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Panel votes to kill abortion rule

A Senate committee approved a bill Thursday to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that federally financed family planning clinics may be barred from giving any information about abortion. The 12-5 vote in the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee was hailed by Kate Michelman, executive director of the National Abortion Rights Action League, as "an encouraging first step in reversing the gag rule on (government) family planning programs." President Bush has pledged to veto any such measure.PMS cited in drunk driving case

FAIRFAX, Va. _ A judge has dismissed a drunken-driving charge against a woman who says she was suffering from premenstrual syndrome when she used vulgar language and kicked a state trooper. Dr. Geraldine Richter, an orthopedic surgeon, said she had had four glasses of wine at a party but wasn't drunk when she was stopped last year. She contended that PMS, not alcohol, caused her to react violently when the trooper said her three children, who were in the car with her, might be placed in protective custody. Richter's attorney, David E. Sher, said that PMS isn't a defense for drinking and driving but it can be a "mitigating factor."

Desert Storm stamp planned

WASHINGTON _ The U.S. Postal Service will issue a special commemorative stamp honoring those who served in Operation Desert Storm. The 29-cent stamps, which will go on sale in July, feature the Southwest Asia service medal, authorized in March for troops serving in the war.

Conn. city files bankruptcy

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. _ The city of Bridgeport filed for federal bankruptcy protection on Thursday, the largest city ever to do so. Mayor Mary Moran told an emergency meeting of the Common Council on Thursday night that the city has sought protection under Chapter 9 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. She said day-to-day city services would continue without disruption and jobs would be secure. Bridgeport, with 142,000 residents, becomes the first city of its size to seek protection under Chapter 9.

Cameraman seeks payment

LOS ANGELES _ The man who videotaped the police beating of Rodney King has threatened to file a $100-million lawsuit for copyright infringement against television stations that aired his footage. George Holliday said Wednesday that he has demanded payment from more than 900 stations that aired the tape. He has sent each station a letter asking for $7,500 for past usage of the tape and $2,500 for the rights to replay it over the next five years. Holliday's attorneys said he never sold his rights to the tape, and claimed the stations violated federal copyright law by broadcasting the tape without getting his permission or paying for its use.

IRS loses in Scientology case

BOSTON _ The Church of Scientology in Boston doesn't have to show the IRS thousands of requested documents that include financial and membership information, a federal appeals court said. The church called the ruling the first major test of a 1984 law restricting the agency's right to examine church documents. Judge Stephen Breyer, writing for the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, agreed with a lower court decision that the IRS failed to show that 200,000 pages of documents requested were necessary to a review of the church's tax-exempt status.