Trimble re-elected to top post in N. Ireland

Trimble re-electedto top post in N. Ireland
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- David Trimble was re-elected today as leader of Northern Ireland's unity government after a bitter showdown with Protestant hardliners who had tried to bring down the province's power-sharing government.
Trimble, a Protestant moderate who leads the Ulster Unionist Party, won with the added support of three lawmakers from a neutral party, Alliance, which represents both Irish Catholics and British Protestants.
That shift ensured Trimble's 31-29 victory in the enlarged Protestant bloc, while he once again received unanimous support from the Catholic side of the house. To be elected "first minister" of the four-party coalition required majority support from both sides' lawmakers.
Today's vote also confirmed that Mark Durkan, a moderate Catholic, would serve in the No. 2 Cabinet post, which had been empty since Trimble resigned from the top post last July in protest at the Irish Republican Army's long-standing refusal to disarm.
Two weeks ago, Trimble accepted the IRA's breakthrough decision to begin getting rid of weapons in cooperation with disarmament officials. His return to office means that the administration -- formed in December 1999 but forced to shut down three times by crises -- now has its best hope of surviving.
Forest fires burn6,300 acres in Tenn.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Gusty wind and extremely dry weather fueled a 6,300-acre forest fire in Tennessee, and forecasters offered little hope that rain would bring quick relief.
The National Weather Service said the earliest chance of possible showers was Friday.
"For now, the weather outlook is pretty grim, and the only thing saving us is that the wind isn't blowing as hard as it was," said Dwight Barnett, staff forester with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Forestry Division.
No injuries were reported in the fire, which is blamed on arsonists.
Forestry officials used helicopters and a bomber Monday to drop water and fire retardant on the flames.
"It has been a pretty breezy day," forestry division spokesman Robert Rhinehart said. "Low humidity, lack of rainfall, frost drying the leaves out. It just adds together to a really bad burning condition."
New cigarette draws ireof smoking opponents
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The company behind Kool and Lucky Strike has started test marketing a new cigarette touted as significantly reducing toxins from cigarette smoke compared with leading low-tar and low-nicotine brands.
The claim has anti-smoking advocates fuming. They accused the cigarette's maker, Brown & amp; Williamson Tobacco, of deceptive advertising that turns smokers into guinea pigs.
Brown & amp; Williamson, the nation's third-largest tobacco manufacturer, introduced its Advance Lights cigarettes in Indianapolis on Monday.
The premium cigarette contains less toxins because of a special filter and a new tobacco-curing process, which represent a breakthrough in cigarette technology, said Sharon Boyse, the company's director of research.
"While there is no such thing as a safe cigarette, the fact that Advance Lights contains less toxins, while still providing a smooth, satisfying taste for smokers, is an important step in the right direction," Boyse said.
M. Cass Wheeler, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association, said profit, not public health, was the motivation behind the new cigarette. "Essentially, Advance provides new smokers with a false sense of security and deters current smokers who may be concerned about potential health risks from quitting," Wheeler said.
Fraternities suspended
AUBURN, Ala. -- Two Auburn University fraternities were suspended Monday because some of their members dressed up in Ku Klux Klan robes and blackface -- one with a noose around his neck -- during a Halloween party.
Delta Sigma Phi and Beta Theta Pi fraternities are being investigated for violating Auburn's discrimination and harassment rules, said spokesman Jim Jackson. The probe began when pictures from the party were posted on the Internet.
"These images are shocking and outrageous, and they are unacceptable," said interim President William Walker. "On behalf of the faculty, staff and students I apologize deeply for the hurt that has been caused for so many by the insensitive acts of a few students."
Associated Press

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