Ex-Philadelphia Official,

11 Others Are Indicted

PHILADELPHIA -- A former city treasurer, a powerful city lawyer and 10 others were indicted Tuesday in a municipal corruption investigation that became public when a bugging device was discovered in Mayor John F. Street's office. He has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

The indictment alleges that in 2002 and 2003, lawyer Ronald A. White gave cash and gifts worth tens of thousands of dollars to then-Treasurer Corey Kemp to influence which financial services companies were selected to handle bond transactions for the city.

The gifts included a $10,350 deck for Kemp's house and a trip to the 2003 Super Bowl in San Diego, prosecutors said. White collected more than $630,000 in fees for his work on city bond deals during Kemp's tenure, prosecutors said.

Kemp was charged with 46 counts, and White faces 34 counts. Each faces hundreds of years in prison if convicted on all counts.

* BOSTON -- A federal appeals court rejected an attempt by conservative groups and state lawmakers to stop same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. The plaintiffs had argued that Massachusetts' high court usurped the power of the legislature -- and thereby violated the U.S. Constitution -- when it ruled last year that gay couples are entitled to wed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit disagreed and said the appropriate way to contest the state court's ruling is by amending the Massachusetts Constitution.

* TAMPA -- Middle-school teacher Debra Beasley Lafave, 23, was charged with having sex with a 14-year-old student in a classroom, at her apartment and, once, in a vehicle while the student's 15-year-old cousin drove.

* HUNTSVILLE, Tex. -- A man convicted of murder when he was 17 won a reprieve from the Supreme Court about four hours before his scheduled execution. Attorneys for death row inmate Mauro Barraza, 32, had argued his death should be delayed because the nation's high court is expected to review the issue of executing teenage killers later this year.

* BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Fighter jets based at the Marine Corps air station here have been grounded after two pilots died in jet crashes less than 48 hours apart, officials said. Both incidents involved FA-18 fighters.

* MIAMI -- A day before tough new U.S. restrictions on travel to Cuba take effect, hundreds of Cuban Americans scrambled to get onto packed flights to visit their families in the communist nation. The new rules that begin Wednesday prohibit Cuban Americans from visiting family in Cuba more than once every three years, instead of the current once a year. They also limit visits to 14 days and daily spending to $50 per person in Cuba. Before, there were no limits on the length of a visit, and people could spend $167 a day.

* DETROIT -- Gunfire following a fight on the city's east side killed three men and wounded three other people, two critically, police said. Deputy Chief Ronald Haddad said the shootings happened after two women were fighting outside a home and one of them returned with a man. Shots were then fired, hitting six people, ranging in age from 17 to 45. Haddad said the man in critical condition, who was shot in the chest, and a woman shot in the knee appeared to be innocent bystanders.

* GRANGEVILLE, Idaho -- A man in jail for selling sham medicinal water was indicted on charges he tried to have a federal judge, a prosecutor and a tax agent killed. David Hinkson, 47, was also accused of threatening to kill the children of both the prosecutor and federal agent as each watched.

* LOUISVILLE -- Kentucky's largest school system must revise how it assigns students to its traditional magnet schools after a federal judge ruled Tuesday that race and gender play too large a role in the selection process. But U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II let stand the rest of the Jefferson County Public School system's student-assignment policy, saying the role of race and gender is outweighed by other factors, such as geography.

* RICHMOND -- Gay men and lesbians moved a step closer toward ordination in the Presbyterian church after a legislative committee approved a measure that would partially lift the church's ban on gay pastors. The proposal will go before the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) national legislative assembly for a full vote this week.

* MIAMI -- A British mercenary pleaded guilty to plotting to buy a Vietnam-era warplane to kill Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar in the early 1990s. David Tomkins, 64, fled the country in 1991 during a federal sting but was arrested in Houston last August when he showed up for U.S. Army chemical-weapons training needed to qualify for a security job with firms assigned to guard Iraqi airports, the government said.

-- From News Services