia, said she was pleased with the outcome.
"It makes it absolutely clear that the public's business has to
be conducted in public," Ms. Heenan said.

The settlement quietly puts an end to the lawsuit Friends of
Open Spaces filed last year after the district voted to sell the
old school site at Orangelawn and Cranston to developer William
Roskelly.


McDONALD'S CORPORATION: Settles Weight Discrimination Lawsuit
-------------------------------------------------------------
McDonald's Corporation settled a lawsuit filed by a 420-pound
Joseph Connor who claimed he was denied a job because of his
weight, AP Newswire reports.

According to court documents, Mr. Connor had been offered a
$6.75 an hour job as cook after attending a job fair in 2000.
However, over ensuing weeks, Mr. Connor claimed that after
arrangements were made for him to get a uniform, he never
got a call from management again.  Mr. Connor claimed that the
fast-food chain violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and
state employment law, and demanded $300,000 for financial loss
and severe emotional trauma, along with a job at McDonald's.

Mr. Connor's attorney, Gary Phelan, said Mr. Connor does not
have a job with the chain, but beyond that he would not discuss
the settlement.  The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"This matter has been resolved amicably, and without further
litigation," Mr. Phelan told AP.  McDonald's issued a similar
statement.


MICROCRAP MARKETING: SEC Files Two Administrative Proceedings
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission instituted two more
related administrative proceedings, one proceeding against two
publicly traded companies, Energy & Engine Technology
Corporation of Plano, Texas and Houston-based ProActive Computer
Services, Inc.

Both of these respondents settled the proceeding without
admitting or denying the findings in the Commission's Order.  In
the related matter, the Commission instituted proceedings
against Lorsin, Inc., Loretta M. Lockhart, Craig K. Hjalmarson,
Russell Management, Inc., George R. Siembida, Harold Engel, Jr.,
MicroCap Marketing, Inc. and Shane M. Nelson ("Nelson").

According to the Commission's Orders, Energy & Engine, which
maintains a natural gas gathering system, hired former stock
promoter Siembida, of Depew, New York, and his company, Russell
Management, to promote Energy & Engine on the Internet.  Energy
& Engine paid Siembida in stock that was improperly registered
pursuant to a Form S-8 Registration Statement.  (Form S-8
registration is not available for stock issued as compensation
for stock promotion services.)  Siembida subcontracted with
Engel, who operates a small cap stock promotion website,
WillyWizard.com, to promote Energy & Engine.  To compensate
Engel, Siembida transferred some of the shares he received from
Energy & Engine to Engel.

The Commission's Orders allege that Engel, in turn,
subcontracted with two other promoters, Hjalmarson and Nelson,
to profile Energy & Engine on the Internet.  Hjalmarson, of Kill
Devil Hills, North Carolina, operates a website,
GreedOrFear.com, through a corporation named Lorsin, which is
headed by Lockhart, also of Kill Devil Hills.  Nelson, of
Bethany, Illinois, heads MicroCap Marketing, which promotes
small cap companies on the Internet.  Engel paid Hjalmarson and
Nelson with a portion of the Energy & Engine shares he received
from Siembida.

The Commission's Orders further allege that Engel and Nelson
touted Energy & Engine on their websites, and that Hjalmarson
distributed Energy & Engine press releases over the Internet.
The promotion coincided with a 68 percent rise in the price of
Energy & Engine's stock, from $0.29 to $0.49 per share, and
average daily trading volume that was over 600% higher that the
stock's historical daily volume.  Siembida, Engel, Hjalmarson,
and Nelson sold the stock that they had received for a combined
total of over $14,000.

According to the Commission's Orders, Siembida obtained the
Energy & Engine Shares in an unregistered offering with a view
to distributing the stock to the public, making him an
underwriter in a distribution of Energy & Engine stock.  By
participating in this distribution, Energy & Engine, Russell
Management, Siembida, Engel, Lorsin, Hjalmarson, Lockhart,
MicroCap Marketing, and Nelson violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c)
of the Securities Act.

The Commission's Orders also allege that Nelson and MicroCap
Marketing participated in a second illegal stock distribution
with another small cap issuer, ProActive.  ProActive, a computer
services provider, hired Nelson and MicroCap Marketing to
promote ProActive in exchange for a combination of restricted
and purportedly unrestricted ProActive shares.

