News In Brief

The investigation into former President Clinton's 11th-hour actions widened amid revelations that a brother-in-law collected as much as $400,000 for helping to secure a pardon and a prison commutation for two clients. The ex-president and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) of New York said they'd been unaware of the situation with Hugh Rodham, and at their request, he refunded the payments Wednesday. But Rep. Dan Burton (R) of Indiana said his Government Reform Committee would examine the transactions.

Reversing three consecutive monthly declines, a key gauge of economic activity rose 0.8 percent in January. An economist for the New York-based Conference Board said the jump in the index of leading economic indicators was evidence the economy was steering clear of recession. But other analysts viewed the reading as a temporary bounce in an economy that remains unsettled.

Most of the bombs used by US warplanes a week ago against Iraqi radar stations veered left and missed their targets by dozens of yards, The Washington Post reported, quoting Navy officials. They said eight targets were damaged, but eight others were not, and damage to a remaining nine had not been determined. A software glitch was thought to be the likely problem, but investigators haven't ruled out other explanations.

A number of inquiries were being launched to find out more about how FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen could have gotten away with 15 years of alleged spying for Moscow. The FBI scoured the suspect's home Wednesday and interviewed State Department officials who may have been in contact with him, sources said. Attorney General John Ashcroft, meanwhile, promised to probe how the alleged spying escaped detection by the agency. The case also will be the subject of a closed hearing next week before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Controversial rap artist Eminem picked up three Grammy awards, but the prize for album of the year went instead to jazz-rock duo Steely Dan for its first release in 20 years, "Two Against Nature." The artists, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen also won best pop album and best pop performance Grammys for "Cousin Dupree." Also taking home three trophies apiece from the Los Angeles ceremony were Irish rockers U2 and crossover country singer Faith Hill.

Not once but twice have asteroids virtually wiped out life on Earth, scientists reported in today's issue of the journal Science. They said an object, about the same size as the one believed to have overwhelmed dinosaurs 65 million years ago, did even worse damage 250 million years ago. The earlier event is thought to have eliminated all 15,000 species of trilobites. The researchers cited evidence - gases from outer space - in ancient layers of sediment.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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