GOP candidate leaves Senate race, citing ad
Republican Mike Taylor abruptly dropped out of the Senate race against Sen. Max Baucus on Thursday, complaining that a Democratic Party ad was calculated to make him look like a gay hairdresser.
Taylor, who was trailing Baucus badly in the polls, said the commercial amounted to character assassination.
Montana law bars the replacement of a candidate if he withdraws within 85 days of the election, and state GOP officials said there were no plans to try to get around the deadline.
Taylor's withdrawal came less than a week after Democrats began airing a TV ad accusing the 61-year-old state senator of a scam involving student loan money when he ran a Colorado beauty school in the 1990s.
The commercial includes videotape from the 1980s of Taylor, who is married, wearing an open-front shirt and gold chains while massaging a man's face. The video was from Taylor's "Beauty Corner," a segment he used to host on a Colorado TV news program.
State Department issues security warning
The State Department warned Americans overseas Thursday to stay vigilant because of "the continuing threat of terrorist actions" against U.S. interests worldwide, including possible suicide attacks aimed at U.S. civilians.
The government "continues to receive credible indications that extremist groups and individuals are planning additional terrorist actions against U.S. interests," the alert said.
The alert comes a day after the FBI issued a similar alert to state and local authorities across the country.
Both alerts cited as a reason for concern a recently released taped statement attributed to Osama bin Laden and separate information obtained from al-Qaida detainees indicating possible attacks against U.S. targets.
Court upholds sentence in deadly ski collision
A Colorado appeals court Thursday upheld the nation's first conviction of a skier for killing another person in a collision on the slopes.
Nathan Hall was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide two years ago in the 1997 death of Alan Cobb, a 33-year-old carpenter who died of head injuries after Hall plowed into him while skiing fast in Vail.
Hall was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of probation and was ordered to pay $18,000 to Cobb's family.
Hall, 23, argued that the jury should have been able to consider the less-serious charge of reckless endangerment. But the Court of Appeals ruled he was not entitled to the lesser charge because he admitted his conduct resulted in death.
House OKs $3.8 billion election overhaul plan
With a nod of approval from President Bush, the House passed a bill Thursday night to overhaul how elections are conducted by sending states billions of dollars for new voting machines and establishing statewide voter rolls.
The legislation, approved 357-48, is the result of months of bargaining between House and Senate negotiators. It would cost $3.8 billion over three years.
The Senate could take up the legislation by week's end.
The bill responds to balloting problems in Florida that delayed the 2000 election.