ProActive arranged for a third-party shareholder to transfer
300,000 ProActive shares to Nelson's brokerage account.  Nelson
posted ProActive profiles on his websites and touted ProActive
in his electronic newsletter.  Nelson sold the ProActive shares
he received from the third-party shortly after receiving them
for $1,340.50.

The Commission's Orders allege that Nelson obtained the
ProActive shares with a view to distributing them to the public
from a person directly or indirectly controlling or controlled
by ProActive, or under direct or indirect common control with
ProActive.   Therefore, the stock was restricted and could not
be sold to the public for one year.

In the proceeding against Lorsin, Lockhart, Hjalmarson, Russell
Management, Siembida, Engel, MicroCap Marketing, and Nelson, the
Commission's Order alleges that another issuer, whose stock was
traded on the OTC Bulletin Board, hired Lorsin to promote it on
the Internet.  To pay for the promotion, the issuer directed two
shareholders to transfer a total of 30,000 of its shares to
Lorsin.   Following the launch of Lorsin's promotional campaign,
Lorsin sold a portion of the stock it had received from the
issuer for $1,249.

According to the allegations in the Commission's Order, Lorsin
obtained the issuer's shares with a view to distributing them to
the public from a person directly or indirectly controlling or
controlled by the issuer, or under direct or indirect common
control with the issuer.  Therefore, the stock was restricted
and could not be sold to the public for one year.

One of the Commission's Orders finds that Energy & Engine and
ProActive violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act
and orders them to cease and desist from committing or causing
any violations and any future violations of those provisions.

The other Order alleges that Lorsin, Lockhart, Hjalmarson,
Russell Management, Siembida, Engel, MicroCap Marketing, and
Nelson violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act.  A
hearing will be scheduled before an administrative law judge to
determine whether the allegations in the Order are true and, if
so, whether Lorsin, Lockhart, Hjalmarson, Russell Management,
Siembida, Engel, MicroCap Marketing, and Nelson should be
ordered to cease and desist from committing or causing any
violations and any future violations of Sections 5(a) and 5(c)
of the Securities Act, and whether they should be ordered to
disgorge the proceeds of their conduct.


MISSISSIPPI: Natchez District Seeks Desegregation Suit Dismissal
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Natchez-Adams School District in Missouri asked United
States District Court Judge William H. Barbour, Jr. to dismiss
the 14-year-old desegregation suit, The Natchez Democrat
reports.

The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the
district to desegregate in 1969.  In 1988, a lawsuit was filed
protesting the desegregation on behalf of all black students in
the district and their parents or guardians, according to Bruce
Kuehnle, Natchez-Adams Schools attorney.   The lawsuit resulted
in a desegregation plan that consolidated schools and set new
attendance zones.  The last desegregation plan was handed down
July 24, 1989, by Judge Barbour.

The district filed a joint motion with the US Justice
Department, asking the court to determine the district is
operating under "unitary status" - which means the school
district has met desegregation requirements.  If the status is
granted, the suit will be dismissed.

That would give the district "a little more flexibility in
making our decision for the students and the full operation of
the school district," Natchez-Adams School District
Superintendent Anthony Morris told The Democrat.  Mr.
Morris and other school officials would not speculate on new
plans for the district if it receives unitary status.

US District Judge William H. Barbour Jr. has now scheduled a
fairness hearing on the case at 1:30 p.m. December 5 at the
federal courthouse in Jackson.

"To dismiss, (we) have to give notice to that class and give
them an opportunity" to comment on the closing of the class
action suit, Mr. Kuehnle told The Democrat.  The school district
must publish a public notice of the hearing at least twice, in
local newspapers. Also, notices are posted at all schools and at
the central office.

To participate in the fairness hearing, members of the class
must submit written objections or comments, either in favor of
or against the district's motion to be declared of unitary
status and have the case dismissed.  Comments must be sent to
the judge's office postmarked on later than November 20.   There
are forms available at all schools, central office and the
Steckler multi-purpose building.


MUSIC INDUSTRY: Fires New Wave of Copyright Infringement Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) plans to
sue hundreds more in a second round of legal action against
people who illegally share copyrighted song files over the
Internet, AP Newswire reports.

