- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2001

White House moves to limit gun records

The Bush administration moved yesterday to sharply restrict the amount of time that gun purchasers' instant-background-check records can be kept by the government.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said the administration would propose that such records be held for just one business day after a sale. Governmental and law enforcement agencies currently may hold such records for up to 180 days.

New York bans cell-phone driving

NEW YORK Gov. George E. Pataki signed into law yesterday the nation's first statewide legislation banning the use of hand-held cell phones by drivers.

The law is slated to go into effect Nov. 1. First-time violators of the ban would face a $100 fine. A second conviction calls for a $200 fine.

Prenatal cocaine use, brain damage linked

Cocaine use by a pregnant woman may result in the loss of more than half the brain cells in the infant's cerebral cortex.

A study published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology found the cerebral cortexes of drug-treated monkeys contained about 60 percent fewer neurons and were about 20 percent smaller than those of normal monkeys.

Panel investigating payment to Clinton

The family of a convicted crime boss has paid Roger Clinton $50,000, and the check is being examined by a House panel investigating how the Clinton administration doled out pardons.

Rosario Gambino, a convicted heroin trafficker and reputed mafia boss, did not receive a pardon from President Clinton. But the White House did request background information on Gambino from the Justice Department near the end of Mr. Clinton's second term, a source familiar with the House investigation said.

Sharpton ends Vieques hunger strike

NEW YORK The Rev. Al Sharpton and two other men detained in federal prison for their protest of U.S. military training in Puerto Rico said yesterday they were ending their 31-day hunger strike.

Mr. Sharpton, State Assemblyman Jose Rivera and Bronx County Democratic Party Chairman Roberto Ramirez have lost about 25 pounds each.

Abrams appointed to NSC post

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice announced yesterday the appointment of Elliott Abrams as special assistant to the president and senior director for democracy, human rights and international operations at the National Security Council, effective this week.

Mr. Abrams has been president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., since 1996. He served as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from June 2000 to May 2001.

Forest Service watches Idaho festival

BEAR VALLEY, Idaho Rainbow Family followers have begun streaming into central Idaho for their annual festival of peace and love.

The event, expected to draw as many as 20,000 campers to the remote Bear Valley of the Boise National Forest, is under close scrutiny by the Forest Service because of its proximity to endangered salmon habitat.

Good Samaritan shot in struggle

BILLINGS, Mont. A motorist who spotted a couple struggling over a bundle and heard the woman plead with her companion not to toss "my baby" over a bridge was shot and wounded when he tried to intervene.

The couple fled, leaving behind the bundle, which turned out to contain a puppy. Wayne Olivo, 49, was briefly hospitalized Wednesday with bullet wounds to the hand and chest.

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