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Reporter won't reveal source

Published Oct. 10, 2005

A Newsday reporter declined to reveal his sources Thursday to a special Senate counsel questioning him about his articles on Anita Hill's sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas. Timothy Phelps, subpoenaed by special counsel Peter E. Fleming Jr., was questioned in closed session. He told reporters during a break, "We are not responding, except to say we wrote what was written." A lawyer for Phelps, Robert Warren, said the reporter objected to revealing sources on grounds the First Amendment guarantees of press freedom. The Senate is investigating leaks to the news media on the Hill-Thomas controversy and the Senate ethics investigation of five senators who assisted former thrift owner Charles H. Keating Jr. Fleming also has subpoenaed a National Public Radio reporter who made Hill's allegations public and a Washington Times newsman who covered the Keating Five investigation.

VDT law struck down

SAN FRANCISCO _ A judge has struck down San Francisco's ground-breaking law mandating the safe use of VDTs, or video display terminals, in the workplace. The 1990 law was the first city ordinance aimed at reducing eyestrain and hand and arm damage, the repetitive strain injuries suffered by workers who spend long hours typing on computer keyboards. Superior Court Judge Lucy McCabe, ruling Thursday in a lawsuit filed by two small companies, said such matters should be regulated by the state. The VDT Coalition, a group made up primarily of labor unions, said it would appeal. The California Legislature is considering a bill that would require many of the same provisions in the San Francisco law. The ordinance required companies to provide adjustable chairs and video terminals with detachable keyboards. Workers also are to be given 15-minute breaks or be transferred to other work for 15 minutes after every two hours of work on a computer terminal.

Pit bull kills baby

ANCHORAGE, Alaska _ A 9-month-old boy was killed in an apparently unprovoked attack by the family's pit bull. The 60-pound dog clamped its jaws on the back of the child's head as his mother picked him up. The child, whose name was not released, died about an hour after the attack. The dog ran away after the attack Wednesday but returned and bit the boy's mother, Chris Coffman, on the neck and face before it was confined to a bathroom. The dog is being quarantined for 10 days to see if it is rabid.

Briefly . . .

Space station centers dedicated: NASA dedicated new mission control and astronaut training centers for the planned space station Thursday in Houston. NASA plans to start building the $30-billion-plus space station Freedom in late 1995, and hopes to have four astronauts living and working in the station by 2000.

Four die in avalanche: A snowslide Wednesday killed four skiers who were on a volunteer Forest Service avalanche observation team checking the lower slopes of southeastern Utah's Golden Basin outside Moab, Utah.

Fire kills eight: Fire swept through a row house in the southern New Jersey city of Camden early Thursday, killing eight people including five children. The cause of the blaze was unknown.

Former postal employees charged: Four former employees of the House Post Office were charged Thursday with embezzling more than $35,000. U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens said the charges "represent an important step in our ongoing investigation of alleged criminal activities" at the Post Office.