In a wave of lawsuits last month, the industry group sued 261
persons, and has sent letters to 204 others since Monday, saying
they will be sued unless they settle copyright infringement
charges.  By notifying file sharers, the RIAA is bowing to
pressure from Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) who criticized the
industry group's tactics when it filed the initial round of
lawsuits.  Many people found out they had been sued from
reporters, and Mr. Coleman asked RIAA Chairman Mitch Bainwol
during a September 30 hearing to warn people before beginning
another legal assault.

"We take the concerns expressed by policy-makers and others very
seriously," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a statement
yesterday.

Critics of the recording industry said the group's plan to sue
more file sharers came as no surprise.  "They've been saying for
a while they would do this," Wendy Seltzer, staff attorney for
the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco group that
promotes digital rights for consumers, told AP.

In letters mailed this week to targets of the latest anti-piracy
offensive, the recording industry warned people they "intend to
file a lawsuit against you shortly for copyright infringement .
The record companies take copyright infringement very seriously"
and artists "all depend on the sale of recordings to earn a
living."

The letter also advises people they can avoid litigation by
admitting guilt and paying a settlement.  "In light of the
comments we have heard, we want to go the extra mile and offer
illegal file sharers an additional chance to work this out short
of legal action," Mr. Sherman told AP.

The recording industry settled with 52 persons last month,
including the family of 12-year-old Brianna LaHara paid a $2,000
fine after the recording industry charged her with copyright
infringement.  Terms of the settlements and the names of people
who decided to settle haven't been disclosed.

By letting people know lawsuits will be filed against them, the
recording industry also could avoid the public relations debacle
that occurred last month when a Boston grandmother was
mistakenly sued.  Copyright infringement charges against Sarah
Ward were dismissed when she convinced the recording industry
she didn't have file-sharing software on her computer.

Michael Friedman, a lawyer who heads the entertainment practice
at New York law firm Jenkens and Gilchrist LLP, told AP it is
not clear how effective the recording industry's legal tactics
have been in reducing file sharing.  File sharing on the popular
Kazaa peer-to-peer network fell almost 50 percent over the
summer, prices for CDs have come down and consumers are
migrating to legitimate online music sites such as Apple's
iTunes, Mr. Friedman said.

Research firm Nielsen/NetRatings said 7 million people used
Kazaa's file-sharing application during the week of June 1.  The
recording industry began to gather evidence about file-sharing
activity on June 29.  By October 5, the number of people using
Kazaa had fallen to 3.6 million.

The 204 persons targeted by the recording industry are being
accused of distributing an average of 1,000 copyrighted music
files each, according to the RIAA.  Copyright law allows the
industry to collect $750 to $150,000 for each song file
distributed.

Still more lawsuits are likely after this second wave.  The
recording industry has filed at least 1,633 subpoenas to gather
information about suspected file sharers.  Separately, more than
900 people have avoided litigation by signing an affidavit
admitting they swapped song files and promising to stop.


NATIONAL AUSTRALIAN: Slater & Gordon to Join U.S.Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Australian law firm Slater & Gordon will join U.S. law firm
Goodkind, Labaton, Rudoff & Sucharow in the class action it
filed against the National Australia Bank (NAB) over the
HomeSide Lending Inc fiasco, The Age reports.

The suit relates to the NAB's $3 billion write-down over its
U.S. mortgage business Homeside.  In September 2001, NAB stunned
investors by stripping $3.05 billion from the value of the
Florida-based mortgage originator HomeSide Lending Inc.

The suit alleges violations of federal securities laws relating
primarily to disclosure concerning the valuation of the mortgage
servicing rights held by HomeSide, which NAB sold in October
2002, The Age reports.

Slater & Gordon managing partner Andrew Grech said Australian
investors could have their claims dealt with in the U.S. civil
action.  "Shareholders who purchased NAB shares between April 1,
1999 and Sept 3, 2001, whether they be mum and dad retail
investors or large institutional investors, should obtain legal
advice now to ensure their rights are protected," he said in a
statement, The Age reports.


PIER 1 IMPORTS: Recalls Glass Candleholder Due To Injury Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
Pier 1 Imports of Fort Worth, Texas, in cooperation with the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is voluntarily
recalling about 65,800 Footed Glass Floater Bowl candleholders
following nine reports of the glass base separating from the
bowl, resulting in seven cuts to consumers.

