Appeals Court Backs Bush

On Pryor Appointment

ATLANTA -- A federal appeals court ruled 8 to 2 Thursday that President Bush did not overstep his authority when he appointed William H. Pryor Jr. to the bench while the Senate was on a holiday break.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rejected a challenge by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who argued that the Alabama judge's appointment to the same court was an end run around the Senate's right to confirm or reject the president's judicial nominees.

Pryor was appointed to the 11th Circuit during the Presidents' Day recess in February, after the Senate refused twice to bring his nomination to a floor vote.

The president can appoint federal judges without the Senate's consent if the chamber is not meeting.

Kobe Bryant's Accuser

Identifies Herself in Lawsuit

DENVER -- Under orders from a federal judge, the woman accusing Kobe Bryant of rape identified herself by name in a revised version of the lawsuit she filed against the NBA star two months ago.

The 20-year-old woman, who asked Eagle County prosecutors to dismiss the felony case against Bryant after deciding not to testify, had sought to remain anonymous in the federal civil case, though her name has been widely published on the Internet.

U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch last week said the woman must be publicly identified as a matter of fairness.

Legal experts say federal judges rarely allow plaintiffs to remain anonymous, except in cases involving children or whistle-blowers who fear employer retaliation. Most U.S. news organizations generally do not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

* TRENTON, N.J. -- A senior al Qaeda operative accused of conducting surveillance on U.S. financial buildings as possible terrorism targets entered the United States on a student visa, the FBI said. FBI spokesman John Conway said the agency is trying to retrace the movements of Dhiren Barot, 32, and determine whether any of his associates are still here. Barot posed as a student while conducting surveillance of financial institutions as possible targets for a terrorist attack, according to the FBI.

* ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan's freshman class had 15 percent fewer black students than last year, partly because fewer applied after the Supreme Court struck down the school's affirmative action policy, officials said. Among the school's 6,040 new first-year students, 350 were black, compared with 410 last year. Asian American enrollment also decreased, while Hispanic and Native American enrollment was up.

* BIRMINGHAM -- Bobby Frank Cherry, a former Ku Klux Klansman who was imprisoned in the 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls, has been moved to a hospital and is critically ill, prison officials and relatives said.

-- From News Services