Rates on 30-year mortgages hit new low

Friday, May 23, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Rates on 30-year mortgages dropped to a new low this week, the seventh time that has happened this year.

The average interest rate on a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage fell to a record low of 5.34 percent, the second week in a row that rates on this benchmark mortgage dropped to an all-time weekly low, Freddie Mac, the mortgage company reported Thursday in its weekly nationwide survey.

This week's rate surpassed the previous low rate of 5.45 percent set last week. The new rate marks the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking 30-year mortgages in 1971. Records that reach back earlier indicate that the rate is the lowest in more than four decades, economists said.

Authorities probe bomb blast in Yale classroom

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- FBI agents investigating a bombing at Yale University's law school dusted for fingerprints Thursday and showed students a sketch of a man seen leaving the empty classroom just before the blast.

The explosive -- which investigators believe was a pipe bomb -- damaged two rooms Wednesday, and about 300 rare law books in a room below were soaked with water from the sprinkler system. No one was injured.

Acting police chief Francisco Ortiz said the bomber was "trying to send a message."

Law student Carsten Jungmann said he helped the FBI draw a sketch of a man he saw leaving the classroom about two minutes before the explosion. The man was clean-shaven and appeared to be in his 20s or 30s, with black hair that hung just below the ears, Jungmann said.

"He appeared to be not suspicious at the time, but he was moving more quickly than people normally appeared to move through the law school," he said.

New Haven police spokeswoman Bonnie Winchester said the FBI has identified the man in the sketch. She could not say whether the man is a suspect.

New Hampshire Senate OKs abortion notification

CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire's Senate narrowly passed a bill Thursday that would require parental notification before girls under 18 can get abortions, moving a step closer to giving the state its only law regulating abortion.

The bill, which passed 12-11, was similar to one that cleared the House in March by six votes. Senate President Tom Eaton, a Republican, declined to vote on the measure.

The Senate's amended version now heads back to the House.

The legislature has regularly defeated parental notice or parental consent bills for about 20 years. Republican Gov. Craig Benson's opposition to abortion encouraged supporters of the parental notification bill this year, as did gains by Republicans in both houses of the Legislature last fall.

If it becomes law, "the state of New Hampshire will be mandating how family members interact, and the way young women make what is one the most difficult and personal choices a person ever has to face," said Rep. Peter Burling, a Democrat.

-- From wire reports

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