The recalled Footed Glass Floater Bowl candleholder is intended
for use with floating candles.  It is about 5 1/4 inches in
height, with a 9-inch diameter bowl and a 2 1/2-inch diameter
base.  The candleholders were made in China.  The price sticker
on the bottom of the candleholder reads "SKU 1920833."

Pier 1 Imports sold the candleholders through its retail stores
and on-line nationwide from March 2002 through the beginning of
October 2003 for about $12.

For more information, contact the Company by Phone:
(800) 245-4595 (Prompt #5) between 8:30 am and 11:00 pm CT
Monday through Friday, between 9:00 am and 11:00 pm CT Saturday,
and between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm CT Sunday, or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.pier1.com


RESEARCH CAPITAL: SEC Files Admin Proceedings Over Stock Fraud
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission instituted administrative
proceedings against Research Capital, LLC, a Florida venture
capital company, and its principals, Craig L. Smith, III and R.
Craig Hall and Internet stock promoter Wayne H. Jenkins and his
company, IR Specialists, Inc., all of whom settled the
proceedings without admitting or denying the findings in the
Commission's Order.

The Commission also instituted related administrative
proceedings naming alleged stock promoters, Tyler T. Fleming,
SmallCap Solutions, Inc., Complete Financial And Operations,
LLC, Scott H. Wilding, and Research Investment Group, Inc.
(RIG).

According to the Commission's Orders, Research Capital hired
stock promoters to tout a small cap issuer with which Research
Capital was affiliated.  Research Capital and its principals,
Smith, of Osprey, Florida, and Hall, of Sarasota, Florida, owned
approximately 18% of the issuer's outstanding shares, and had
agreed to provide the issuer with $1 million in working capital.

Research Capital hired stock promoter Wilding of Pembroke Pines,
Florida, and his company, RIG, to promote the issuer on the
Internet.  In exchange, RIG received an option to purchase up to
4 million of the issuer's shares at one-third of the market
price.  Smith and Hall transferred 3,300,000 shares to Wilding
pursuant to this option.

The Commission's Orders allege that RIG subcontracted with two
other stock promoters.  The first, Fleming, a Las Vegas resident
who promoted small cap companies through two corporate entities
he heads, SmallCap Solutions and Complete Financial.  The second
promoter, Jenkins, of Hope, Rhode Island, promoted small cap
companies through his company, IR Specialists.  Fleming and
Jenkins were paid with stock transferred from Smith.

The Commission's Orders further allege that Fleming's and
Jenkins' promotional campaigns coincided with several days of
increased trading volume in the issuers stock, some days as much
as 600% higher than the stock's historical trading volume.
After the start of the campaign, the three stock promoters,
Wilding, Fleming, and Jenkins sold the stock they received for
over $130,000.

According to the Commission's Orders, Wilding, Fleming, and
Jenkins obtained the issuer's shares with a view to distributing
the stock to the public, from persons directly or indirectly
controlling or controlled by the issuer, or under direct or
indirect common control with the issuer.  Therefore, the stock
was not exempt from registration, and the transactions violated
the registration provisions of the federal securities laws,
which prohibit the offer or sale of securities unless a
registration statement has been filed with the Commission or is
in effect as to the securities.

According to one of the Commission's Orders, SmallCap Solutions
and Fleming were hired by another publicly traded company to
promote it in exchange for 30,000 of its unrestricted shares.
The company's president directed a shareholder to transfer
30,000 shares to SmallCap Solutions to pay for the promotion.
The company reimbursed the shareholder with 60,000 restricted
shares of the company.

Three days after SmallCap Solutions first touted the company on
its website, the company's stock price rose 18 percent, from
$1.0625 to $1.25, on volume that was 255 percent higher than the
stock's historical average volume.  SmallCap Solutions should
the shares it received for $15,955.

The Commission's Order alleges that SmallCap Solutions obtained
the shares with a view to distributing them to the public from a
person directly or indirectly controlling or controlled by the
issuer, or under direct or indirect common control with the
issuer.  As a result, the shares were restricted and could not
be sold to the public within a year after they were acquired by
SmallCap Solutions.   The transactions constituted an illegal
distribution of securities.

One of the Commission's Orders finds that Research Capital,
Smith, Hall, IR Specialists, and Jenkins violated Sections 5(a)
and 5(c) of the Securities Act, and orders them to cease and
desist from committing or causing any violations and any future
violations of those provisions.  The Order also orders Jenkins
and IR Specialists to disgorge $6,337.22, representing the
amount they made from the illegal stock sales plus prejudgment
interest.

