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NATION IN BRIEF

Saturday, April 2, 2005; Page A22

450 Volunteer to Patrol Arizona-Mexico Border

TOMBSTONE, Ariz. -- About 450 volunteers gathered Friday for a month-long effort to patrol the Mexican border for illegal immigrants and smugglers, an organizer of the Minuteman Project said.

The idea is for the volunteers to patrol 23 miles of the San Pedro Valley border and report any illegal activity to federal agents -- an exercise some law enforcement authorities and others fear could lead to vigilante violence. Patrols are to begin Monday.

Chris Simcox, Minuteman field operations director, said 450 people were willing to participate in at least one shift in the desert. He would not say how many had registered or had participated in orientation. Others would arrive later in the month, he said.

Prosecution Displays Replica of Clinic Bomb

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Prosecutors unveiled their model of the remote-control bomb they say Eric Rudolph used to attack an Alabama abortion clinic in 1998: a Wal-Mart toolbox disguised with fake greenery and packed with dynamite and nails.

A government expert in Rudolph's federal death penalty case, Lloyd Erwin of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified that he found the toolbox by chance during a visit to a Wal-Mart in Rudolph's home town of Murphy, N.C. The green box had little squares on the top, just like fragments found outside the clinic after a bomb killed a policeman and critically wounded a nurse, Erwin said.

Defense attorney Nancy Pemberton has said the bomb replica is based on flimsy conclusions and contains materials, such as wires, that do not exactly match those found at the scene.

CAPE CANAVERAL -- NASA is late in supplying vital information to the task force overseeing the agency's effort to resume shuttle flights for the first time since the Columbia disaster, a delay that could force the postponement of Discovery's launch in May. Michael Kostelnik, a top shuttle official, said it is taking the space agency longer than expected to assemble paperwork and documentation, and to complete final reviews on the design changes made to the shuttle in the wake of the 2003 catastrophe.

LORETTO, Pa. -- Former Connecticut governor John G. Rowland (R) arrived at a federal prison to serve a one-year sentence for corruption, coming through a back entrance to avoid reporters. Under a plea deal with prosecutors in December, he admitted to trading access to his office for more than $100,000 in vacations, charter airline trips to Las Vegas and home repairs.

APPLETON, Wis. -- Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin has been stripped of her title because pageant officials say she can stand. Janeal Lee, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a scooter, was photographed by the Post-Crescent newspaper standing among her high school math students.

"I've been made to feel as if I can't represent the disabled citizens of Wisconsin because I'm not disabled enough," Lee said.

-- From News Services


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