In one of the largest police-corruption busts in US history, 29 Puerto Rican officers were arrested on federal narcotics charges in San Juan. The officers allegedly accepted at least $200,000 in cash for protecting cocaine dealers and ensuring their deliveries throughout the US, an FBI agent said. The officers were charged with conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine. If convicted, they face up to life in prison.

A Texas death-row inmate who was a teenager when he committed murder in 1994 and whose victim's son is a judge on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals was to die by injection late Wednesday. Earlier in the week, three of nine US Supreme Court justices voted against a reprieve for Napolean Beazley and three recused themselves because of ties to the victim's family. The outcome meant a reprieve was denied.

Tobacco companies have not lived up to their end of a 1998 agreement with attorneys general in 46 states to stop promoting cigarette smoking to children, a study of advertising patterns in 38 national magazines found. The companies, among them Philip Morris, continued to buy ad space in youth magazines to promote their brands, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine said. Money spent on such ads reached $59.6 million in 2000, higher than in any of the four years prior to the settlement.

The Bush administration said it will delay for a year a Clinton-era rule that offers safeguards to poor Americans who get health insurance through Medicaid. It was to take effect last spring. The White House ordered a further review of the rule and plans to collect public feedback on its version, which would require states to guarantee patient protections but with more control over details.

The Environmental Protection Agency postponed a decision on whether to stop tightening pollution standards for old power plants and oil companies that are being repaired or modernized. EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman said she plans to make a recommendation to President Bush next month, when the EPA will also propose legislation for reducing emissions of three major air pollutants.

Police were investigating the overdose deaths of at least 18 people in Houston over the past weekend. Nationally, an average of two or three people die of overdoses each weekend. Police believe the deaths were caused by a potent form of heroin or a lethal combination of opiates and cocaine known as "speedball," which was detected in at least 14 of the victims.

More than 8,500 firefighters were battling dozens of wildfires in parts of Oregon, California, Washington, and Nevada. In Oregon alone, at least 75,000 acres of forest were on fire, and in Nevada, 200,000 acres have burned since last week. Above, task force leader Joe Linn (l.) discusses a fire near Ruch, Ore., with fire information officers. (Story, page 1.)

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