The other Commission Order alleges that RIG, Wilding, Fleming,
SmallCap Solutions, and Complete Financial violated Sections
5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act.  A hearing will be
scheduled before an administrative law judge to determine
whether the allegations in the Order are true and, if so,
whether RIG, Wilding, Fleming, SmallCap Solutions, and Complete
Financial should be ordered to cease and desist from committing
or causing any violations and any future violations of Sections
5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act, and whether they should be
ordered to disgorge the proceeds of their conduct.


SOLUCORP INDUSTRIES: SEC Commences, Settles Admin Order V. CPA
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission issued a settled
administrative order pursuant to Rule 102(e) of its Rules of
Practice that permanently suspends Victor Herman, CPA, from
appearing or practicing before the Commission as an accountant.

The Order is based on the findings of the US District Court for
the Southern District of New York in an opinion and order
entered in a related civil action on July 28, 2003, that Mr.
Herman violated the antifraud, books-and-records and internal
control provisions of the federal securities laws.  Mr. Herman
committed these violations in his capacity as chief financial
officer of the principal operating subsidiaries of Solucorp
Industries Ltd., an environmental remediation firm based in New
York, and as the preparer of Solucorp's consolidated financial
statements.

Specifically, the Court found that Herman had violated 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
and 13b2-1 thereunder, by making materially false and misleading
statements in 1996 regulatory filings regarding a purported $50
million contract issued to Solucorp, and materially overstating
revenues in filings with the Commission in 1997 and 1998 by
improperly recognizing revenue based on a backdated licensing
agreement.


UNITED STATES: Groups Laud Blocking of Class Action Fairness Act
----------------------------------------------------------------
Several special interest groups hailed the United States
Senate's refusal to consider the controversial Class Action
Fairness Act, seeking to move most large class actions to
federal courts.

The Democratic minority used a procedural motion to block a vote
on bringing the bill to the floor for consideration.  The mostly
Republican backers of the bill needed 60 votes to clear the
procedural hurdle; they came nail-bitingly close, getting 59
votes, with 39 senators voting against them, an earlier Class
Action Reporter story (October 24,2003) states.  Although Senate
Republicans said they would try again, and some Democrats spoke
of possible compromise, there is little legislative time left
for such efforts this year.

In a statement, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids President Matthew
L. Myers labeled the decision a "victory for the legal rights of
all Americans."  He said, "The effect of this ill-conceived
legislation would have been to unfairly deny the rights of
citizens to bring lawsuits in their own state, including
lawsuits against the tobacco industry."

He asserted that class action litigation at the state level has
been an effective tool for holding the tobacco industry
accountable for its misdeeds.  He cited the Illinois court's
decision in the "lights" cigarettes suit against Philip Morris
as demonstrating that "class action cases continue to be an
effective mechanism for addressing the systematic misdeeds
committed by the tobacco companies."

He said, "The Senate was right to stop this brazen attempt to
deny citizens of any state the ability to seek justice from the
tobacco companies under their own state laws and in their own
state courts.  The legislation would have only provided
additional protections for the tobacco companies at a time when
what we really need is additional protections for those harmed
by tobacco addiction."

The Alliance For Justice also applauded the decision, saying the
the Act would "move nearly every state court class action to
federal court, making it much harder for defrauded investors,
ripped-off consumers, abused workers and victims of toxic
pollution to receive justice."

"Today, 39 Senators stood up for ordinary Americans and stood up
to the wealthy corporate interests who put tremendous pressure
on them to support this harmful legislation," said Alliance for
Justice President Nan Aron in a statement.  "We commend them for
their courage and commitment to making sure that victims of
corporate wrongdoing have access to their own state courts."

The group also said the Class Action Fairness Act is a priority
of the Bush-Cheney administration and the business lobby, who
hired nearly 500 lobbyists in an attempt to bulldoze the bill
through Congress.  Disguising the effort as mere court reform to
improve the class action process, in fact, S. 1751 does little
to ensure that the process is more fair and would actually make
the system much more unfair.  In addition to stripping state
courts of the ability to interpret their own state laws and hear
class actions brought by citizens of their own states, there are
other provisions in S. 1751 that are detrimental to public
interest litigation.

