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Big Tobacco’s Net Worth Not a Cap To Damages, Florida Judge Tells Jury

The judge in the landmark Florida smokers trial yesterday told the jury it could award punitive damages well beyond the $15.3 billion the nation’s five biggest tobacco companies claim is their combined net worth.<br /><br />The tobacco companies had asked Circuit Judge Robert Kaye to cap punitive damages at that figure, culled from their 1999 annual reports. They disputed the assessments by witnesses for the smokers that the industry could afford to pay as much as $157 billion.

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Low Unemployment Rate Means Driver Shortages for Cab Companies

Maryland taxicab companies are experiencing their worst driver shortages in years, and despite offers of bonuses and freebies for qualified drivers, many cabs remain idle.<br /><br />The problem stems, company officials say, from the strong economy, which gives would-be cab drivers a multitude of other entry-level jobs to choose from.

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Hopkins Pledges $4.5M to Address Heath Needs in East Baltimore

Members of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution family are uniting to better serve the East Baltimore community.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Hopkins is pledging $4.5 million over five years to the formation of an Urban Health Institute to identify and better address the health needs of its surrounding neighborhoods, the organization said yesterday.

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NEWS SUMMARY

Family Tech CenterBaltimore County officials and the county’s chapter of the NAACP will announce plans this morning for the first “family technology center” in the nation to be sponsored by the civil rights group. The center, which will include a ...

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Visual Networks Plummets

The value of network software firm Visual Networks tumbled more than 50 percent yesterday, as investors punished the company for its late-Wednesday-night warning of disappointing earnings for the second quarter and beyond.<@SM><@SM><TAB>Blaming integration problems associated with a large acquisition earlier this year, the Rockville-based Visual Networks said it would see only a penny-a-share profit for the second quarter, which ended June 30.

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CoStar Rises to Web

Real estate data giant CoStar Group Inc. has put its reservoir of listings in an online marketplace for buying and selling commercial property, and while some brokers see Internet-based real estate as a crucial supplement to the business, others are skeptical.

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Fifth Judge May Reject Clinton Case

After four colleagues excused themselves from the case, a recently appointed Arkansas judge says he has not decided whether to preside over President Clinton

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