Georgia Pardons Woman

Executed 60 Years Ago

ALBANY, Ga. -- Lena Baker, the only woman ever executed in Georgia's electric chair, will be posthumously pardoned, 60 years after the black maid was put to death for killing a white man she said held her in slavery and threatened her life.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles found that a decision to deny her clemency in 1945 "was a grievous error, as this case called out for mercy," said spokeswoman Scheree Lipscomb. Baker was sentenced to die after a one-day trial before an all-white, all-male jury in Georgia.

Atlanta Approves Curbs

On Downtown Panhandling

ATLANTA -- A ban on panhandling near downtown Atlanta's tourist attractions was approved 12 to 3 by the City Council, despite protests by hundreds of opponents who called the measure an attack on the poor.

Business owners said parts of Atlanta are so overrun with aggressive beggars that business is suffering. But the plan sparked opposition from activists for the poor and civil rights groups, who complained that the ban would have an unfair impact on black men.

Several dozen opponents camped out on the City Hall lawn on the eve of the vote, and after the ordinance was approved, about a dozen of them erupted in shouts and were escorted out of the council chambers.

* POMEROY, Wash. -- Fire crews faced hotter, drier weather as they fought across rough terrain to encircle a 49,000-acre wildfire, the largest in the lower 48 states. The fire in southeastern Washington has destroyed more than 100 houses plus 100 outbuildings.

* LAWRENCE, Mass. -- A decorated Marine accused of firing a shotgun at a crowd of club-goers pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges and was ordered to be evaluated at a state psychiatric hospital. Daniel Cotnoir was named Marine of the Year last month for his service as a military mortician in Iraq. Cotnoir, 33, told police someone threw an empty juice bottle through his bedroom window.

* SAN FRANCISCO -- A cleric facing immigration charges agreed to be deported to Pakistan, a week after being accused of plotting to open a terrorism camp in California to train followers to kill Americans. Shabbir Ahmed, 39, will be deported for overstaying a religious-work visa while heading a mosque in Lodi, Calif.

* MIAMI -- A slightly stronger Hurricane Irene remained well organized as it spun northeastward into the open North Atlantic, but it should weaken from 90 mph Tuesday and not threaten land, forecasters said.

* MILWAUKEE -- Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Mexican President Vicente Fox was right to say that Mexican immigrants take jobs "that not even blacks want." Although Fox was sharply criticized for his remarks by some black leaders, Farrakhan told the crowd at Mercy Memorial Baptist Church that blacks do not want to go to farms and pick fruit because they already "picked enough cotton." He said blacks and Latinos should form an alliance to resolve animosity between the two communities.

* BOSTON -- Thousands of people in the Northeast had no electricity after wind gusting to 80 mph knocked trees onto power lines, lightning started fires and torrential rain Sunday flooded streets in parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

-- From News Services