Federal Court Grants

Wolves a Reprieve

DENVER--A federal appeals court panel ordered a reprieve for the thriving gray wolves of Yellowstone National Park, handing a victory to environmentalists and a defeat to ranchers.

Yesterday's 3 to 0 vote by a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Wyoming lower court ruling that the wolves, regarded by ranchers as livestock predators, be removed.

"It's a great day for wolves," Mark Van Putten, president of the the National Wildlife Federation, said by telephone from Washington.

Ranchers represented by the American Farm Bureau launched their legal battle against the wolves when they were reintroduced in 1995 after not being seen in the area for 60 years.

The original pack of 30 wolves now has multiplied to more than 300 in Yellowstone and wildlands in neighboring Idaho.

* NEW YORK--Convinced that tobacco company settlement payments to states will diminish over time, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) will propose selling part of his state's tobacco proceeds to investors in exchange for a lump sum payment, a state official said. If the legislature agrees, about $8 billion of Florida's $17 billion settlement would be sold and the $2.4 billion anticipated proceeds would be used for the Lawton Chiles Tobacco Endowment for Children and Elders, which helps fund health programs.

* GALLUP, N.M.--A jeweler known for winning two jackpots worth more than $8 million at an Indian casino was kidnapped, beaten and robbed of cash and weapons, the FBI said. Jim Rashid, 58, was abducted Tuesday night outside the Sky City Casino on the Acoma Pueblo reservation and forced to drive to one of his jewelry stores. He escaped as his kidnappers planned to take him to another of the stores, the FBI said, adding that four people have been arrested.

* BOSTON--American Catholic bishops have asked the Vatican to designate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a martyr for the Christian faith. The Boston Globe said King--a Baptist minister assassinated in 1968--and four church women murdered in El Salvador in 1980 are among U.S. nominees for a group that will be honored in May by Pope John Paul II as 20th-century martyrs.

* LAS CRUCES, N.M.--A 70-year-old woman was jailed on charges that she fatally stabbed her 79-year-old husband, police said. After John Gore was found dead in the front yard of the couple's small home, a police spokesman said it became apparent while officers were interviewing Barbara Gore "that she was the main suspect."

* CLEVELAND--Schools were closed, downtown neighbors were forced to boil water to drink and 100,000 people lost water pressure when an old water main burst Wednesday night between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Jacobs Field. Mayor Michael White said repairs could take five days.

* The Agriculture Department charged the El Paso Zoo with violating the Animal Welfare Act after zoo officials allegedly beat an elephant named Sissy during training.

* UNITY, Maine--As neighbors and family friends wept, the bodies of 7-year-old triplets were pulled from the charred wreckage of their home. Josh, Marcus and Brydon Freyer died Wednesday in a fire from which their mother, Carmen Freyer, 28, and 2-year-old sister escaped. Also killed was Robert M. Jones, 48, the Waldo County sheriff and a part-time firefighter.