News In Brief

House Republicans unexpectedly joined Democrats in adopting legislation that would block Mexican trucks from hauling freight on any US highway unless they first meet strict safety standards. The 285-to-143 vote was a setback for the administration's plan to provide access under terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and aides said President Bush will seek to reverse it. Bush wants to open US roads after receipt of written applications and pending a review of safety records. The Senate has yet to take up the issue. Currently, Mexican trucks may operate only in narrow corridors of border states.

Senators from Georgia, Kansas, and Idaho told Defense Secretary Rumsfeld they'll fight his proposal to cut the Air Force's B-1 bomber fleet by one-third. Decommissioning the planes, built to carry nuclear weapons but now assigned only to support roles, would cost hundreds of jobs at Air National Guard bases in those states, an aide to Sen. Zell Miller (D) of Georgia said. Rumsfeld is seeking ways to free funds that can be invested in new weapons.

Even without the backing of New Jersey's Republican Party establishment, the mayor of its second-largest city easily won the GOP gubernatorial primary. Bret Schundler of Jersey City defeated ex-US Rep. Bob Franks by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin and will face Democrat James McGreevey in the November election. McGreevey, who also won his party's primary easily Tuesday, sought the governorship in 1997 but lost to Christine Todd Whitman (R), who directs the Environmental Protection Agency.

A retired Army colonel was convicted of spying for the former Soviet Union by a federal jury in Tampa, Fla., and likely will be sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison, reports said. George Trofimoff was chief of an Army interrogation center in Nuremberg, Germany, from 1968 to 1994. He is the highest-ranking person in the US armed forces yet convicted of espionage for a foreign power.

A nylon fishing line caught in the teeth of an endangered right whale off Cape Cod, Mass., may be freeing itself naturally, scientists said. They offered the assessment after returning from an unsuccessful attempt to sedate the animal so the line could be pulled loose manually before it causes death. The injured whale was first spotted June 8; its condition has attracted international news coverage.

Publishers Clearing House agreed to pay $34 million to settle complaints in 26 states about deceptive marketing associated with its sweepstakes promotions. A lawsuit alleged that the Port Washington, N.Y., company misled consumers into thinking they'd won - or would win - prizes by buying magazines. Last August, PCH and the 24 other states reached a similar $18 million agreement.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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