Star Wars fans are a step closer to the Big Show, as tickets go on sale-- but not everywhere.
And shake ups in the Russian government and the U-S Treasury Department-- How could they affect folks here in Virginia?
We'll find out.
News 7 at noon is next.
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Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is resigning, to be replaced by his top deputy.
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White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart says President Clinton will make the announcement later today.
Rubin is a former investment banker who's gotten the credit on Wall Street for policies that have caused the U-S economy to boom in recent years.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is expected to replace Rubin.
[SUPER=03-New York, NY;]
Rumors that he was about to resign caused the Dow to drop 200 points in the opening minutes of trading today, it has since rebounded a bit.
A shakeup in Russian politics.
Russian leader Boris Yeltsin this morning fired his prime minister.
Yeltsin went on television to tell the Russian people that he's dumping Yevgeny Primakov (yehv-GEH'-nee PREE'-mah-kawf) to save the Russian economy.
But the real reason appears linked to impeachment hearings against Yeltsin set to begin tomorrow.
Today, a breath of fresh air for American Ambassador James Sasser.
He finally emerged from the American embassy in Beijing after four days of initially violent protests against the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade... that resulted in the deaths of three Chinese nationals.
Barry Petersen reports.
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[SUPER=01-James Sasser/U.S. Ambassador to China;]
[OUT Q=CBS News, Beijing.]
Expect some delays if you're travelling on Interstate 81 near the site of Monday's fatal tractor trailer accident.
Northbound traffic near exit 143 will be reduced to one lane today and tomorrow from nine until three.
Crews hope to finish cleaning up the accident today and will replace the guardrail tomorrow.
The driver of that tractor trailer was killed when he ran off the road and his rig caught fire.
The son of a state senator has been taken into custody after a nearly 12-hour standoff with Richmond police.
Authorities say 19-year-old Todd Houck surrendered when a police SWAT team carrying tear gas entered the apartment where he had barricaded himself.
He's the son of State Democratic Caucus Chairman Ed Houck.
The younger Houck began the standoff yesterday evening around five-30 when he refused to come out and accept warrants police were trying to serve on him.
Police spokeswoman Cynthia Price says the warrants charged Houck with grand larceny and daytime breaking and entering in Spotsylvania County.
Both of those charges are felonies.
Houck's family declined to comment.
Fairfax County police have removed three bodies found in a backyard bomb shelter.
The bodies have been taken to the medical examiner's office for identification, but police aren't saying yet how the three died.
They say the bodies are so decomposed they're not even sure of the victims' genders or how they died.
The World War Two-era bomb shelter was near the home of a married couple and one of their elderly parents.
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[IN Q=It was a ]
[OUT Q=is a bombshelter.]
A neighbor who was asked to check on the people saw what appeared to be bodies and called police.
American Electric Power and a former contractor will pay a 23-thousand dollar fine for violating asbestos removal rules.
The violations occurred at A-E-P's Glen Lyn power plant in Giles County.
A complaint filed with the Environmental Protection Agency alleged that A-E-P and contractor
Global Power improperly stored dry asbestos during renovations in 1996.
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A Virginia death row inmate's appeal is on the governor's desk.
The latest on the execution of Calvin Swann is next on News-7 at Noon.
And country legelnd George Jones pleads guilty to drunk driving charges.
We'll have more on that in a moment, but first let's talk to Patrick Evans.
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Tonight, a Danville killer-- one who state doctors say is severely mentally ill-- is slated to die.
His plea for clemency isa dilemma for a Governor who admits the state mental health system has major flaws-- flaws he's pledged to start fixing.
Ellen Qualls has more on Calvin Eugene (Swan) Swann.
[IN Q=But his]
[SUPER=01-John Howley/Swann's Attorney; :06 ]
[SUPER=01-Dean Garfield/Swann's Attorney; :29 ]
[SUPER=01-Val Marsh/Alliance for the Mentally Ill; :45 ]
[OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.]