"Corporate interests want two bites at the apple," said Ms.
Aron.  "They are pushing the Senate to confirm judges that are
sympathetic to their interests over those of ordinary people.
At the same time, they want to guarantee that their cases will
be heard by these same individuals.  Senators must remain
resolute in their determination to make sure that reforms to the
class action process are genuine improvements for all
Americans."


VANTAGEMED CORPORATION: SEC Institutes Proceeding V. Former CAO
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission instituted, and
simultaneously settled, an administrative proceeding against
Anne H. Long, former Chief Accounting Officer of VantageMed
Corporation.

Without admitting or denying the Commission's allegations, Ms.
Long consented to the entry of the Order Instituting
Administrative Proceedings Pursuant to Rule 102(e) of the
Commission's Rules of Practice, Making Findings, and Imposing
Remedial Sanctions, suspending her from appearing or practicing
before the Commission as an accountant, with a right to request
reinstatement after a period of two years.

The Order finds that Ms. Long, pursuant to a separately filed
district court action, was permanently enjoined from violating
Section 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and
Rules 13b-1 and 13b2-2 thereunder and from aiding and abetting
violations of Sections 13(a) and 13(b)(2)(A) of the Exchange Act
and Rules 12b-20 and 13a-13, and was ordered to pay $35,000 in
civil penalties.

The Commission's complaint in the separate district court action
alleges that Ms. Long failed to disclose material information
regarding VantageMed's sale of a business line to VantageMed's
independent auditors that resulted in inaccurate books and
records, and VantageMed's filing a materially false financial
statement in the Company's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended
September 30, 2001.

The complaint alleged that Ms. Long's actions materially
understated VantageMed's operating costs and expenses, its net
loss, and its diluted net loss per share for the quarter ended
September 30, 2001 in a departure from generally accepted
accounting principles.


WAL-MART STORES: Faces Probe After Feds Seize Illegal Workers
-------------------------------------------------------------
Federal officials on Thursday arrested more than 300 illegal
workers at 61 Wal-Mart stores in the U.S., and searched the
office of one corporate executive at the company's Bentonville,
Arkansas, headquarters, as part of an investigation into
contract cleaning crews at the world's largest retailer, The
Financial Times Online reports.

The raid marks the latest in a series of employment issues to
have dogged the biggest private employer in the U.S.  It has
faced lawsuits from workers who claimed to have been forced to
work "off the clock", or put in unpaid overtime.  Wal-Mart has
said this was against company policy and that any store managers
found to have engaged in such actions would be fired.

Federal law officials told news agencies that the investigation
involved allegations that a contractor had recruited illegal
immigrants, mainly from Eastern Europe, to work on cleaning
crews at the stores.  An official told Reuters that some Wal-
Mart executives had direct knowledge of the scheme, based on
recorded conversations, surveillance and monitoring.  Federal
grand jury subpoenas had been issued for unnamed Wal-Mart
executives to testify.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said all the
workers were in the country illegally and had been arrested
across 21 states as part of a "worksite enforcement" effort.
Wal-Mart confirmed that stores had been raided yesterday morning
and that a number of contract cleaners had been arrested.

Wal-Mart also faces a possible class action from almost 1.6
million women who are former and present employees, charging
that it systematically denies promotion and equal pay to female
employees.  Wal-Mart says the case is spurious and that it has a
strong anti-discrimination record.


WASTE MANAGEMENT: SEC Files, Settles Civil Lawsuit V. Officers
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a settled civil
injunctive action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of Texas against two former Waste Management, Inc.
(WMI) officers, Rodney R. Proto and Earl E. DeFrates.

The Commission's complaint charges Mr. Proto and Mr. DeFrates
with insider trading in WMI stock, and with making public
statements to Wall Street analysts, investment bankers, and
investors, while employed by the company in May and June 1999,
which they knew, or were reckless in not knowing, were
materially false or misleading.  At the time of their actions,
Mr. Proto was WMI's President, Chief Operating Officer, and a
member of the WMI Board of Directors, and Mr. DeFrates was WMI's
Chief Financial Officer.

