USA

California may have a costly glut of electricity through 2004 because of long-term power contracts state officials signed to end the current crunch, the Los Angeles Times reported. Predicting rising demand, the state signed long-term deals this year with private suppliers to buy power at fixed prices. If current rates continue, the state could lose $500 million over the 12 months by selling surplus electricity at a loss.

Future scientific breakthroughs would not lead President Bush to alter his decision to limit federal funding for stem-cell research, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said. His comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" followed Bush's announcement late last week that he'll allow federal funding for research on embryonic stem-cell lines, but only those that have already been created. The National Institutes of Health identified more than 60 stem cell lines that meet Bush's standards. They can replicate indefinitely. (Editorial, page 10.)

Hundreds of protesters picketed Adam's Mark hotels across the US as part of a boycott initiated by the NAACP to focus attention on discrimination accusations. The charges stem from a 1999 lawsuit in which black guests in Daytona Beach, Fla., said they were overcharged and given inferior rooms. The Justice Department agreed to settle the suit for $8 million, but a federal judge rejected the terms; a trial is set for November. Adam's Mark denies it has a separate policy for blacks. Protesters marched near hotels in Daytona Beach, Columbia, S.C., and other cities. Above, NAACP members picket the hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

In the largest airstrike against Iraq since February, 20 US and British warplanes patrolling the Iraqi "no-fly" zone attacked three antiaircraft sites the Pentagon said were used increasingly to try to shoot down allied pilots. The attack killed one person and wounded 11 others.

The shuttle Discovery was to deliver a fresh crew of astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station after blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., last week. The third crew to inhabit the station includes new commander Frank Culbertson and Russian cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin. They'll remain until December. Discovery will carry home three station residents who have been in orbit for five months.

The population in state prisons declined for the first time in 30 years, by more than 6,200 inmates in 2000, the Justice Department reported. The total in both state and federal prisons went up by 18,191 during the year to 1.3 million, the smallest annual increase in 20 years. The prison population skyrocketed in the 1990s because of tougher laws and a crackdown on narcotics offenders. The study said state prisons are still at capacity or more; federal prisons operate at 31 percent above capacity.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America elected as its leader Bishop Mark Hanson, who has coped with divisions over homosexuality and relations with the Episcopal Church as bishop of St. Paul, Minn. The Chicago-based church, with 5.1 million members, ranks fifth among US Protestant groups. Hanson defeated more conservative Bishop Donald McCoid of Pittsburgh for the six-year term. Hanson's regional governing unit petitioned the assembly to allow ordination of homosexuals. Action on that and other related issues is pending.

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