- - Sunday, April 19, 2009

State senator challenges Lincoln

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas state Senate’s minority leader says he will run for the seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

State Sen. Kim D. Hendren, Gravette Republican, told the Associated Press on Saturday that he is running because he thinks Mrs. Lincoln’s support of bailouts for insurance giant American International Group Inc. and other companies is out of touch with the people of Arkansas.

He also said that Arkansas has balanced its budget and he believes “our U.S. senator should carry the same philosophy to Washington.”

The Lincoln campaign didn’t return a call for comment. The two-term Democrat is seeking re-election in 2010.

Other Republicans considering a run against Mrs. Lincoln include former interim U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin and state Sen. Gilbert Baker of Conway.

Mother in slayings tried to self-abort

QUINCY, Mass. — A woman suspected of killing one of her daughters and her unborn child tried to abort the fetus two months earlier by drinking poison, according to police.

Fang Chi Xue “had attempted to end her pregnancy by consuming a toxic substance,” according to a police report filed at Quincy District Court.

The Boston Globe reported Saturday that the woman’s attempt on the life of her unborn child prompted a February visit from the Department of Children and Families. The department determined the children could remain in her home because there was a second caretaker and an understanding that the mother would get proper medical care, spokeswoman Alison Goodwin said.

According to authorities, Mrs. Xue killed the unborn child and her 9-year-old daughter Thursday and tried to strangle her 14-year-old daughter, who fought her off at the family home in Quincy.

Obama names management picks

President Obama on Saturday named Jeffrey Zients, a longtime management consultant, as chief performance officer to head an effort to streamline government and cut costs.

The selection of Mr. Zients comes after Mr. Obama’s first choice for the newly created position, Nancy Killefer, withdrew in February over tax problems. Mr. Zients, a founder and managing partner of the investment firm Portfolio Logic, will also serve as a deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Mr. Obama also named Aneesh Chopra, currently the secretary of technology for Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, as chief technology officer to help reduce health care costs and foster cybersecurity. He joins Vivek Kundra as chief information officer, who will be responsible for setting technology policy across the government.

Residents return after evacuation

ST. CHARLES, Minn. — Residents have started returning to a town in southeastern Minnesota after city officials lifted an evacuation order prompted by a large fire at a meat-processing plant.

The 3,600 residents of the town of St. Charles were evacuated Friday because the fire at North Star Foods Inc. threatened tanks of anhydrous ammonia inside the plant.

City Administrator Nick Koverman said Saturday the evacuation order was lifted after an inspection found the tanks were safe and air quality in the area was acceptable. The state fire marshal’s office was investigating the cause of the blaze.

Plant manager Mark Eads said the fire started above an oven where chickens are cooked.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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