News In Brief

Many California residents were echoing the disappointment of Gov. Gray Davis (D) that President Bush's visit resulted in no relief from the state's energy crisis. As expected, Bush (below, l., with Davis) rebuffed the governor's request that federal regulators temporarily cap the price of wholesale electricity. Davis said he'd sue the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for relief as the state braces for another round of rate hikes and rolling blackouts this summer.

Convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh authorized his lawyers to draft a request to block his scheduled June 11 execution, but was expected to make a final decision later this week on whether to submit it. It would be based on 4,000 documents the FBI turned over to McVeigh's attorneys earlier this month, just days before he was first scheduled to be executed. They should have been handed over before trial. The situation has prompted speculation that the attorneys may have grounds to appeal the death sentence.

The Bush administration planned to move ahead with a plan to reduce emissions from older power plants and industrial facilities that produce smog in 156 national parks or wilderness areas. The proposed rule, among ex-President Clinton's final actions in office, is designed to improve vistas in the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and other parks affected by wind-blown pollution from power plants and factories. States would be required to order hundreds of plants to start using the best pollution-control technology available.

Emergency crews throughout Florida were battling 59 brush fires, including one that has charred 61,000 acres of timberland and swampland between Tallahassee and Gainesville. The fires are a result of Florida's ongoing drought. Meanwhile, some 1,200 firefighters scrambled to contain a 4,100-acre forest fire near Susanville, Calif., that forced the evacuation of 60 homes.

Bush is to ask Congress this week to grant a one-year extension of normal trade relations with China, aides said. His announcement sets the stage for what could be another battle in Congress over human rights and the recent tide of US-Chinese relations.

An Atlanta judge was expected to sign off on a $192.5 million settlement of a discrimination suit filed by black employees against Coca-Cola - the largest yet in such cases. The suit accused Coke of denying fair pay, promotions, and performance reviews. The deal also creates a task force to monitor Coke's employment practices and commits its directors to link executive pay to company-wide progress in diversifying racially.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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