News In Brief

A federal jury in New York convicted all four alleged followers of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden of conspiracy in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa that killed 224 people. Prosecutors said the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania were ordered by bin Laden, the reputed leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist group. Among the 224 people killed were 12 Americans. They could be sentenced to death in the trial's penalty phase.

Disabled professional golfer Casey Martin has a legal right to ride in a mechanized cart at PGA Tour events, the Supreme Court ruled. In a 7-to-2 decision with implications for other pro sports, the justices said federal disability-bias law requires the tour to waive its requirement that players walk each course during tournaments. The rule is not fundamental to the game of golf, justices said. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act bans discrimination against the disabled in public accommodations, including golf courses. The decision upholds a lower-court ruling.

The justices rejected a challenge to the use of race as a factor in college admission decisions to achieve a diverse student body, a key element of the debate over affirmative action. The high court declined to consider whether diversity represented a compelling government interest sufficient to justify race-based preferences. A group of students had argued the University of Washington Law School acted unconstitutionally when it considered applicants' race. Minorities say affirmative action makes up for past discrimination. In a 1978 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down racial quotas in admissions, but allowed schools to consider race in deciding which students to admit.

A divided high court also declined to hear a case testing whether public display of the Ten Commandments violates the principle of separation of church and state. The justices turned aside an appeal by city officials in Elkhart, Ind., who had lost the church-state fight in lower courts. The dispute was over the display of the Commandments in front of a city building.

Secretary of State Powell assured NATO allies that American troops will not "bail out" of the Balkans, despite suggestions in Washington by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld that the US was ready to withdraw. At an opening session in Hungary, NATO foreign ministers voiced concern at violence in Macedonia and indicated support for only modest cuts in the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

Fifteen-term US Rep. Joe Moakley (D) of Massachusetts, who died in a Washington hospital, was dean of his state's House delegation and former chairman of the Rules Committee. He represented the working class neighborhood of South Boston, an area that has been called the most Irish congressional district in the US. He was a protege of the late Speaker Thomas (Tip) O'Neill.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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