News In Brief

Defense Secretary William Cohen will order a broader review of security lapses in connection with the USS Cole bombing, a senior defense official said. Both Cohen and the Navy are expected to announce the results of separate probes in the coming days, but Cohen now wants to see if others in the chain of command - above the Cole's commander and possibly even outside the Navy - should be held accountable. The Cole was attacked, apparently by suicide bombers, in Yemen last October, killing 17 sailors.

George W. Bush was declared the official winner of the bitterly contested presidential election after Electoral College votes were counted and certified by Congress Saturday. In his role as Senate president, Al Gore (above l., with House Speaker Dennis Hastert) announced the result, giving Bush 271 votes to his own 266, with one abstention. The session was punctuated by objections by some Democratic lawmakers, with a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus walking out. (Story, page 2.)

With seven convicts from a Texas prison still on the run after their Dec. 13 escape, officials doubled the reward for their arrest to $200,000. Police have launched the most intensive manhunt since the 1930s in Texas and surrounding states. The fugitives are sought on capital murder charges following the robbery of a sports store in suburban Dallas on Christmas Eve.

A flurry of action was surrounding the power crisis in California. Rate hikes of 7 percent to 15 percent were approved for two utilities late last week, but they complained the increases weren't enough. On Friday, an appellate court in Washington rejected a bid by Southern California Edison to order wholesale electricity prices capped. That prompted the company to announce 1,450 layoffs on top of 400 already made. Also Friday, however, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson extended an order requiring suppliers to sell California electricity as a means of avoiding blackouts. Today, Gov. Gray Davis (D) is expected to discuss ways to ease the crisis in his State of the State speech. Tomorrow, President Clinton is to hold a White House meeting on the issue.

An appeals court reinstated charges against two New Jersey state troopers accused of the 1998 shootings of three unarmed minority men in a car on the state's turnpike. The ruling overturned a decision that had thrown out charges because of errors by prosecutors. Lawyers for the troopers are considering appeals to the state Supreme Court.

Les Brown, who died Thursday in Los Angeles, led for more than a half century his Band of Renown, a mainstay of Bob Hope's comedy show. The band scored a No. 1 hit with "Sentimental Journey," which became a theme for soldiers returning home from World War II.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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