Bond Says U.S. Leaders Have

Rolled Back Civil Rights Gains

MILWAUKEE -- Renewing his attack on conservatives and the Bush administration Sunday, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond accused national leaders of rolling back civil rights gains, crippling efforts to battle racism and undermining democracy.

"The president likes to talk to the talk, but he doesn't walk the walk," Bond told members at the NAACP's annual convention.

President Bush has turned down five invitations to attend NAACP gatherings, including this year's, and Bond invited Bush to the next one, in Washington.

"Mr. President, we're extending the invitation a year in advance," Bond said. "We want to see you, and we want you to see us. We want to know you think you're our president, too."

Bond criticized Democrats who agreed recently to support conservative judicial nominees. And he pointed to conservative blacks and some black churches that receive federal funding and promote conservative causes such as attacking affirmative action.

* BENTONIA, Miss. -- Two freight trains collided and partially derailed early Sunday, killing at least one crew member aboard the two Canadian National Railroad trains and leaving rescue crews searching for three others in the wreckage. Dozens of nearby houses were ordered evacuated after one of the cars leaked vegetable oil and caught fire. Authorities said the flames were extinguished.

* BEULAH, Colo. -- A fast-moving wildfire forced the voluntary evacuation of 1,000 people from a ranching community as flames roared through tinder-dry fuel in southern Colorado. The 8,000-acre blaze -- which quadrupled in size in 24 hours -- threatened 750 houses, outbuildings and other structures in the Beulah Valley, about 150 miles south of Denver. The fire generated so much smoke that aircraft were unable to get close enough to drop retardant on its center.

* CHICAGO -- A University of Illinois at Chicago student, Tombol Malik, 23, was beaten to death with his bicycle lock during a fight near campus, and two men were arrested, police said. Charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery were filed against Muaz Haffer, 21, of Burr Ridge, Ill., and Mantas Matulis, 20, of Clarendon Hills, Ill., police said.

* Sixty-seven cattle culled from the Texas herd of a Brahma cross beef cow infected with mad cow disease have tested negative for the disease, the Agriculture Department said.

* JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Landlord Pamela Batie was seriously injured and her brother, John McPherson, 21, and cousin, Calvin Threadcraft, 26, were fatally shot when they tried to serve an eviction notice to tenants who had stopped paying rent, officials said.

* SAN FRANCISCO -- The Archdiocese of San Francisco agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle a dozen lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by a once-popular priest. Attorneys announced the agreements Friday, days before the first of several planned trials was to begin with plaintiffs alleging they were abused by the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard. The settlement works out to an average of $1.3 million for each plaintiff, but attorneys said the individual amounts varied and would not be disclosed.

* NASHVILLE -- Police said they arrested a suspect believed to have set fires that burned two black churches in Sparta, Tenn., but they did not release his name and said they had no reason to believe the blazes were a hate crime. Five vacant houses were burned Friday along with the two churches, all in the same neighborhood.

* DENVER -- Authorities arrested a Colorado grandmother after her 2-year-old granddaughter died inside a car on a day when the temperature climbed to nearly 100 degrees. Yvonne Mabry was being held on investigation of child abuse resulting in the death Saturday of Elizabeth Buchmiller, police said. A neighbor walking through the parking lot of an apartment complex discovered the toddler, but rescuers were unable to revive her.

* CAPE CANAVERAL -- The countdown for NASA's return to space began at 6 p.m. Sunday although Hurricane Dennis threatened to interfere with the liftoff of the first shuttle mission in more than two years. Test director Jeffrey G. Spaulding said excitement for the first shuttle flight since the 2003 Columbia disaster had been "building and growing" ever since the space agency overcame fuel-tank difficulties that prompted a launch delay a few months ago. Thunderstorms were forecast during the week, but a ridge of high pressure offered hope that the storms may stay away at launch time Wednesday afternoon. Forecasters put the odds of acceptable weather at 70 percent, with conditions expected to worsen later in the week.

-- From News Services