Court rejects appeal in Oklahoma City bombing

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

WASHINGTON -- Convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols lost another appeal before the Supreme Court on Monday, clearing the way for a state trial on murder charges that could lead to a death sentence.

It was Nichols' fourth appeal to the court, and perhaps not his last. This time, the court refused to consider Nichols' claim that a new trial in Oklahoma amounts to unconstitutional double jeopardy.

Nichols was convicted in federal court in 1997 of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of eight federal agents. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Planet-like object found around starWASHINGTON -- Astronomers have captured a direct image of a massive, planet-like object called a brown dwarf in close orbit of a distant star very much like the sun.

Michael Liu, a University of Hawaii astronomer, said the brown dwarf orbits around its parent star at slightly less than the distance between the sun and the planet Uranus. The new discovery orbits closer to its parent star than any other brown dwarf yet discovered, said Liu.

Using new technology that sharpens the view of ground-based telescopes, astronomers found the brown dwarf orbiting about 1.3 billion miles from the star known as 15 Sge in the constellation Sagitta, located about 58 light-years from Earth.

South Carolina joins states with lotteriesCOLUMBIA, S.C. -- Thousands of people turned out Monday to scratch their first state lottery tickets, hoping to cash in a political victory that pitted gambling supporters against church leaders.

Gov. Jim Hodges was among those on hand as South Carolina began its state lottery at 6 a.m. The Democratic governor was elected in 1998 after promising voters they would be allowed to decide if they want a lottery to fund education initiatives.

Study may lead to license info storingWASHINGTON -- The government is taking first steps with the states to develop drivers' licenses that can electronically store information -- such as fingerprints -- for the 184 million Americans who carry the cards.

Privacy experts fear the effort may lead to de facto national identification cards that would allow authorities to track citizens electronically, circumventing the intense debate over federal ID cards.

Supporters said it was predictable after Sept. 11, and after a briefly raucous debate over U.S. identity cards, that officials would turn to improving existing identification systems. With careful use, they say, these new licenses could alert authorities if a suspected terrorist attempted to board an airliner, withdraw cash or enter the country.

Convictions overturned in Jewish student's death

NEW YORK -- Federal appeals court overturns convictions of two men in fatal 1991 stabbing of Jewish student in Crown Heights.

The case dates to Aug. 19, 1991, when a black 7-year-old, Gavin Cato, was struck and killed by a Jewish driver from the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch community headquartered in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Hours later, a gang of blacks shouting, "Get the Jew!" fatally stabbed rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, 29. The violence over the next two days -- including 188 injured and angry crowds breaking windows, shouting "Heil Hitler!" and burning the Israeli flag -- reverberated around the world.

--From wire reports

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