News In Brief

A runoff for mayor of Los Angeles between former State Assembly Speaker Antonio Villa-raigosa and city attorney James Hahn was scheduled for June, following a tight race Tuesday in which none of the 15 candidates attained more than 50 percent of the vote. Villaraigosa took 30 percent of the vote to 25 percent for Hahn. If Villa-raigosa wins, he'll become the city's first Hispanic mayor since 1872. The results signal a shift in local politics, with two Democrats vying to succeed incumbent Republican Richard Riordan.

A federal judge in San Francisco said she may put an end to online song-swapping service Napster Inc. - used by 70 million people - because of its failure to do a better job of blocking copyrighted works. The Recording Industry Association of America says that of 5,000 titles that its member labels asked to be removed last month, 84 percent are still being downloaded for free. Napster has argued that its users have found loopholes. Judge Marilyn Hall Patel appointed an expert to review the industry's claims and to study whether technology is available to help Napster abide by a court order to remove the songs.

Protesters against the police shooting of an unarmed black man in Cincinnati looted stores, torched buildings, and threw bricks at motorists for a second evening, forcing some residents to lock themselves indoors. Timothy Thomas, wanted on 14 driving-related misdemeanors, was killed while fleeing from a white police officer Saturday. He was the fourth black man killed by Cincinnati police since November. Officers guarded City Hall and police headquarters and fired rubber bullets at 50 demonstrators. They arrested at least 20 people. The FBI is investigating the shooting.

President Bush sided with his Democratic predecessor and environmentalists on two air-pollution issues, agreeing to regulate mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants and requiring cleaner diesel fuel and engines. A utility trade association tried in federal appeals court to challenge a Clinton administration rule in which the Environmental Protection Agency could order reductions of 40 tons of mercury spewed annually from power-plants. Bush has asked the court to uphold the rule. The EPA also said it would enforce a Clinton rule that aims to reduce pollution from diesel trucks and buses.

Western states appealed for more help from Washington to corral the region's deepening power crisis and warned of electricity rate increases in the coming months that stem from wholesale price run-ups. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members met with officials from 11 states in Boise, Idaho, to discuss whether the FERC should impose price controls on the wholesale market. In many states, retail electricity sales are regulated, but wholesale markets are not. Washington and Oregon joined California in the plea for regulation.

Rain fell across much of Minnesota as 1,000 volunteers filled sandbags and built dikes along the Minnesota River - expected to reach high flood levels before cresting Sunday. St. Paul closed its municipal airport because of the rapidly rising Mississippi River. And more rainfall was predicted in the Red River basin south of Grand Forks, N.D. The Red River, swollen by melting snow and rainfall, was expected to crest up to 50 feet by April 19. Above, Kim Kelley (l.) and her daughter walk past flooding in their yard near Fargo, N.D., from the Red River.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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