- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2003

Justice approves Texas redistricting

AUSTIN — The U.S. Department of Justice approved a Republican-backed congressional redistricting map yesterday, disappointing Democrats who staged two legislative boycotts over redistricting and have sued over the new plan.

The department evaluated the map to see if it adhered to the federal Voting Rights Act, a law that protects minority voting rights.

“The Department of Justice determined that the State of Texas provided sufficient proof that the proposed congressional districts do not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color,” according to a statement from Texas Secretary of State Geoff Connor.

The approval comes as a three-judge panel in Austin hears the legal challenges by Democrats to the map, which the Texas Legislature approved in October.

The new map could give the Republicans as many as seven additional seats in the delegation that is ruled 17-15 by Democrats.

Condit sues tabloids over Levy stories

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former Rep. Gary Condit sued the National Enquirer and other tabloids for $38 million yesterday, saying they falsely connected him with the 2001 murder of federal intern Chandra Levy.

The California Democrat alleges that the Enquirer, Globe and Star Magazine tabloids, along with parent company American Media Inc., maliciously published defamatory statements that Mr. Condit “was involved in deviant and perverted sexual conduct, which directly or indirectly led to the kidnapping and/or murder of Ms. Levy,” according to the suit filed in Palm Beach County circuit court.

AMI General Counsel Michael Kahane said in a statement that the Boca Raton-based company “will vigorously defend any suit filed by Mr. Condit” and that he expects it to be dismissed.

Officials urge vigilance about terror threat

U.S. officials are telling holiday travelers to be vigilant about the threat of terrorist attacks, a warning prompted in part by a raised level of ominous intercepted communications that hasn’t quieted for months.

The significance of the sustained level of intelligence “chatter” is not clear, the officials said.

Homeland Security officials said they did not expect the national threat warning to be raised unless more specific intelligence was received.

Threat intelligence has poured in at a sustained rate since late summer, officials said, but it has been short on specifics — no credible information to suggest a time, target or method of attack.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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