USA

With an eye on Enron's demise, President Bush ordered a review of pension and company-disclosure rules that could jeopardize the life savings of workers. The move followed word that the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of Enron, a major contributor to Bush's 2000 election campaign. The Houston-based energy trader is responsible for history's biggest corporate bankruptcy. The collapse of its stock wiped out the retirement accounts of many employees. The Labor Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, and several congressional committees have launched civil inquiries into Enron's dealings.

The manslaughter trial of Massachusetts "rink rage" dad Thomas Junta went to the jury as the Monitor went to press. Junta (above) is accused of beating Michael Costin to death in a fight after their sons clashed at a July 2000 ice hockey practice in suburban Boston. Junta testified that he acted in self-defense after Costin, whom he outweighed by 110 pounds, assaulted him. The case has drawn national attention to the issue of parental violence at youth sports events.

As many as 100 long-range nuclear missiles could be aimed at the US from China by 2015, according to an annual threat assessment released by intelligence agencies. It said China has "about 20" missiles capable of reaching the US. The combined analysis by several agencies, among them the CIA, also noted that North Korea, Iran, and Iraq continue to work on building long-range weapons, some of them capable of reaching US territory.

Claims for unemployment benefits dropped during the first week of the new year, the Labor Department reported. New claims fell by 58,000 to 395,000, their lowest level in three weeks. Analysts consider that a sign the labor market is stabilizing after huge layoffs in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. (Related story, page 1.)

A law denying bail hearings to jailed immigrants fighting deportation is unconstitutional, a federal court ruled. The decision, which is binding on nine Western states under the juristiction of the San Francisco-based Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, does not address immigrants detained since the Sept. 11 attacks. It focuses instead on those who were convicted of crimes, served their sentences, and are detained while the government tries to deport them. Last month, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia issued a similar ruling.

Four months after her husband died aboard a hijacked United Airlines jet Sept. 11, Cranbury, N.J., resident Lisa Beamer gave birth to a girl. The baby was named Morgan in memory of her father, Todd Morgan Beamer. Minutes before United's Flight 93 went down in rural western Pennsylvania, Beamer told a telephone operator that he and other passengers would try to overpower their captors.

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