News In Brief

The US spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet is back on American soil, three months after the collision created tensions between Beijing and Washington. A Russian cargo plane ferried the disassembled US Navy plane to Hawaii. It was to continue on to a Georgia Air Force base near a repair facility of the spy plane's manufacturer, which "fully intend[s] to either reuse these pieces in other air frames or rebuild this aircraft," said Navy Cmdr. John Fleming. China had refused a US proposal to repair the plane and fly it home, but allowed it to be disassembled in such a way that it could be put back together.

Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen has reportedly finalized a plea bargain with the US government. Hanssen will plead guilty to multiple counts of spying for the Russians and will spend the rest of his life in prison in exchange for a promise that he will not be executed, say those familiar with the case. With the bargain, the government will get even more details of Hanssen's spying - though prosecutors could still seek to undo the agreement if they feel he doesn't tell everything - and a jury trial will be averted. Fourteen of the 21 charges against Hanssen could have been punishable by death.

A judge ordered York, Pa., Mayor Charlie Robertson to stand trial, along with five other men, for the murder of Lillie Belle Allen, a black woman shot by a white mob during 1969 race riots. Robertson, a popular two-term democrat, has denied any involvement in the killing and refused to step down. Formal arraignment will take place July 23; prosecutors said they planned to seek life sentences against all six men.

Actors' unions have accepted a tentative contract deal, averting yearlong fears of a walkout. The three-year deal, recommended by negotiators for the two unions, aims to improve wages for lesser-known performers and must now be approved by a majority of the unions' 135,000 members. Screen Actors Guild president William Daniels characterized the proposal as "equitable for both sides," but the unions did not release specifics of the agreement.

Doctors implanted the world's first self-contained artificial heart in the chest of a patient in Louisville, Ky., sparking both criticism and excitement in the medical community. The heart, called AbioCor, is powered by a small battery pack worn outside the body and also has a rechargeable internal battery. The procedure is the first major advance in the development of an artificial replacement heart in nearly two decades.

President Bush spent his Independence Day in Philadelphia, where he planned to highlight his proposal for government-funded faith-based initiatives during a visit to an "urban block party" attended by participants in such programs. He was also scheduled to deliver a Fourth of July Speech at Independence Hall before returning home to Washington to watch the fireworks from the White House lawn.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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