(( But his attorneys say life in prison is all they're asking.
((JOHN HOWLEY/SWANN'S ATTORNEY: FOR 25 YEARS, LONG BEFORE CALVIN SWANN FACED THE DEATH PENALTY, HE HAD BEEN DIAGNOSED BY VIRGINIA'S STATE PSYCHIATRISTS AS BEING SEVERELY MENTALLY ILL. THIS IS NOT JUST SOMETHING THAT HE'S JUST DREAMED UP.))
Swann's attorneys have produced records showing Swann was diagnosed as shizophrenic at least 41 times and as psychotic at least 31 times by state doctors.
[sot 14:16:33 ]
((DEAN GARFIELD/SWANN'S ATTORNEY: MOST OF THE TIME, HE'S SPEAKING IN NUMBERS. SOMEONE TALKED ABOUT IT AND DESCRIBED IT IN VERY POIGNANT TERMS. IT'S REALLY A SALAD OF WORDS. HE'LL SAY WORDS AND HE'LL SAY NUMBERS. BUT NONE OF IT COMES TOGETHER TO MAKE ANY SENSE.))
[sot 14:20:51 ]
((VAL MARSH/ALLIANCE FOR THE MENTALLY ILL: OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, CALVIN WOULD GO INTO A HOSPITAL, BE STABILIZED ON MEDICATION, AND THEN HE'D BE SPIT OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY. AND EVERYTIME THEY DISCHARGED HIM, AND THEY SAID HE NEEDS A STRUCTURED ENVIRONMENT, AND HE NEEDS TO STAY ON MEDICATION. AND THAT NEVER HAPPENED.))
[sot INSERT STANDUP HERE]
((Calvin Swann's attorneys don't deny that he burst into 62- year old Conrad Richter's home in Danville, shot him in the chest, and robbed him. We should also add that the Attorney General's office has some medical evidence that Calvin Swann may be faking signs of mental illness. It's now up to the Governor to decide. Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.)) ))
A guilty plea from country star George Jones.
In a Tennessee courtroom today the 67 year old singer pleaded guilty to driving while impaired in connection with the car wreck that nearly killed him.
In exchange, Jones will serve no jail time.
He will have to pay more than 500 dollars in fines.
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[IN Q=I did wrong that day...]
[OUT Q=ABOUT 12 YEARS.]
A charge of reckless driving will be dismissed in a year, on the condition Jones completes alcohol-related counseling.
Jones crashed his sport utility vehicle into a concrete bridge near his home outside Nashville in March.
People who buy fur in Beverly Hills won't have to hear about how the animals died.
[SUPER=03-Beverly Hills, CA;]
By a margin of nearly 64 percent to 36 percent, voters have rejected a measure that would have required warning labels on furs costing more than 50 dollars.
The tags would have said that the animals may have been electrocuted, gassed, poisoned, clubbed or
stomped to death.
The group behind proposition A still claims a victory.
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[IN Q=This is a win....]
[SUPER=01-Luke Montgomery/"Yes on A";]
[OUT Q=how animals are killed.]
Opponents of the measure say it was just another attack by animal rights extremists who want to hurt the fur industry.
Another call for school uniforms-- Last night, a Roanoke City parent and PTA officer argued that uniforms are needed to promote safety.
Students at the Noel C. Taylor Learning Academy have been wearing uniforms since the start of the school year.
And last night, the First Vice President of the Ruffner Middle School PTA encouraged the board to move forward with uniforms at her school.
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[IN Q=We have been playing]
((WE HAVE BEEN PLAYING WITH THIS ISSUE FOR TWO YEARS. IT IS TIME TO STOP. WE HAVE PEOPLE BEING KILLED. WE HAVE CHILDREN BEING KILLED, BECAUSE OF BLACK TRENCH COATS.))
[SUPER=01-Rosalie Sanchez Motley/Ruffner PTA]
[OUT Q=because of black trench coats.]
