News In Brief
Elian Gonzalez was spending his first full day with his Cuban father after federal agents seized him at gunpoint in a predawn raid on the home of his Miami relatives Saturday. He was flown to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, where authorities released pictures showing him smiling broadly with his father, stepmother, and baby brother. Attorney General Janet Reno said she had tried to find a peaceful way to reunite Elian and his father but the Miami relatives thwarted her at every turn. Elian's father said he will remain in the US at least until an appeal in his custody battle is settled. (Story, page 1; related story, page 3; editorial, page 10.)
Justice Department officials vigorously defended the armed break-in as necessary, but angry congressional Republicans were pledging investigations into why the raid was conducted without an apparent court order. Elian's Miami relatives - denied admission to the air base Saturday - accused the Justice Department of lying about claims that their home held firearms. They also said photographs showing Elian with his father appeared to show his hair was longer than when he was taken from the house.
Streets in the Little Havana section of Miami were all but deserted yesterday as police maintained roadblocks after sporadic incidents of violence and the setting of fires by angry Cuban-Americans. Almost 300 arrests were reported. City and county officials pleaded for calm following the break-in.
Unionized janitors could be back at work tonight in Los Angeles if a tentative new contract is ratified, an official of the Service Employees International Union said. The union, which represents workers who clean 85 percent of the city's office buildings, refused to discuss details of the three-year deal made with cleaning companies. The Los Angeles Times reported that in final negotiations, strikers were seeking a 30-cent-an-hour increase for the first year, and 60 cents an hour for each of the next two.
Six Americans and one Russian are scheduled to lift off aboard shuttle Atlantis today on a mission to repair the international space station. They'll bring fresh batteries, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and other parts to replace those that have expired on the 1-1/2-year-old station. Once docked, Atlantis also will raise the station's orbit by up to 19 miles because it has been losing altitude each week due to increased solar activity.
A simulation of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege showed that flashes caught on videotape were most likely sunlight reflecting off debris, not gunfire from federal agents as claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported. Vector Data Systems, which conducted a simulation in March, submitted its report to the court presiding over the Branch Davidian lawsuit. That finding would support the government's claim that similar flashes seen on an infrared tape of the siege were the result of sunlight reflecting off the crumbling complex, not gunfire.
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