News In Brief

In the latest in a series of habeas corpus decisions, the Supreme Court ruled that state-prison inmates don't necessarily abuse the judicial process if they again seek the help of federal courts after their original appeals are dismissed. Such dismissals come so that convicts can pursue appeals in state courts. The decision potentially affects hundreds of thousands of state prisoners. The 7-to-2 decision revived a convicted Nevada man's attempt to have a federal judge take up his case.

In another 7-to-2 ruling - this one originating in Florida - the high court made it harder for fired whistle-blowers to invoke a federal antiracketeering law in suing their former employers. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act requires plaintiffs to prove that an "overt act" harmed them. The justices ruled the overt act cannot be "merely the termination of employment."

A young cousin and former kindergarten teacher of Elian Gonzalez were en route from Cuba to visit the boy - who was moved to a secluded Maryland home with his family - and help with his "rehabilitation." In addition, four other friends will be allowed visas to visit for about two weeks, but a date has not been set, the State Department said.

Nevada lawmakers and environmental groups hailed President Clinton's veto of legislation that would have allowed thousands of tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste to be shipped to the state's Yucca Mountain disposal site. But Republican senators are trying to override the veto and said if those efforts failed, federal officials would have to come up with an alternate plan for storing waste that has piled up in plants that generate 21 percent of US power.

In the largest settlement of its kind, the marketers of a weight-loss system that claimed to block fat and burn calories without the need for exercise agreed to pay $10 million to the Federal Trade Commission. The agency, which likely will pass the money along to consumers who bought the product, accused Enforma Natural Products of using false claims about scientific testing to promote its product.

A west Texas prison was under lockdown after a riot by some 300 black and Hispanic inmates left one inmate dead and 31 others injured. The riot, allegedly caused by racial tension, began Tuesday night at the Smith Unit, 60 miles south of Lubbock, and was under control by midnight, a spokesman said. Guards used a pepper-like spray to subdue inmates.

A new federal regulation that would require truck drivers to rest 10 to 12 hours between driving shifts met criticism from big-rig drivers and the American Trucking Association. Critics called the new rules excessive and said companies would need thousands more drivers to meet delivery schedules. Current laws leave open the possibility that truckers can drive a total of 16 hours of every 24. Changes would prevent 2,600 accidents annually, Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater said.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the shooting at Washington's National Zoo Monday that wounded seven children. Police asked that the suspect, who was charged with assault with intent to kill, be tried as an adult.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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