School Superintendent Wayne Harris says he's interested in expanding the use of uniforms, but so far he says supporters at Ruffner and other schools have been unable to get 80 percent of their parents to endorse the idea.
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It may be small - but it's still a tax cut.
The new Roanoke budget approved by city council yesterday includes a one cent reduction in the real estate tax rate.
The Roanoke Education Association had objected to the cut, fearing it would divert funding from public schools--
But Mayor David Bowers says the city has increased school spending by 12 percent over the last two years.
The fire that burned a Bedford County store last month was apparently caused by an electrical problem.
[SUPER=03-Bedford Co./April 29;]
The Yard Sale House in Stewartsville caught fire about two weeks ago.
Investigators say the fire started in the flea market's ceiling.
They say it burned for an hour and a half before a tenant arrived and called 9-1-1.
The entire structure collapsed but no one was hurt.
There's one less choice when you head to the grocery store.
Harris Teeter officially closed its doors in this region.
The grocery store-chain sold eleven of its stores to Kroger -- including two in Roanoke and three in Lynchburg.
Kroger will take over sometime in the next week.
Yesterday, Harris Teeter employees said good-bye.
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[SOT 2:01:14 //// 2:03:06]
[IN Q=it was]
((MICHAEL PRESTON: IT WAS A REAL SAD DAY. IF I TOLD YOU I WASN'T GOING TO MISS IT, I'D BE LYING. THE BEST 10 MONTHS OF MY LIFE WERE SPENT WORKING AT HARRIS TEETER.
NANCY HILL: IF I KEEP TALKING I'LL PROBABLY CRY. JUST WANT TO TELL YOU ALL HI AND I'LL MISS YOU ALL.))
[SUPER=01-Michael Preston/Harris Teeter Employee;00]
[SUPER=01-Nancy Hill/Harris Teeter Employee; 10]
[OUT Q=MISS YOU ALL]
Kroger says it talked to 90 percent of Harris Teeter employees about working at the new stores...
Half of those interviewed accepted jobs at Kroger - some opted for transfers to Harris Teeter stores in North Carolina.
Two of the eleven Harris Teeters -- one in Lynchburg and one in Martinsville -- will close permanently.
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The Washington Capitals may have a new owner.
More on that story later in sports.
And tickets go on sale for the latest installment of the Star-Wars trilogy.
We'll find out where you can and CAN'T get tickets early when News-7 at Noon returns.
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Next to the actual opening of the new Stars Wars movie, this is the day fans have been waiting for.
Tickets for "Star Wars: Episolde One, the Phantom Menace" go on sale at 3 p-m today.
There will be three ways to buy the tickets over the internet,
over the phone, and in person at some theatres.
The New River Valley mall Theatres in Christiansburg will be selling tickets today.
But Carmike Theatres in Roanoke will only sell on the opening day, which is one week from today.
Fox and LucasFilm had originally banned advance ticket sales, in the hope of discouraging scalpers, but last month they backed down on that decision.
On Wall Street at Noon, the Dow was DOWN 51 points.
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After spending 200 million dollars to build a new home for his two sports franchises, it looks like Abe Pollin will sell D-C's newest sports venue and the two teams that play there.
And Tech's wrestling coach will soon be grappling with some international competition.
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[COMM BREAK #3]
Washington Capitals owner Abe Pollin has scheduled a 5 p-m news conference about the team's future.
Word of the conference comes on the heels of a report that Pollin is selling the Capitals, a share of the Wizards and the M-C-I Center to America Online executive Ted Leonsis.
Pollin spent about 200-million dollars of his own money to build the M-C-I center a couple years back.
However, his teams have continued to lose money since the arena opened in December of 19-97.
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And another event that puts the pedal to the mettle--
Virginia Amateur Sports and Mike Morris have revived the Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon.
The new and improved version is in its second year and runs this Saturday.
Technology had helped the race double in size to nearly 300 participants this year.
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[IN Q=the internet]
[SUPER=01-Mike Morris/Triathlon Organizer;]
[OUT Q=to a lot people]