National Digest


May 12, 2004

WASHINGTON — Government plans to build fastest civilian computer

WASHINGTON - Viewing supercomputers as crucial to scientific discovery, the Energy Department will announce plans today to build the world's fastest civilian computer at a research laboratory in Tennessee.

The supercomputer to be built at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be funded over the initial two years by federal grants totaling $50 million. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham was to make the formal announcement in a speech today. The Associated Press obtained a copy of Abraham's announcement yesterday.

There are faster computers being developed specifically for the government's nuclear weapons program - to simulate forces in a nuclear explosion - but those are not used for general scientific research, department officials said last night. The project submitted by Oak Ridge scientists envisions a computer capable of 50 trillion calculations per second.

Illinois governor says he'll veto Chicago casino

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich said yesterday that he opposes Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's proposal to build a giant casino near downtown Chicago, and he promised to veto any such legislation.

The Democratic governor said that gambling in Illinois is limited to a few cities that need an economic boost. The state has nine operating casinos, four of them on the outskirts of Chicago but none in the city.

"I oppose it because when it comes to the state budget, there are no quick fixes," Blagojevich said. "It's not my vision for the kind of state Illinois should be." Daley was out of town yesterday, and his spokeswoman had no immediate response to the governor's remarks.

Cheney says heart check finds `everything great'

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney, who had a pacemaker fitted after the 2000 election, underwent his annual heart check yesterday and said that no problem was found.

"Of course the docs watch my health very carefully because of my history. But I went in today for my annual cardiac checkup, where we do a treadmill and an echocardiogram, stress test and so forth. Everything went great," Cheney told Fox News radio's Tony Snow show.

Despite his longstanding history of heart trouble, Cheney has repeatedly insisted he is fit enough to stand again with President Bush in the Nov. 2 presidential election. Cheney, 64, underwent angioplasty in November 2000 after suffering his fourth heart attack since 1978.

JonBenet's father files to run for Michigan House

CHARLEVOIX, Mich. - John Ramsey, father of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, filed papers to run for the Michigan state House yesterday, the last day to file for the Aug. 3 primary election.

Ramsey joins five fellow Republicans and two Democrats seeking to represent a district in the northwest corner of the state's Lower Peninsula. Ramsey announced his candidacy at an evening rally in Charlevoix, where he and his wife, Patsy, moved last fall from Atlanta, Ga. The couple has long had a summer home in the community about 230 miles northeast of Detroit.

The Ramseys were living in Boulder, Colo., when JonBenet, a 6-year-old beauty queen, was found beaten and strangled in the basement of their home on Dec. 26, 1996. The case soon became a tabloid sensation, and a cloud of suspicion hung over the girl's parents, who insisted the crime was committed by an intruder. The parents were never charged.

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