Mississippi Loses Out

On Scholarship Offer

JACKSON, Miss. -- It seemed like an offer too good for Mississippi to refuse -- but it slipped away.

Former Netscape chief executive Jim Barksdale will not create $50 million in scholarships for needy Mississippi students because legislators did not fully fund public schools for the coming year, said his brother, Claiborne Barksdale.

Jim Barksdale surprised state officials in March when he announced that if legislators would fully fund public schools for the year that starts July 1, he would set up scholarships with $50 million.

Lawmakers finished the $4.6 billion state budget during a special session over the weekend. The $2.2 billion approved for elementary and secondary schools is $87.7 million less than what the Department of Education requested. State education Superintendent Henry Johnson said that funding approved by the House, which was about $25 million short of his request, would have been acceptable.

* LAFAYETTE, La. -- A federal judge rejected arguments that a federal law that makes it illegal to ship animals out of state for fighting discriminates against Cajuns, Hispanics and citizens of Louisiana and New Mexico, the only states where cockfighting is legal.

* CLEVELAND -- A house fire that killed nine people on May 21 was deliberately set, fire officials said. The finding reverses an initial determination that the fire was an accident.

* NASHVILLE -- An Iraqi-born man who was arrested while trying to buy machine guns and hand grenades from undercover agents pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges. Ahmed Hassan Uqaily, 33, was arrested in October during an FBI sting operation prompted by his alleged threat about "going jihad" against the United States, investigators said.

* INDIANAPOLIS -- A judge ruled that Planned Parenthood of Indiana must surrender medical records of 84 patients younger than 14. Planned Parenthood tried to stop the seizure, arguing that investigators may be trying to identify the partners of sexually active 12- and 13-year-olds. Indiana law considers sex with anyone younger than 14 molestation.

* ATLANTA -- Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks agreed to give $13,250 to the city of Duluth, Ga., to help pay for the overtime costs the city incurred searching for her, Mayor Shirley Lasseter said.

* PHILADELPHIA -- Restaurateur Neil Stein pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts of tax evasion for allegedly using funds from his upscale establishments as a piggy bank. Prosecutors recommended that Stein, 63, be sentenced to at least a year in prison and pay up to $750,000 in fines.

-- From News Services