The Commission also filed a separate civil injunctive action in
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
against WMI's former Chief Accounting Officer, Bruce E. Snyder,
Jr.  The Commission's complaint against Mr. Snyder, which is not
settled, charges him with insider trading in WMI stock and
preparing, reviewing, and signing a materially false or
misleading Form 10-Q that WMI filed with the Commission for the
first quarter of its fiscal year ended December 31, 1999.

Mr. Proto and Mr. DeFrates, without admitting or denying the
allegations in the Commission's Complaint, each consented to an
order permanently enjoining him from violating Section 17(a) of
the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5.  In addition,
Proto and DeFrates consented to an order barring each of them,
respectively, from serving as an officer or director of a public
company for a period of five years.

Mr. Proto has consented to pay a total of $3,721,177.  This
amount represents $1,503,670 in disgorgement of his illegal
insider trading losses avoided, plus prejudgment interest of
$513,837, a civil penalty equal to his illegal insider trading
losses avoided of $1,503,670 and a $200,000 civil penalty for
making materially false or misleading statements regarding WMI's
first quarter 1999 earnings and WMI's ability to meet its
previously announced second quarter 1999 earnings guidance.

Mr. DeFrates has consented to pay a total of  $482,779.  This
amount represents $121,217 in disgorgement of his illegal
insider trading losses avoided, plus prejudgment interest of
$40,345, a civil penalty equal to his losses avoided of
$121,217; and a $200,000 civil penalty for making materially
false or misleading statements regarding WMI's first quarter
1999 earnings and WMI's ability to meet its previously announced
second quarter 1999 earnings guidance.

The Commission's complaint against Mr. Snyder seeks an order
enjoining him from further violations of Section 17(a) of the
Securities Act, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and Exchange
Act Rule 10b-5, and from aiding and abetting violations of
Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act and Exchange Act Rules 12b-20
and 13a-13.

The Commission also seeks an order barring him from serving as
an officer or director of a public company.  The Commission's
complaint further seeks disgorgement of Mr. Snyder's illegal
insider trading losses avoided, plus prejudgment interest, and
civil penalties for insider trading and for the fraudulent
financial reporting.

The suits are styled, "SEC v. Rodney R. Proto and Earl E.
DeFrates, Civil Action No. 03CV4659, Kenneth Hoyt, USDC SDTX"
and "SEC v. Bruce E. Snyder, Jr., Civil Action No. 03CV4658,
Ewing Werlein, Jr., USDC  SDTX."


                   New Securities Fraud Cases


AMERITRADE HOLDINGS: Raging Bull Holdings Files Stock Suit in NE
----------------------------------------------------------------
Raging Bull Holdings et al., a consortium of private investors,
on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, filed a
class action in the United States District Court for the
District of Nebraska, case number 8:03CV421, on behalf of
customers of Ameritrade Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:AMTD) et al. who
became customers of Ameritrade between March 29, 1995 and
September 30, 2003, inclusive the.

The lawsuit names as defendants:

     (1) Knight Trading Group Inc (Nasdaq:NITE),

     (2) J. Joe Ricketts,

     (3) Gene L. Finn,

     (4) Kenneth D. Pasternak,

     (5) Steven L. Steinman,

     (6) Walter F. Raquet and,

     (7) Robert M. Lazarowitz

The complaint charges Ameritrade, Knight and certain key
officers and directors with multiple violations of SEC Rules 3b,
10b and 11Ac.  Ameritrade violated Rule 11Ac in that they failed
to disclose to their customers their true affiliation with
Knight, the true level of customer order flow routed to Knight
for execution and the true payments for order flow received from
Knight.

Knight violated Rules 11Ac regarding order handling and display
in connection with the orders placed via Ameritrade's customers.
Both companies filed false historical data in required SEC
filings and reports.  All defendants violated Rules 10b and 3a
in a scheme to defraud Ameritrade's customers through improper
order execution by not properly revealing the true affiliation
shared between the parties as complained of in this action.

Plaintiffs allege that approximately 70 percent of all
customers' orders were routed to Knight for execution during the
8 1/2 year Class Period.  This resulted in improper order
handling and execution of nearly 40,000 trades per day on all
securities on all major exchanges.  The amount defrauded of
the 3 million plus Class members in this action resulted in
losses of billions of dollars of investment capital.

