Jury selection begins in trial of ex-radical

Jury selection beginsin trial of ex-radical
ATLANTA -- Attorneys were preparing to question as many as 1,500 potential jurors in the murder trial of the Muslim cleric and former Black Panther once known as H. Rap Brown.
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin is charged with the murder of a sheriff's deputy and the wounding of another.
Jury selection was to begin today amid heavy security and scrutiny from followers of the Atlanta mosque Al-Amin leads and police officers seeking justice for the killing of one of their own. If convicted, Al-Amin could face the death penalty.
Jury selection is expected to take up to a month.
Among other things, jurors will be asked their opinions about Muslims. The trial was postponed once because Judge Stephanie B. Manis said anti-Muslim sentiment after the Sept. 11 attacks would make it difficult to seat a jury.
Fulton County Deputy Sheriff Aldranon English is expected to testify that Al-Amin fired at him and his partner, Deputy Ricky Kinchen, when they tried to serve him with a warrant on minor charges in Atlanta on March 16, 2000.
Kinchen died the next day. English was wounded but recovered.
Health-care costs rose6.9 percent in 2000
WASHINGTON -- Americans' spending on health care rose 6.9 percent to $1.3 trillion in 2000, including a 17.3 percent boost in spending on prescription drugs, the government says.
Health-care spending averaged $4,637 per person, up from $4,377 in 1999, the government said in a report marking what its economists called the "end of an era of reasonable health-care cost growth throughout most of the 1990s."
The report, released today by the Health and Human Services Department's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said hospital spending in 2000 rose to $412 billion, a 5.1 percent increase over 1999. For the first time in five years, nursing home expenditures increased, by 3.3 percent.
The higher spending in all categories was attributed to the increased bargaining power of hospitals and health providers for higher insurance payments and the aging of the post-World War II baby boomers.
Leader of Anglicansannounces resignation
LONDON -- The Archbishop of Canterbury announced his retirement today after more than a decade as the spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans.
George Carey, 66, said he would retire Oct. 31.
Carey has presided over the Church of England during a difficult decade, when it battled over the ordination of women and moves to establish closer ties with other Christian denominations. He tried to end infighting and restore the appeal of a church that has seen its following plummet in recent decades.
"By the end of October, I shall have served 11 and half years in a demanding yet wonderfully absorbing and rewarding post," Carey said. "I feel certain this will be the right and proper time to stand down. I look forward to exciting opportunities and challenges in the coming months, and then to fresh ones in the years that follow."
About half a dozen bishops are considered candidates to replace Carey. The Crown Appointments Commission, a 16-member body made up of bishops and church officials, will hold a series of meetings to decide on two names to recommend to Prime Minister Tony Blair. His choice will then formally be ratified by Queen Elizabeth II.
Probe of weapons ship
JERUSALEM -- The Palestinian Authority said today it will question government officials accused by Israel of trying to smuggle Iranian arms to the Gaza Strip, while an Israeli Cabinet minister criticized the United States for its muted response to the affair.
Israel has accused Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat of being directly involved in the operation, saying he had to have known of the attempt to smuggle tens of millions of dollars worth of rockets and anti-tank missiles.
The Palestinian Authority confirmed that the captain of the ship carrying the arms is an official in its naval unit, but denied links to the shipment.
"The Palestinian Authority is not interested and does not want any form of escalation in this situation," Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo told a news conference. "It is not a Palestinian option to lead the confrontation toward a military one between the two sides."

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