Contractor Removes

Old Ku Klux Klan Murals

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- An excavation crew uncovered four eight-foot-tall murals of Ku Klux Klansmen on hooded horses in a century-old downtown building, and the contractor decided to wash them away.

Claudio Costa ordered the murals of Klansmen carrying burning crosses pressure-washed from the walls of the building, at Market and Main streets. The paintings may indicate Klansmen used the 12,000-square-foot space for meetings.

The structure, known as the Clark Building, has been occupied since the late 1800s by furniture retailers, banks, feed stores and a rooming house.

Local historians said they had no interest in preserving the artwork. "We wouldn't want to pursue it. That could be considered by most people as regressive," said Britt Brantley, executive director of the Chattanooga Regional History Museum.

Lava Makes Mount St. Helens

A Red-Hot Sight by Night

SEATTLE -- The molten rock rising inside Mount St. Helens is giving the peak an eerie red glow at night.

Lava heated to nearly 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit has been climbing to the surface for the past few days in a process that scientists said Wednesday could go on for days, weeks or months. At night, low-hanging clouds and the steam rising from the volcano reflect the glow of the red-hot stone inside the crater.

Scientists said they do not know how long the eruption might continue, or whether it will be marked by explosive blasts. But they said any eruption would probably be far less dangerous than the explosion in 1980 that blasted away much of the mountaintop and killed 57 people.

* ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- A former CIA contractor charged with beating an Afghan detainee who later died may be tried as early as December, a federal judge ruled. U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle set a target trial date of Dec. 13 for David A. Passaro, 38, who is charged with four counts of assault in the beating of Abdul Wali at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan in June 2003.

* NEW YORK -- Testimony in the terrorism trial of civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart was postponed until Monday amid reports that one of her co-defendants had fallen seriously ill as Stewart prepared to take the stand. Reports surfaced that defendant Ahmed Abdel Sattar may have suffered a mild heart attack and was hospitalized. Sattar, a U.S. postal worker, faces the most serious charge in a case alleging that Stewart, Sattar and Arabic interpreter Mohammed Yousry helped Egyptian sheik Omar Abdel Rahman illegally communicate with followers from prison.

* TRENTON, N.J. -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit rejected an attempt to force a special election to fill the seat of Gov. James E. McGreevey (D), who recently announced that he is gay and would step down Nov. 15. The court upheld a lower court's ruling that said no special election should be held because McGreevey has only stated his intention to resign and has not yet officially vacated the office.

-- From News Services