News In Brief

By , Stephanie Cook, and Samar Farah

An Algerian accused of a global plot to bomb buildings during millennium celebrations more than a year ago was convicted in federal court in Los Angeles. Ahmed Ressam faces up to 130 years in prison for nine charges, including an act of terrorism transcending a national boundary. Customs inspectors at Port Angeles, Wash., arrested Ressam - allegedly linked to Saudi dissident and presumed terrorism-financier Osama bin Laden - Dec. 14, 1999, after he brought a car loaded with explosives into the US.

A helicopter carrying a joint US-Vietnamese team searching for the remains of Americans missing in action from the Vietnam War, crashed into a mountain 280 miles south of Hanoi. Officials recovered the remains of 16 people who were killed, seven of them from a Hawaii-based operation that also has searched for remains in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. The other eight passengers and the pilot were Vietnamese.

Classes were to resume in one school for 20 graduating seniors after strikes by teachers and university professors shut down public education in Hawaii for two days, the state Department of Education announced. Strikers are demanding pay raises that meet Hawaii's high cost of living. Walkouts began last Thursday as negotiations with the state broke down, and no talks were held over the weekend.

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The federal government is cutting off irrigation water to hundreds of farmers along the Oregon-California state line in an effort to help fish survive drought. The move means the Upper Klamath Lake will be devoted solely to endangered sucker fish and threatened salmon. The decision, issued by the Bureau of Reclamation, marks the first time salmon fishermen and Klamath Tribes have won out over farmers on water allocations since the project opened its floodgates in 1907.

A new design for the state flag has Mississippians deeply divided along racial lines, according to a recent poll commissioned by The Associated Press and other news agencies. Just over half of blacks surveyed said they prefer the new design, which replaces the Confederate battle emblem with 20 white stars representing Mississippi as the 20th state. Four of every 5 white respondents said they favor the current flag. Voters will choose between the two in an April 17 referendum.

Cosmetic repairs were performed on the Liberty Bell after a man damaged it last Friday. Mitchell Guilliatt, a self-described wanderer from Nebraska, allegedly struck it with a hammer. The 249-year-old symbol of American freedom is housed in a pavilion in Philadelphia surrounded by velvet ropes. Police immediately apprehended Guilliatt. The bell is awaiting permanent repairs.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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