BOSTON

Dogged by media, Kerry vows to pay taxes on yacht

Sen. John Kerry moved to end a controversy over his decision to base his new $7 million yacht in tax-free Rhode Island, informing the Massachusetts Department of Revenue on Tuesday that he would “promptly” pay taxes as if the vessel were docked in his home state.

The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee has been dogged by charges of tax evasion since last week, when the Boston Herald reported on his decision to dock the 76-foot sloop Isabel in Newport, R.I.

Doing so spared Kerry a $437,500 one-times sales tax charge in Massachusetts, as well as about $70,000 in annual excise taxes. Rhode Island repealed those taxes in 1993, making the state something of a nautical tax haven.

WASHINGTON

Rangel hopes to settle ethics case, avoid a damaging trial

New York Democrat Charles Rangel made a last-minute effort Tuesday to settle his ethics case and prevent a House trial that could embarrass him and damage the Democratic Party.

The talks between Rangel’s lawyer and the House ethics committee’s nonpartisan attorneys were confirmed by ethics Chairman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. Lofgren said she is not involved in the talks, and added that the committee’s lawmakers have always accepted the professional staff’s recommendations in previous plea bargains.

Rangel, a 40-year House veteran who is 80 years old, would have to admit to multiple, substantial ethics violations for any plea bargain to be accepted. Earlier negotiations broke down when Rangel would only admit to some allegations –not enough to satisfy the committee lawyers.

PARIS

Killing of aid worker goads France into ‘war on al-Qaida’

France has declared war on al-Qaida, and matched its fighting words with a first attack on a base camp of the terror network’s North African branch, after the terror network killed a French aid worker it took hostage in April.

“We are at war with al-Qaida,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday, a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the death of 78-year-old hostage Michel Germaneau.

The humanitarian worker had been abducted April 20 or 22 in Niger by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and was later taken to Mali, officials said.

LONDON

Trucker sentenced in scam to sell Ritz hotel to investor

An unemployed British truck driver has been sentenced to five years in jail for trying to sell the world-famous Ritz hotel for $380 million to a duped investor.

Anthony Lee was convicted earlier this month for tricking potential buyer Terence Collins to hand over, in 2006, what would be worth about $1.6 million today.

The 49-year-old Lee claimed he was a close friend and associate of Frederick and David Barclay, the billionaire brothers who own the central London hotel.

But the Barclay brothers had never heard of Lee and were unaware he was claiming to be able to sell the hotel. The sale never happened and the money was never returned.