News In Brief

Timothy McVeigh was to be executed by lethal injection today in Terre Haute, Ind. - making him the first person to be put to death by the federal government since 1963. His lawyers had requested more time to review at least 4,500 pages of belatedly released FBI documents that caused McVeigh's original execution date to be delayed. But their request was turned down late last week by two appeals courts. McVeigh then abandoned efforts to win another stay. (Stories, page 1.)

President Bush is to leave today for his first major overseas trip since taking office, a tour on which he'll discuss with European leaders such issues as a proposed US anti-missile shield, global warming, and fair trade. On the six-day, five-nation tour, Bush will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time, attend summits for NATO in Belgium and the European Union in Sweden, and make stops in Spain and Poland. Part of his aim will be to address European concerns that building a missile shield will spark a new arms race.

California Gov. Gray Davis (D)signed an executive order that creates a voluntary program to pay businesses not to use electricity when reserves are low. Davis said the program, which will cost the state up to $100 million, will "help mitigate and even avoid blackouts" since almost 70 percent of California's energy use is commercial.

Five Cuban nationals were convicted in Florida of conspiring to spy on the US for Fidel Castro's communist regime. The leader of the group, Gerardo Hernandez, faces up to life in prison for his role in a Cuban Air Force attack that killed four US Brothers to the Rescue fliers in 1996. Flights by Brothers founder Jose Basulto included a low-level pass over Havana and a mission to drop 500,000 political leaflets. Three of the group were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for their efforts to penetrate US military bases, although they obtained no defense secrets.

The president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), said he plans to run for reelection next year, setting up what could be the most closely watched gubernatorial contest of the season - especially if former US Attorney General Janet Reno enters the race. Bush was widely expected to seek a second term.

Thousands of Houston residents fled flooded homes and freeways as at least 20 inches of rain from tropical storm Allison swamped southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana. President Bush declared a 28-county disaster area as Coast Guard helicopters plucked storm victims from the roofs of homes. Eleven deaths were blamed on the storm, and at least 3,000 homes and businesses have been damaged. Forecasts call for up to 6 more inches of rain. Above, Bryan Christiansen paddles along Memorial Drive near downtown Houston.

The Colorado Avalanche won hockey's prestigious Stanley Cup on their home ice in Denver in the decisive Game 7 of the finals against the defending champion New Jersey Devils. Avalanche's Ray Bourque had played a record 1,825 games before winning the cup.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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