News In Brief

President Bush nominated Justice Department veteran Robert Mueller to head the FBI. A US attorney in San Francisco who had been given top jobs by both President Clinton and the previous President Bush, Mueller was seen as the front-runner to replace retired FBI Director Louis Freeh. The White House wants to rein in the independent-minded FBI, which has been sharply criticized for a string of recent mishaps, aides say, and Bush sought a director who would defer to the Justice Department. If confirmed by the Senate, Mueller will serve a 10-year term.

Biracial couples report widespread tolerance of their relationships, 34 years after the Supreme Court ended laws against interracial marriage, according to a survey by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University. Most couples polled also say their children are advantaged by having parents of different races. Black-white couples were more likely than Hispanic-white or Asian-white couples to believe mixing races makes a marriage harder, and blacks were the group most likely to accept a family member marrying outside their race. Whites were the least tolerant of biracial marriages.

President Bush addressed Guatemala's long struggle with human rights abuses when he met with Guatemalan President Afonso Portillo yesterday. The two also discussed labor reforms, immigration, and improving trade, and Bush expressed support for a "holistic fiscal reform" under way in his country, Portillo told reporters. The Guatemalan leader has acknowledged that human rights problems persist in his country, and he said he told Bush he is not in a position to intercede in human rights cases.

For the first time, telephone companies must explain rates to all consumers, and long-distance carriers must warn people of rate increases. Under changes in federal law taking effect Aug. 1, phone companies will have to establish a direct contract with their users. AT&T, WorldCom, and other major carriers have already started mailing out such agreements. Currently, prices can go up without being reflected on a bill, and customers may have no idea what rates they are paying.

Complaints that more than a million Jeep Grand Cherokees may have a problem that causes them to suddenly shift out of gear when in park prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open an investigation. The complaints involved 1995 through 1999 model Grand Cherokees. No deaths have been reported so far, but the incidents have led to crashes, said officials.

Takeru Kobayashi of Japan (r.) scarfed down 50 hot dogs and buns in just 12 minutes to win Nathan's annual hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, N.Y., doubling last year's record set by Kazutoyo Arai (l.). Kobayashi broke the dogs in half before eating them - a technique dubbed the "Solomon method."

richard drew/ap

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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