Calif. Activists Launch

`Hate-Free Zone' Drive

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Activists in this sunny surf town have launched a signature drive aimed at using the March 2000 ballot to declare Santa Cruz an official "hate-free zone" -- probably the first in the nation.

"Hate is like litter," said David Minton Silva, a spokesman for the campaign. "Our city is a beautiful place to come, but leave your hate at the city limits."

The campaign must draw 3,780 valid signatures by mid-November to qualify for the March ballot. If approved, the measure would call for public hearings to choose a slogan for hate-free-zone signs at city entrances.


LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas's highest court threw out the drunken driving conviction of Michael Norris, who was given a sobriety test and arrested in his bedroom after another driver reported his alleged erratic driving and police were admitted to Norris's house by his visiting mother-in-law. The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Norris's constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure outweighed the state's interest in pursuing people suspected of driving drunk.

NEW YORK -- The NAACP sued nearly 100 handgun makers in federal court, claiming the industry's marketing practices fuel street violence and have "led to disproportionate numbers of injuries, deaths and other damages among those whose interests the [NAACP] represents." It asked for injunctions that would severely restrict handgun sales.

FORT DIX, N.J. -- Xhemajl Hajra, the last of the thousands of Kosovo refugees who called this Army base home, left to be reunited with six relatives who settled in Trenton, officials said. His departure marks the official closing of the village that opened May 5 to handle refugees from crowded camps in the Balkans and became a sanctuary for more than 4,000 people.

NEW YORK -- Deborah Perry-Rogers and Robert Rogers, who are black, won permanent custody of a black baby born to a white couple because of an embryo mix-up at a fertility clinic. Akiel Rogers will be permitted to visit Vincent, his white birth partner and the son of Richard and Donna Fasano of Staten Island, every other weekend. The Fasanos gave up Akiel, whom they had named Joseph, in May after DNA tests confirmed that the Rogerses were his biological parents.

PONTIAC, Mich. -- Assisted-suicide proponent Jack Kevorkian lost his bid for a new trial yesterday but said he again will appeal his March conviction on a second-degree murder charge in the injection death of Lou Gehrig's patient Thomas Youk. Kevorkian, 71, had been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

CINCINNATI -- Michael Gallagher, the former Cincinnati Enquirer reporter who stole Chiquita executives' voice mail for an investigative series on the banana company, was sentenced to five years of probation. In 1998, the newspaper fired Gallagher, renounced his stories about business practices at Chiquita Brands International Inc., apologized to the fruit company on the front page and paid it more than $10 million. Gallagher, 41, pleaded guilty in September to illegally gaining access to Chiquita's voice mail system.

NEW YORK -- Photographer Spencer Tunick, who wants to take a picture of 100 nude models on a Manhattan street early Sunday, received permission yesterday from a federal judge, who said the work is protected under the First Amendment. The city had objected and plans an appeal.