News In Brief
In its first day of debate on guns and youth crime, the House voted 249 to 181 to allow prosecutors to try young people as adults, starting at age 13 - and approved mandatory minimum sentences for an array of gun and drug crimes. But the House rejected, 282 to 146, Judiciary chairman Henry Hyde's proposal to strictly limit sale or rental of graphically violent films, video games, pictures, books, sculptures, and other materials to persons under age 17.
A conservative senator said he would not block Lawrence Summers's confirmation as treasury secretary. Sen. James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma had threatened to block confirmation of Summers and all other nominees to protest the appointment during a recent congressional recess of James Hormel, a homosexual, as ambassador to Luxembourg. Inhofe said he withdrew the threat after the White House agreed to notify the Senate before the beginning of a recess of any planned appointments.
The Senate passed a bill extending federal health insurance to many disabled people who get jobs. Those making $75,000 or more would pay the full insurance premium, but those making less than about $20,000 would keep their coverage for low-income people. Polls show most of the disabled want jobs, but fewer than 0.5 percent of those receiving benefits ever return to work because they fear losing federal health benefits, advocates say.
Two more defendants were indicted in the August 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In its sixth revision, the US attorney in Manhattan added Ayman al-Zawahiri and Khaled al-Fawwaz to the indictment. Neither is in US custody. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal said US spy agencies had intercepted communications indicating that Osama bin Laden, the leading suspect in the bombings, may be in the final stages of planning new attacks on US installations.
A fugitive member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) was arrested in St. Paul, Minn., where she'd assumed the name Sara Jane Olson and made a new life as an actress. Kathleen Ann Soliah had been wanted in Los Angeles since 1976, when she was indicted on murder conspiracy and explosives charges for allegedly placing pipe bombs - which did not explode - under two police cars. The FBI said she also committed bombings and bank robberies with the SLA, the radical group that kidnapped Patricia Hearst 25 years ago.
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson named retired four-star Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger to head security operations for his troubled department. The former commander of all US strategic nuclear forces is to take over the recently centralized security office July 6.
Federal employees have the right to a union representative's help when questioned by an agency inspector general, the Supreme Court ruled. The 5-to-4 decision said an inspector general represents management and therefore the right to representation applies. The justices upheld an appeals-court ruling in a case involving the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.