News In Brief

The Shuttle Atlantis was expected to land back on Earth tomorrow after spending eight days at the International Space Station. Atlantis's five-member crew helped to install a $164 million passageway that allows astronauts to conduct spacewalks from the station without having to rely on a shuttle.

The Florida Bar ruled that Hugh Rodham did not violate ethics rules when he lobbied his brother-in-law, ex-President Clinton, for clemency for two clients convicted of felonies. Both won pardons. The bar said it found insufficient evidence to file a complaint with the state Supreme Court. Clinton and his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (D), denied knowledge of Rodham's financial dealings, and Rodham later returned a $400,000 fee for his efforts. The US Attorney's office in New York is investigating the 177 pardons issued by Clinton.

An Alabama judge ordered the state to start paying fines unless a backlog of inmates in county jails is drastically reduced by Sept 3. A lawsuit was initiated in the matter because state prisoners have been left in county jails due to a lack of space in state lockups. Overcrowding is so severe that some inmates sleep on the floor. A circuit court in Montgomery said the state would be fined $26 per day for each state inmate in a county lockup longer than 30 days.

Baltimore firefighters removed a ruptured train car that leaked 5,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid into a city railroad tunnel, causing a massive fire that burned for days and shut down parts of the city. The CSX freight train derailed in the tunnel last week. Workers also pulled 26 cars from the tunnel over the weekend; six remained.

Hundreds of thousands of Detroit residents gathered downtown over the weekend to celebrate the city's 300th birthday, which officially falls on July 24. Gov. John Engler (R) and Mayor Dennis Archer (D) dedicated the city's new Riverfront Promenade, a centerpiece of the celebration.

The test of a prototype spacecraft that sails on the sun's rays failed because it did not separate from the rocket used to launch it. Members of the Planetary Society's $4 million project had hoped the Cosmos 1, launched from a Russian nuclear submarine Thursday, would deploy its four-story-high solar sails designed to be pushed by the pressure of the sun's photons. Solar-driven spacecraft would be slow to accelerate, but could theoretically attain speeds 10 times greater than NASA's Voyager I and II, which travel at 38,000 mph.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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