USA

Americans are living longer and changing jobs more often, making retirement savings all the more vital, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said in remarks prepared for a national summit on the issue. Still, most people "don't have the time or inclination to become experts in managing financial portfolios," Chao said, and need help to plan their retirement strategies. President Bush and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan also were to address the gathering, the second of three mandated by Congress. Pressure to increase regulation of 401K and other retirement plans has increased in the wake of the Enron collapse, in which thousands of workers lost their life savings.

Three New York police officers found guilty of the 1997 torture of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant, had their convictions overturned by a federal appeals court. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals found there was insufficient evidence to convict Charles Schwarz, Thomas Wiese, and Thomas Bruder of conspiracy to obstruct justice, and said Schwarz deserved a new trial for civil rights violations. The case was one of several to fuel angry protests of perceived police abuse of minorities. Another officer, Justin Volpe, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Angered that US military guards had confiscated a turban, Afghan war detainees launched an apparent hunger strike at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A Marine spokesman at the facility said more than a third of the 300 detainees refused breakfast yesterday, and a small number had refused meals Wednesday.

A bill that would lift state and federal restrictions on regional "Baby Bell" telephone companies that want to sell Internet access faced an uphill battle in the Senate, after winning House approval Wednesday. The chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee, Ernest Hollings (D) of South Carolina, called it "a total fraud." The top Republican on the committee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, also opposes the measure.

The economy grew at an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the final quarter of 2001, the Commerce Department reported. The revised gross domestic product figures are far above last month's 0.2 percent estimated increase, and analysts said itcould lead economists to declare the recession ended in late 2001 or early this year.

Investigators said they believe they've found the remains of a missing California girl. A body recovered near a two-lane road 25 miles east of San Diego had on a plastic necklace and earring similar to those worn by Danielle van Dam when she disappeared Feb. 1, the district attorney said. A neighbor has been charged with her murder.

Newcomer R&B artist Alicia Keys and veteran Irish rockers U2 were big winners at the 44th annual Grammy Awards. Keys (below) had trouble holding her five awards, among them best new artist. U2 took four, with its "Walk On" named record of the year. The country-themed soundtrack to the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" also won four Grammys, including album of the year.

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