Nation briefs 10/19/05
Senate votes to freeze pay raise this year
WASHINGTON -- Senators on Tuesday agreed to give up their annual pay raise, saying they need to do their part to save the government a little money in light of the huge expenses from Hurricane Katrina and the growing budget deficit. Congress is looking for ways to rein in spending, said Sen. Jon Kyl, who sponsored the pay freeze proposal. "It's hard to argue that this process shouldn't include our own salaries." It passed 92-6.
College price increases moderate this year
Price increases at colleges and universities moderated somewhat this year, but students who need financial aid are still relying increasingly on loans to pay for higher education, according to figures released Tuesday by the College Board. The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year college hit $5,491 this year, up 7.1 percent from 2004-2005, according to the annual survey by the group. That was the smallest percentage increase since 2001-2002. Prices at two-year public colleges rose 5.4 percent to $2,191, while at private schools they rose 5.9 percent to $21,235.
Tropical storm Wilma upgraded to hurricane
MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Wilma strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday on a path that could threaten storm-battered Florida, tying the record for the most hurricanes to form in an Atlantic season. Wilma is the 12th hurricane of the season, the same number reached in 1969, the highest since record-keeping began in 1851. At 1 p.m., Wilma had sustained winds near 80 mph, or 6 mph above the threshold for a hurricane. Long-range forecasts show Wilma could hit western Cuba or Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula before heading into the Gulf of Mexico by Friday. The storm could spare those countries while passing through the Yucatan Channel. Computer models showed Wilma turning northeastward and bearing down on Florida over the weekend.
Ca. thunderstorms trigger mudslides, power outages
LOS ANGELES -- A spectacular series of thunderstorms rolled through Southern California, bringing walnut-sized hail and bursts of heavy rain that triggered mudslides and shut down the main highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Parts of the region remained under a severe weather watch early Tuesday. Interstate 5 was closed for about five hours Monday in both directions about 65 miles north of Los Angeles, because of mudslides and up to four feet of standing water on the road, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Johnny Fisher. At least one death was blamed on the storms. Approximately 140,000 customers lost power, utilities said.
Inscribed JFK Rolex sells for $120,000 at auction
GREENWICH, Conn. -- A gold Rolex reportedly given to President Kennedy as a birthday gift from Marilyn Monroe was sold for $120,000 at an auction. The actress is believed to have given the watch to Kennedy aide Kenneth O'Donnell, who passed it on to the president, said Bill Panagopulos, founder of the Alexander Autographs auction house. But when Kennedy saw it, he told O'Donnell to "get rid of it," according to a note that was sold with the watch, Panagopulos said. He said the buyer was an East Coast collector, but he didn't release a name. An inscription on the watch reads "Jack, With love as always from Marilyn May 29th 1962."
-- From wire reports
POEM IN THE WATCH CASE, TITLED, "A HEARFELT PLEA ON YOUR BIRTHDAY":
"Let lovers breathe their sighs/ And roses bloom and music sound/ Let passion burn on lips and eyes/ And pleasures merry world go round/ Let golden sunshine flood the sky/ And let me love/ Or let me die!"