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University party becomes riot

An annual party weekend at the University of Connecticut culminated in a riot early Sunday as students pelted police with rocks and beer bottles and ignited a car with a flaming couch.

More than 2,000 drunken revelers watched as students flipped a car and threw a flaming couch on it, prompting police to disperse the crowd with pepper spray. No injuries were reported.

Three other cars were flipped, some car windshields were smashed and buildings were vandalized. Police arrested 58 people from Thursday to Sunday. It's not clear how many were students.

Several thousand people gathered in a campus parking lot Saturday night, drinking and chanting expletives at police monitoring the party, witnesses said.

State and campus police in riot gear moved in about 1 a.m. Sunday when revelers threw the flaming couch on the 1992 Honda Accord.

Space shuttle repair

working just fine

SPACE CENTER, Houston _ A newly repaired air purifying system was back in operation Sunday aboard the space shuttle Columbia, allowing the crew members to focus on their research mission.

Shuttle Commander Richard Searfoss said, "Everything's working great."

A leaky valve caused the shuttle's carbon dioxide removal unit to shut down late Friday, threatening to cut short the two-week research mission examining how the nervous system develops and functions in space.

But Searfoss patched up the unit Saturday afternoon by just removing one end of a small hose, blocking it with tape to bypass the leaky valve, and reinstalling it.

He said it was like fixing the water hose on his car.

4-year-old shoots, kills

playmate on 6th birthday

GREENSBORO, N.C. _ Two boys appeared to be playing their usual game of pretend gunplay when a 4-year-old boy fatally shot his playmate on his sixth birthday.

Carlos Gilmer was shot in the neck Saturday at the home of his godmother, Beulah Lindsay, who took care of him. The younger boy is Lindsay's grandson, who visited her home regularly.

At the time of the shooting, Lindsay was upstairs preparing a party for Carlos.

Authorities said the boys found the .38-caliber pistol in a purse in the house.

Police did not say whether the gun belonged to Lindsay, but officers said they were considering charging the owner under a state law that prohibits leaving guns accessible to minors.

Sierra Club won't back

immigration curbs

SAN FRANCISCO _ Turning aside a politically explosive issue, Sierra Club members voted to reject a plan that would have put the club on record as supporting cuts in immigration as a way to reduce U.S. population growth.

By 60.1 percent to 39.9 percent, members wanting the nation's oldest environmental group to remain neutral won the mail-in balloting.

"The Sierra Club membership has voted overwhelmingly that birth control, not border patrols, is the common sense solution," Carl Pope, the Sierra Club's national executive director, said at a news conference Saturday.

Las Vegas landmark hotel

to be destroyed today

LAS VEGAS _ Elvis and Priscilla married there. Neil Diamond opened its famous theater.

Wayne Newton and Johnny Carson once jockeyed to buy it. Newton bested Carson but faced national television reports he had help from the mob. He won an enormous defamation suit against NBC but lost it all to an appeal.

Tonight, the famed Aladdin Hotel-Casino, shuttered since November, will check out of its 32-year-old Las Vegas Strip address in a spectacular implosion.

The 17-story, 1,100-room Aladdin is the fifth local landmark to be blasted into oblivion in the past five years, all succumbing to the city's megaresort mania. Since 1989, 10 of the huge hotels _ boasting 2,500 to 3,000 rooms and costing $80-million to $2-billion apiece _ have gone up, and five more are planned or under construction.