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News Briefs

September 13, 1995
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EDT (0330 GMT)

Florida congressman will not run again

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Florida Democratic Rep. Pete Peterson announced Wednesday he will not seek a fourth term. "I have found that it is very difficult to function as a moderate in Congress today," Peterson said in a written statement.

Peterson described himself as "a bridge builder," but concluded, "Unfortunately, the current political climate on Capitol Hill and throughout the nation has rendered this approach ineffective."

Research satellite back in operation

[Dick Gephardt] SPACE CENTER, Houston (CNN) -- A troubled research satellite trailing the space shuttle Endeavour is running again after overheating Tuesday during an experiment.

The $25 million, disk-shaped Wake Shield Facility is designed to produce semiconductor materials one-100th the thickness of a human hair using the pure vacuum in the shuttle wake. The vacuum is 1,000 to 10,000 times greater than what can be created on Earth. Such material could ultimately lead to faster computers.

The Wake Shield was the second satellite dispatched by Endeavour's crew. The $8 million Spartan solar research satellite was released earlier.

Also Wednesday, astronauts James Voss and Michael Gernhardt checked out their space suits for Saturday's planned space walk to practice techniques and test equipment for construction of an international space station.

Democrats put brakes on Medicare reform

[Dick Gephardt] WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Democrats have threatened to slow down GOP efforts to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid.

They demand four weeks of hearings before any committee votes on the health plans, according to a resolution signed by 186 Democrats. Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Missouri, said if Ruby Ridge and Waco merited weeks of hearings, debate over the Medicare plan deserved "more than one day."

Texas Republican Bill Archer, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, predicted his panel could finish debating the measure by the end of the month.

Senate panel rejects chicken-labeling rule

[Chickens] WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Senate subcommittee on Wednesday rejected a rule that would prevent frozen chickens from being labeled "fresh." The panel voted to deny the funds needed to implement the measure unless it is revised.

Only chickens chilled below zero degrees must be labeled "frozen." Supporters of the "Truth in Poultry Labeling Act" said the panel was acting to protect regional poultry industries without regard for consumers.

Ex-cop becomes only woman on Louisiana death row

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- A former police officer has become the first woman to sit on Louisiana's death row in more than 50 years. Antoinette Frank, 23, was sentenced to death Tuesday night for the March killing a partner and two restaurant employees.

Frank was convicted Monday. She and an accomplice shot officer Ronald Williams and the workers at a Vietnamese restaurant where both officers moonlighted as security guards. The accomplice was convicted and sentenced to death in July.

Federal building bomb plot foiled

TYLER, Texas (CNN) -- A Texas car salesman and tax protester has been indicted on charges of planning to blow up an Internal Revenue Service building in Austin. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that Charles Polk, 45, could get life in prison if he is convicted on the six counts.

Polk allegedly asked an undercover agent to help him acquire explosives to bomb the IRS regional center, where several hundred people work. "It's safe to assume he was unhappy with the IRS," a spokesman for the U.S. district attorney told Reuters news service.

Officials said Polk never got the explosives

Police say estranged husband blew up family

ESSEX, Maryland (CNN) -- Police believe an estranged husband and father was responsible for blowing up his own family. Mark Clark, his wife, their daughter and her two other children were killed Monday evening when his car packed with explosives blew up in a shopping center parking lot.

The massive explosion shook nearby homes, broke store windows and sent debris flying blocks away -- the glove compartment was found half a mile from the site.

Family members of Betty Louise Clark said the couple broke up four months ago. Her sister, Kathy Weber, said Clark always made threats but "I never thought he would do something like this."

Church of Scientology loses fight against former member

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- A former member and critic of the Church of Scientology should be getting his research on Scientology back from the church. A federal judge Tuesday ordered the church to return the files that another judge had ordered seized.

Larry Wollersheim operates a computer bulletin board that distributes information critical of the Church of Scientology. The church claimed Wollersheim violated copyright and trademark laws and demanded the board's materials. But the new ruling says "the public interest is best served by the free exchange of ideas."


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