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Gary Condit ignores questions about intern



Published: Sat, January 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Gary Condit ignoresquestions about intern

MERCED, Calif. -- Rep. Gary Condit participated in a candidates' form Friday, the first time he has faced the voters since the furor over his connection to missing intern Chandra Levy.

"I have been effective on your behalf," Condit told the audience of about 100. "And I'm going to ask you. I've helped you. I'm asking you to help me in March."

Condit shook hands before his address and flashed his signature smile, but at times he appeared uncomfortable, biting his nails and grinning uneasily.

In one of the few contentious moments of the event at The Branding Iron restaurant, Modesto Councilman Bill Conrad, whom Condit defeated in a previous campaign, lashed out at the Democratic congressman.

"Gary Condit should not be in Congress," Conrad said. "It's an embarrassment what he's done this summer, his attitudes and the things that happened."

Conrad's words were drowned out by boos from a handful of Condit supporters.

At the mention of Levy's name after his speech Friday, Condit hustled through a parking lot, ignored further questions, got into a truck and left.

Federal regulators closeMiami-based bank

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators closed a Miami-based bank with roots among Cuban-Americans on Friday, citing worries about its financial soundness.

Hamilton Bank, with some $1.3 billion in assets and $1.2 billion in deposits, specializes in financing trade deals among companies in the United States, Central America, the Caribbean and South America.

Six branches of the bank, with about half the insured deposits, were closed permanently by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a division of the Treasury Department that oversees nationally chartered banks. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver.

In a statement, the comptroller's office said Hamilton had inadequate capital, poor earnings and a high level of bad loans, and concealed information from federal examiners. The bank's management "failed to make significant progress in addressing underlying problems" and its directors did not hold managers accountable, the agency said.

In late afternoon, seven Florida Highway Patrol troopers entered the corporate offices of Hamilton Bankcorp in West Miami-Dade County. Notices from the comptroller's office and the FDIC could be seen on the doors of bank's main branch inside the headquarters.

TV station cancelsnaked newscasters

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- A Bulgarian TV program in which young women disrobe as they deliver the day's top headlines has been suspended, the station said Friday.

"The Naked Truth" will stay off the air until the station's owners decide whether to cancel the popular show, program director Stilian Ivanov said. Plans for the show are to be announced Jan. 20.

The 10-minute news program was launched last month on private MSAT TV, and ratings have surpassed those of state television's traditional late-evening newscast.

MSAT TV did not say why the show was being suspended.

The Council on Electronic Media, a watchdog panel appointed by parliament and the president, has voiced concerns that the station may have committed plagiarism by using the name of a defunct Russian show.

The Russian program -- which featured segments with naked reporters going to parliament to interview politicians -- was canceled several months ago after a drop in ratings.

Nikolai Zheliazkov, a reporter for MSAT TV, said the company's decision was unrelated to the panel's concerns.

Romantic robber

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, England -- Romance and robbery proved a self-defeating combination for a British man who was sentenced to nine years in jail Friday.

Mark Wharton, 31, of Gateshead in northeastern England, was convicted of two counts of robbery.

He was caught because he approached a woman at a bus stop shortly after committing a robbery and tried to make a date, prosecutors said. He wrote his name and telephone number on her hand, and she later made a permanent note.

Twelve days after the first robbery, Wharton used a knife to rob a man of a rucksack and jewelry.

A video camera captured that mugging, and scenes were shown on a television crime program. The woman who had been asked for a date saw the show, and called police, prosecutors said.

No details of the first robbery were provided in court.




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