The lawsuit seeks $4.5 billion in restitution, or $1500 per
member.  Ameritrade failed their fiduciary responsibility to
disclose the affiliation shared with Knight to their customers,
the regulatory agencies and the investing public.  Ameritrade's
ownership position of Knight common stock, revenues received for
payment for order flow and past equity income gains from
Roundtable Partners LLC obligates Ameritrade to properly
disclose all levels of this affiliation to the public.

By not disclosing this affiliation, and Knight's willful
violations of SEC Rules, as sanctioned by the SEC and the NASD,
the Class Members have sustained the damages complained of
herein.

For more details, contact Denton L. Keener by Mail: 177 Walnut
Street Suite 9, Waynesville, NC 28786 by Phone: (828) 734-2097
or by E-mail: ragingbullinvgroup@charter.net.


CONSOL ENERGY: Charles Piven Files Securities Lawsuit in W.D. PA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the Western
District of Pennsylvania against defendant CONSOL and certain of
its officers and directors on behalf of shareholders who
purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common
stock of CONSOL Energy, Inc. (NYSE:CNX) between January 24, 2002
and July 18, 2002, inclusive.

The action charges that defendants violated federal securities
laws by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market throughout the Class Period which
statements had the effect of artificially inflating the market
price of the Company's securities.

For more details, contact Charles J. Piven by Mail: The World
Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Street, Suite 2525,
Baltimore, Maryland 21202, by Phone: 410-986-0036 or by E-mail:
hoffman@pivenlaw.com


MICROFINANCIAL INC.: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in MA
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts against MicroFinancial, Inc. and
certain of its officers and directors on behalf of shareholders
who purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the
common stock of MicroFinancial, Inc. (NYSE:MFI) between February
5, 1999 and October 30, 2002, inclusive.

The action charges that defendants violated federal securities
laws by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market throughout the Class Period which
statements had the effect of artificially inflating the market
price of the Company's securities.

For more details, contact Charles J. Piven, P.A. by Mail: The
World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Street, Suite 2525,
Baltimore, Maryland 21202, by Phone: 410-986-0036 or by E-mail:
hoffman@pivenlaw.com.


SPORTSLINE.COM: Emerson Poynter Files Securities Suit in S.D. FL
----------------------------------------------------------------
Emerson Poynter LLP initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
Florida on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of
Sportsline.com Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLN) during the period between May
15, 2001 and September 25, 2003 inclusive.  The suit names as
defendants:

     (1) Kenneth W. Sanders,

     (2) Michael Levy, and

     (3) Sportsline.com, Inc.

The suit alleges violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.  The complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of
false and misleading statements regarding Sportsline's:

     (i) advertising base and its ability to mitigate overall
         diminished media spending;

    (ii) ability to reach positive EBITDA in the fourth quarter
         of 2002;

   (iii) successful integration of its fantasy products and
         their positive impact on the Company's overall growth
         and presence in the Internet sports media industry;
         and

    (iv) ability to increase the Company's value through the
         acquisition of the MVP.com store.

As alleged in the complaint, defendants knew and failed to
disclose:

     (a) the Company's fantasy sports business was not as
         significant a revenue source as the Company portrayed
         it to be;

     (b) revenue derived from advertising sales was diminishing
         and CBS was contributing significantly less advertising
         revenue than disclosed;

     (c) a positive EBITDA could only be achieved by hiding
         expenses and improperly classifying discontinued
         operations; and

     (d) MVP.com's assets did not yield promised value.

As a result of the defendants' false and misleading statements,
Sportsline's stock traded at inflated prices during the Class
Period, increasing to as high as $3.85 on November 27, 2001.

On September 26, 2003, Sportsline shocked the market by
revealing that the Company was reducing its previous revenue and
earnings forecasts for the third quarter and full year 2003 and
that it is restating its reported financial results for the past
two and a half years.  In response to the Company's devastating
news concerning the financial restatements, Sportsline's stock
price plummeted by more than 30% on volumes of about eight times
the daily average.

For more details, contact the firm by Mail: 830 Apollo Lane,
Houston, Texas 77058, by Phone: 1 (800) 663-9817 or by E-mail:
shareholder@emersonfirm.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.  The Asbestos Defendant Profiles is backed by an
online database created to respond to custom searches. Go to
http://litigationdatasource.com/asbestos_defendant_profiles.html

                        *********


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
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.  Enid Sterling, Roberto Amor, Aurora Fatima Antonio and
Lyndsey Resnick, Editors.

Copyright 2003.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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