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Archive for Saturday, September 8, 2001

News briefs

September 8, 2001

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California

Grand jury reaches decision in Condit case

A grand jury has reached a decision on whether it will investigate claims that Rep. Gary Condit obstructed justice by asking a flight attendant to deny they had an affair.

The results of the secret vote of Stanislaus County's 19-member civil grand jury Thursday night won't be made public, said Marnie Ardis, the county employee who oversees the panel.

She said the decision was being relayed in a letter sent Friday to the attorney of flight attendant Anne Marie Smith.

Smith, 40, claims the Democratic congressman and his intermediaries tried to get her to sign a false affidavit denying they had an affair. She said they had a 10-month romance.

Condit, who is at the center of the controversy over the disappearance of former Washington intern Chandra Levy, has denied asking anybody to lie.

California

Suspect in multiple slayings found dead in national forest

Reynaldo Herrera Rodriguez, suspected of murdering three members of a Simi Valley family, apparently shot himself to death as law officers closed in Friday evening in Los Padres National Forest, a sheriff's deputy said.

Simi Valley police and county sheriff's deputies had been looking since Wednesday for Rodriguez, 35, a state highway department civil engineer they say targeted the family of a young woman with whom he had once had a relationship.

The discovery of his body came after authorities revealed that Rodriguez had wrongly believed that the woman, Maria Rios, 24, had given him a blood disease.

Rios wasn't at home when a gunman walked into the family home and opened fire, killing her daughter, Shantal Rios, 4; brother Ricardo Calderon, 12, and grandmother, Esperanza Martinez, 80.

South Africa

U.N. conference extended; compromises sought

European negotiators at the U.N. conference on racism agreed to a carefully crafted statement Friday that they termed an apology for slavery, a move aimed at fending off lawsuits seeking reparations.

But delegates remained deadlocked and extended the conference to today, struggling over how to address the Middle East conflict and African demands for some kind of compensation for slavery.

African countries still were pushing for slavery and colonialism to be labeled "crimes against humanity" and for Western countries to pay reparations. The European Union rejected both calls.

Arab states rejected a South African proposal that sought to find a compromise between the Arabs' call for the conference to condemn Israeli practices as racist and the EU's refusal to allow the conference to take sides in the conflict.

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