- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 28, 2000

Judge bars secret vote for lieutenant governor

AUSTIN, Texas A judge barred the Texas Senate from electing an acting lieutenant governor in secret, ruling yesterday in favor of Texas newspapers seeking a public vote.

The decision by District Judge Lora Livingston involving the powerful state government post may be appealed.

The Republican-led Senate had planned to hold a secret ballot today to elect one of its members to replace Rick Perry, the lieutenant governor who became governor last week when George W. Bush resigned to become president.

Classic films selected for preservation

The Library of Congress named 25 classic films for preservation in the National Film Registry, from Bela Lugosi's "Dracula," an early definer of the horror movie, to the cinematic record of President William McKinley's inauguration in 1901.

"Fifty percent of the films produced before 1950 and at least 90 percent made before 1920 have disappeared forever," librarian James Billington said in announcing the list yesterday. "And, ominously, more films are lost each year."

The additions bring to 300 the films picked for the preservation registry for both historical and entertainment value.

This year's list also includes Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" and Frank Capra's seven-film World War II series, "Why We Fight."

Downey denies charges in latest drug case

INDIO, Calif. Robert Downey Jr. pleaded not guilty yesterday to new drug charges stemming from his Thanksgiving-weekend arrest at a desert resort.

Downey, 35, who was arrested only four months after being released from prison in another drug case, entered not-guilty pleas to felony possession of cocaine and felony possession of the tranquilizer diazepam. Each is punishable by three years in prison.

The actor also pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance, which carries up to one year in prison.

FedEx driver stole items he was to deliver

LOS ANGELES A FedEx contract driver took company packages and gave some to relatives as Christmas presents.

Russell Carnes, 29, stole packages worth about $14,000 in October and November and pleaded no contest to grand theft.

Family members tipped deputies after becoming suspicious when Carnes gave them boxes bearing the shipping company's logo. FedEx launched an internal investigation and recovered about $6,500 worth of goods.

Carnes will serve 180 days in county jail, pay restitution and serve five years of probation.

Clinton says he's likely to issue more pardons

President Clinton yesterday said he expects to issue another round of presidential pardons before he leaves office Jan. 20.

Asked whether he was still considering pardons for Whitewater figures, Mr. Clinton told reporters, "I expect to do another round of pardons."

"I haven't had any meetings or made any decisions about any others yet. I just expect to do some," he added.

Mr. Clinton last week pardoned 59 persons, but did not include well-known figures such as Susan McDougal, his partner in the failed Whitewater land deal in Arkansas, and Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who murdered two FBI agents.

Driver escapes injury as ice block wrecks car

WAPPAPELLO, Mo. A 500-pound chunk of ice that had built up at the top of a van was blown off, crushing the roof and windshield of a passing car.

The car driver suffered a bump on the head and other minor injuries but kept control of the car and pulled into a parking lot.

The van driver stopped briefly but drove off without checking on the man. Police yesterday were searching for the van's driver.

The accident happened Dec. 19, as Andy Burnett was driving his 1999 Ford Contour to work on a two-lane road near this southeast Missouri town.

The impact knocked his rear-view mirror into the back seat, and the front edge of the roof ended up 6 inches from his head.

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