News In Brief

Despite violent protests and reports of trespassers on the firing range, the Navy resumed bombing and shelling exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. In a case that aimed to end the bombing, a federal judge ruled the Navy has caused no "irreparable harm" and gave it the OK. A decades-long opposition to naval bombings intensified after a security guard accidentally was killed in 1999. Protesters say the exercises damage the 9,400 island residents' health and the environment. The Navy rejects that charge and says the exercises are vital national security. At least 40 protesters have been arrested.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, grew in the first quarter this year at a stronger-than-forecast 2 percent annual rate, boosted by upbeat consumer spending, the Commerce Department reported. Despite predictions that the US might enter a recession, the new GDP figures instead put the world's No. 1 economy in its 10th straight year of growth.

Leaders of the world economy, meeting in Washington, delivered an upbeat assessment for growth and predicted there would be no global recession, despite a slowdown. Finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrial nations (US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan) also looked at ways to avert future financial crises and pledged to promote policies of strong productivity. Above, Bank of Japan Gov. Masaru Hayami talks with European Central Bank Gov. Jean-Claude Trichet of France at the G-7 conference.

Thee shuttle Endeavour's seven crew members were to head back to Earth from the International Space Station after NASA engineers fixed a backup computer needed to operate its new 58-foot robot arm delivered last week. The arm will help with construction and experiments aboard the station. After days of troubleshooting, astronauts were able to complete the first robotic-to-robotic transfer in space. The station's crew - Russian cosmonaut and commander Yuri Usachev and US astronauts Susan Helms and Jim Voss - will remain in space.

The House passed a bill that would make it illegal to harm a fetus while committing a federal crime against a pregnant woman and sent it to the Senate. A similar measure foundered there last year. The House OK'd the bill 252 to 172. Supporters characterized it as a measure that protects the unborn from crimes such as assault. Opponents believe the legislation could infringe on abortion rights. The bill would impose the same federal penalties as those for harming or killing a pregnant woman, but the death penalty wouldn't be permitted. (Story, page 3)

Four New York City police officers who fatally shot unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo will not be punished, Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said. However, the officers, who fired 41 times during the incident, will not be allowed to carry guns or badges, meaning they will work in nonenforcement duty, Kerik said. Two police investigative panels concluded that the officers acted within departmental guidelines because they believed their own lives were in danger. They thought Diallo had a gun, when, in fact, he was reaching for his wallet when the police cornered him in February 1999, believing he was a drug suspect.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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