News In Brief

Vice President Cheney, Cabinet members, and selected lawmakers kicked off a nationwide tour of town-hall meetings to drum up voter support for Bush's energy plan. Announced in May, it seeks to boost domestic production of oil, gas, and nuclear power, as well as research renewable power sources. Cheney was to moderate meetings in Pennsylvania. Interior Secretary Gale Norton was heading to Sioux Falls, S.D., and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman was going to Old Lyme, Conn. California, which faces an electricity crisis, is notably absent from the list of tour stops.

The Bush administration is considering a plan to grant legal residency to millions of undocumented Mexican immigrants living in the US, White House sources said. A task force of Justice and State Department officials was to send the president a report with several recommendations on border issues, including the amnesty plan, which Mexican leader Vicente Fox has been pressing for. It would be subject to approval by Congress. About 3 million Mexican-born people live illegally in the US.

The average price of gasoline fell almost 13 cents in the past month to $1.51 per gallon, including all grades and taxes, according to the Trilby Lundberg survey of 8,000 stations nationwide. As a result, consumers are paying 16 cents a gallon less than a year ago and 25 cents less than the May 18 peak of $1.76. The drop is due mostly to an increase in production.

Business inventories of unsold goods were flat in May as sales jumped 1.1 percent - the biggest increase since March 2000, the Commerce Department reported. The news provided fresh evidence that businesses, coping with the economic slowdown, are progressing in eliminating excess supplies.

Abortion opponents kicked off a week of planned protests at churches and women's clinics in Wichita, Kan., marching during services Sunday at five churches that have members who support abortion rights. In one protest, activists descended on the Reformation Lutheran Church, attended by a late-term abortion provider - only to be confronted by churchgoers angered by the disruption.

Saturn edged into first place as the planet with the most known moons, surpassing Jupiter. Scientists reported in the journal Nature they discovered 12 more moons orbiting the ringed planet, bringing its total to 30. Jupiter has 28, followed by Uranus's 21. In contrast to much larger Saturnian moons that move in circular orbits, the newly recognized "irregular" satellites have eccentrically shaped orbits.

Rescue workers searched for four people believed to have drowned on a fishing trip after their boat collided with tow barges on the Ohio River, near Bethlehem, Ind. Another person was found dead.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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