News In Brief

For the second year in a row, tennis star Venus Williams won the Wimbledon women's singles championship, defeating Belgium's Justine Henin 6-1, 3-6, 6-0. The second-seeded Williams became the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1996 to successfully defend her Wimbledon title. Rain delayed the match for 15 minutes during the second set. Slippery courts at the end of the match also prevented Williams from repeating last year's famous victory leap. In the men's semi-final, Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia beat Britain's Tim Henman. He faces Patrick Rafter of Australia in the finals today.

US Rep. Gary Condit (D) of California reportedly told federal investigators he had a romantic relationship with former federal intern Chandra Levy, who has been missing since April 30 and is the subject of a high-profile search. Condit acknowledged the relationship for the first time in an interview with FBI agents and Washington police, sources close to the investigation told news agencies. Condit, who police say is not a suspect, has been in the spotlight for his possible connection to Levy. Investigators have officially said only that Condit was fully cooperative in the interview.

On the same track where his father fatally crashed five months ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race at Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday. A teammate contributed substantially to the win, holding off rivals before finishing second. In a sign that the elder Earnhardt's death on the track may have brought some changes to the sport, 33 drivers in the race wore some sort of restraint system, compared to just seven who wore the Head and Neck Safety device at the Daytona 500, where Earnhardt Sr. died.

NAACP president Kweisi Mfume urged President Bush to focus on racial profiling, racial disparities in the death penalty, and election reform in a speech opening the organization's annual convention in New Orleans. Mfume also said delegates would release a five-year strategic plan and discuss recommending an economic boycott of Mississippi to urge the state to remove the Confederate battle symbol from its flag.

Pay-phone users in 13 states soon will have to pay 50 cents to make a local call. SBC Communications Inc. said the increase at its 414,000 pay phones will take effect by September. The company cited a drastic cut in the demand for pay phones, due to cellphone use and prepaid phone cards, which it said necessitated the change. Consumer groups are concerned about the impact on low-income communities, which they say already have been hit hard by a reduction in the number of pay phones. The increase will affect users in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, California, Nevada, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, and Arkansas. In most cases, users there now pay 25 or 35 cents to make a call.

Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn, Stephanie Cook, and Amanda Paulson

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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