News In Brief

After arriving at the International Space Station, two astronauts from the shuttle Endeavour performed a spacewalk to unfold a new 58-foot robotic arm. The Canadian-made device will act as a high-tech construction crane. It is able to "walk" end-over-end and use both ends as hands to add pieces to the station. The new arm is a heavier, more dexterous version of the smaller arm that has helped build the space station so far. Endeavour docked Saturday, bringing Alpha's crew of three their first visitors since they arrived in March.

Hot weather and a shortage of hydroelectric power this summer will cause peak wholesale electricity rates in California to at least double over last summer, an economist warned. In the first concrete forecast for the summer, the University of California's Peter Navarro predicted prices would hit $2 per kilowatt hour at peak times. Last summer, prices during peak hours averaged 86 cents per kilowatt hour. California buys one-third of its power for two struggling utilities on the spot market. Consumer rates are capped at 10 cents per kilowatt hour, leaving a growing gap the state will have to fill with a dwindling electricity allowance.

Sixty-three people in Cincinnati were indicted for rioting over the fatal shooting by police of an unarmed black man earlier this month. Charges ranged from resisting arrest to aggravated rioting and breaking and entering, Hamilton County prosecutor Michael Allen said. More than 800 arrests were made in three days of violence that followed the April 7 shooting. Prior to the indictments, a grand jury reviewed videotapes from TV stations, including one of black protesters pulling a white truck driver from his cab and beating him. More indictments are expected.

The International Monetary Fund predicted the US economic slowdown will be short-lived. But it said growth would be even slower than it was forecasting just a few weeks ago, according to an inside source. The final draft of the IMF's biannual World Economic Outlook predicts the US economy will grow at 1.5 percent this year before picking up to 2.5 percent in 2002. The IMF does not expect the US to dip into a full-fledged recession. However, it predicted overall global growth of 3.2 percent this year - jumping to robust 3.9 percent in 2002.

A federal court in Atlanta blocked publication of a novel it said borrows too liberally from "Gone With the Wind" and infringes on the copyright of the Margaret Mitchell story. District Judge Charles Pannell ruled that Alice Randall's novel "The Wind Done Gone" - which retells the classic from the viewpoint of Scarlett O'Hara's black half-sister - uses the same fictional characters and places. Randall argued that her story was a political parody. But Pannell wrote that her "recitation of so much of the earlier work" constitutes an unauthorized sequel. Publisher Houghton Mifflin will appeal.

The Bush administration said it will abide by a Clinton-era order that subjects future trade agreements to environmental review. The administration said it also would continue with environmental reviews begun by Clinton on free-trade agreements being negotiated with Singapore and Chile and the Free Trade Area of the Americas - the proposed hemisphere-wide free trade zone that Bush and other leaders were discussing over the weekend in Quebec City. Environmentalists, however, contend the Quebec agreement contains provisions they consider harmful to the environment. (Stories, pages 2,6; editorial, page 8.)

A major tornado ripped through central Kansas Saturday night, damaging at least 300 homes and causing one death. At least 26 other people were injured, authorities said. Thousands of Hoisington residents were without power and most telephone service.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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