News In Brief

Energy officials in California were braced for another difficult day after the state experienced the first set of rolling blackouts since its electricity crisis started. Gov. Gray Davis (D) declared a state of emergency and ordered the state to start buying power temporarily from wholesalers and provide it to utilities. At least one report said the state was likely to be searching the open market for as much as 55 percent of its power during peak use periods yesterday. Wednesday's outages affected as many as a half-million customers at a time and shut off everything from lights and heaters to elevators and bank machines.

Security for the presidential inauguration was ratcheted up to perhaps the highest level yet. For the first time, spectators at tomorrow's parade in Washington will have to pass through checkpoints and submit to searches of their bags. In addition, the 70,000 invited guests who will watch from the Capitol's lawn will be screened by metal detectors. Hundreds of extra police are to be on hand, amounting to more than 7,000 officers representing 16 law- enforcement agencies. Above, Sean Greene of the Fort Worth (Texas) Zoo shows off a different sort of attendee for the inauguration: a Texas roadrunner, which will join other animals in giving the festivities the flavor of George W. Bush's home state. (Related story, page 1; related opinion, page 11.)

Austria reached an accord in Washington with Jewish victims of the country's former Nazi regime, compensating them for property and assets confiscated during the 1930s and 1940s. The agreement calls for Austria to pay about $500 million - including $7,000 immediately to each survivor. With Americans in the lead, 20 nations have set up Holocaust commissions to restudy Nazi abuses and re- calculate what is owed victims. An agreement also is expected in which France is to pledge compensation for bank accounts confiscated during the Nazi-era Vichy regime.

In contrast to the intense Senate hearing for Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft, Colin Powell, Bush's nominee for secretary of state, appeared to sail toward easy confirmation. Senate questioners lavished kudos, despite Powell's vocal support for a national missile defense and opposition to ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - both of which are at odds with Democratic positions.

One of the country's largest movie-house chains agreed to provide better seating for the disabled in stadium-style theaters under a lawsuit settlement. The Justice Department and several advocacy groups had sued United Artists Theater Circuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act. As a result of the agreement, which was filed in US District Court in San Francisco, the chain must accommodate wheelchairs where viewing angles are as good as the best 50 percent of the seats in the house.

Leonard Woodcock, who died in Ann Arbor, Mich., led the United Auto Workers through a crucial period in the 1970s and later served as ambassador to China. At the start of his seven-year tenure as UAW president, he steered workers through a 67-day strike against General Motors. As ambassador, Woodstock was credited with helping to broker the first trade agreement with Beijing, in 1979.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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