- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Russians end boycott of NASA over tourist

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Four Russian cosmonauts called off their one-day boycott and began training at NASA yesterday for a flight next month to the international space station.

Their millionaire crew mate, Dennis Tito, who's bought a ticket for the Russian Soyuz flight, was not with them. He did not show up at the Johnson Space Center in Houston later in the day, either.

The cosmonauts two prime crew members and their backups refused to begin training Monday when NASA barred Mr. Tito from joining them. All four Russians showed up yesterday for a series of briefings in preparation for a six-day space station visit in early May; the launch is scheduled for April 30 from Kazakstan.

When asked if NASA could stop Mr. Tito from flying to the space station, the officials ducked the question, saying they would continue to work with Russia to resolve the dispute.

Death penalty sought in killing of child

GREAT FALLS, Mont. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against a man suspected of kidnapping and killing a 10-year-old boy and feeding his butchered remains to neighbors.

The victim's mother said Monday she opposes capital punishment in the case against Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, 43.

"Taking one life won't bring back another," Rachel Howard said.

Mr. Bar-Jonah was charged in December in the death of Zachary Ramsay, who disappeared in 1996 while walking to school. His body has not been found.

Senators seek reversal of Bush abortion move

Five Senate Republicans and two Democrats introduced a resolution yesterday expressing disapproval for the Bush administration policy to bar U.S. foreign aid to groups that promote abortion.

On Jan. 22, just days after taking office, he signed a ban on U.S. aid to international groups that perform or recommend abortions, or lobby foreign governments on abortion law.

The administration's rule "is an ill-conceived, anti-woman and anti-American policy," said Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

The effort uses the 1996 Congressional Review Act that permits the House and Senate to pass legislation rejecting regulations issued by federal departments and agencies.

President Bush also would both have to approve any repeal of the order he himself signed, meaning the measure has no real chance of being enacted.

Riady pleads guilty in campaign fund case

LOS ANGELES Indonesian businessman James Riady pleaded guilty Monday to campaign finance violations by himself and his corporation and was sentenced to pay fines of $8.6 million for using foreign corporate funds to back Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign.

"Your honor," Riady told U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall, "mistakes have been made, which I regret. I did not have to come back here but I wanted to own up to what I did and put this all behind me. I am grateful for the opportunity to be here today."

In addition to the fines, Riady was put on probation for two years and ordered to do 400 hours of community service.

Administration pulls arsenic regulations

The Bush administration yesterday rescinded a decision made three days before the end of Bill Clinton's presidency to force 3,000 communities to lower levels of arsenic in their water systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it was withdrawing the new standards reducing allowable levels of arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion until it can review the science and costs more.

"I am committed to safe and affordable drinking water for all Americans. I want to be sure that the conclusions about arsenic in the rule are supported by the best available science," said EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

The administration also announced yesterday it would honor a consent decree to toughen pesticide regulations that EPA signed with environmental groups and farm workers the day before Mr. Clinton left office.

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