News In Brief

About 55 percent of Americans view the 24-member crew of the US surveillance plane detained in China as hostages, a poll by USA Today, CNN, and Gallup found. The Bush administration has carefully avoided using that term so far in diplomatic efforts to end the standoff, but the crew has been detained on Hainan Island since making an emergency landing April 1. Sixty-eight percent of the 1,025 adults polled said the US plane was not at fault in the incident, which apparently resulted in the death of a Chinese pilot, and 54 percent said Bush should not bow to China's demand for an apology. (Related stories, pages 1, 4)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 200 points back above the 10,000-point level for the first time since mid-March, as the Monitor went to press. Helping Wall Street were bargain stock prices and an upgrade of European telecommunications firms by Credit Suisse First Boston, analysts said.

Jordan's King Abdullah II was to meet with President Bush at the White House to plead with him to take a more active role in Middle East peace efforts. The king said such involvement is "essential" because the US has historically played a "tremendously positive" role in the process. But he stressed that Israelis and Palestinians should show they're trying to end more than six months of violence.

Wholesale electricity prices in the Northwest could more than triple this fall unless the aluminum industry shuts down its smelters for two years, a federal energy official said. The smelters employ 5,000 to 6,000 workers. Drought has strained electricity production by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), a Portland, Ore.-based operator of 29 hydroelectric dams along the Columbia and Snake Rivers and supplier of half the region's wholesale electricity. Running smelters would force the authority to buy more electricity on the spot market, where prices have soared. Shutting down smelters could save half of the additional need, the official said.

Cincinnati police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of people protesting the fatal shooting of an unarmed man wanted for misdemeanors and traffic violations. At one point, an estimated 800 demonstrators gathered outside the police head- quarters, throwing rocks and bottles. Timothy Thomas was shot by an officer who'd chased him for blocks. His offenses included driving without a license and failing to wear a seat belt.

Republican Jane Swift became Massachusetts' first female chief executive after Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) resigned to become ambassador to Canada. Swift is pregnant with twins and is due in June to become the nation's first governor to give birth while in office. Controversy surrounded her in office when she used her staff to baby-sit a 2-year-old daughter for free.

Seventy percent of Americans support Bush's proposal to extend federal funds to religious groups that provide social services, according to results of a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life. But two-thirds of respondents said they're concerned government might become too involved in what such organizations do. About 60 percent also expressed concern that groups might force those they help to take part in religious practices. (Story, page 2)

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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