News In Brief
Day 2 of the Republican National Convention, carefully scripted for a broad audience, was to include speeches by a trio of wartime heroes: Bob Dole, the GOP's 1996 presidential candidate; Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who challenged George W. Bush in the primaries; and retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the war against Iraq. Monday, as part of efforts to appeal to minorities, retired Gen. Colin Powell praised Bush's "passion for inclusion" - and bluntly challenged other Republicans to follow his lead. Among other events, Laura Bush delivered a personal testimonial about why her husband should be president, and delegates approved the party's platform.
A Justice Department report found that Vice President Gore's 1996 initiative to reduce the backlog of citizenship applications created confusion that likely allowed tens of thousands of applicants to receive approval without criminal background checks. But the report said there is no evidence that the push to naturalize 1.2 million new citizens, which was part of Gore's effort to "reinvent" government, was motivated by the 1996 presidential race. Critics have argued that a majority of those naturalized were likely to vote Democratic in the election.
For the first time since 1997, all four branches of the military were likely to meet their enlistment goals this year, officials said. They credited the increase to new Web sites, strategic television advertising, and stronger incentives such as increased pay, shorter service time, and computers in barracks.
With the West battling almost 50 blazes covering more than half a million acres, the Pentagon ordered 1,000 soldiers to help. At least 10,700 firefighters already are on the scene in what is being called the worst fire season since 1988. One of the biggest blazes, in California's Sequoia National Forest, destroyed seven homes last weekend. But in Colorado, meanwhile, officials made preparations to have Mesa Verde National Park reopened to visitors by Friday. A recent fire charred more than a third of the land there, although a spokesman said major attractions were unaffected.
Author Stephen King's experiment in self-publishing an installment of his new novella "The Plant" online has exceeded expectations, the Los Angeles Times reported. It said about 76 percent of readers - about 93,000 people - have abided by an honor system and voluntarily paid a $1 fee since the work was posted last week. The high purchase rate means King will publish at least the second installment of "The Plant" online soon, his office told the Times. Analysts said the experiment's success is likely to encourage other major authors to follow suit.
Federal investigators were on the scene at a coal mine in Utah where a fire killed two people and injured at least 12 others. Four people escaped uninjured from the Willow Creek Mine, about 90 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. Officials did not immediately know the cause of the blaze.
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