News helicopters collide in mid-air

n PHOENIX - Two news helicopters collided and crashed Friday while covering a police chase on live television, killing four people on board.

Both helicopters went down in a park in central Phoenix and caught fire. No one on the ground was hurt.

TV viewers did not actually witness the accident because cameras aboard both aircraft were pointed at the ground. But they saw images from one of the helicopters break up and begin to spin before the station abruptly switched to the studio.

Television station KNXV reported that it owned one of the choppers. The other was from KTVK. A pilot and photographer aboard each chopper were killed.

Congress sends 9/11 Commission bill to president

n WASHINGTON - Congress sent President Bush legislation Friday to intensify anti-terror efforts in the U.S., shifting money to high-risk states and cities and expanding screening of air and sea cargo to stave off future Sept. 11-style attacks.

The measure carries out major recommendations of the independent 9/11 Commission.

The bill, passed by the House on a 371-40 vote, ranks among the top accomplishments of the six-month-old Democratic Congress. The Senate approved the measure late Thursday by 85-8, and the White House said the president would sign the bill.

SUV in wrong lane hits Greyhound bus

n MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An SUV traveling the wrong way on an interstate collided head-on with a Greyhound bus early Friday, killing the SUV's driver and injuring 46 people, police said.

The bus driver, Cedric Davis, 36, of Stone Mountain, and all 53 passengers were taken to a hospital, with 45 treated and released and one admitted in serious but stable condition. Mayor Bobby Bright said none of the injuries appeared life-threatening.

The other driver, Joseph Rudder, 45, was alone in the SUV, which was headed north in the southbound lane, police Capt. Huey Thornton said. Authorities weren't certain why the SUV was traveling the wrong way.

Arkansas man, 93, shoots robber

n EL DORADO, Ark. - An elderly man beaten unconscious by an assailant wielding a soda can awoke and shot the man during an attempted robbery, police said.

Willie Lee Hill, 93, told police he saw the robber while in his bedroom Wednesday night. Hill confronted the man and was struck at least 50 times, police said.

Covered in blood, Hill regained consciousness a short time later and pulled a .38-caliber handgun on his attacker. The suspect, Douglas B. Williams Jr., saw the gun and charged the man, who fired a bullet that struck Williams in the throat, police said. When police arrived, officers said Williams told them, 'I can't feel my legs and I got what I deserved.'

Products still being sold despite recall

n WASHINGTON - Stores nationwide are continuing to sell recalled canned chili, stew, hash and other foods potentially contaminated with poisonous bacteria even after repeated warnings the products could kill.

Thousands of cans are being removed from store shelves as quickly as investigators find them, more than a week after Castleberry's Food Co. began recalling more than 90 potentially contaminated products over fears of botulism contamination.

The recall now covers two years' production at the company's Augusta plant - a tally that spirals into the tens of millions of cans.

House passes bill pledging money for farmers, nutrition

n WASHINGTON - The Democratic-controlled House passed legislation Friday that combines billions in aid for farmers with money for low-income nutrition programs, defying a veto threat from President Bush over the bill's largesse to crop producers.

The measure, passed on a vote of 231-191, devotes more money to conservation, renewable energy, nutrition and specialty crop programs than in the past but leaves in place - and in some cases increases - subsidies to producers of major crops such as corn and soybeans at a time of record-high prices.

Cheney to undergo minor surgery for pacemaker battery

n WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney will undergo a minor surgical procedure today to replace the battery in the special pacemaker he has in his chest, a spokeswoman said.

Megan McGinn, deputy press secretary for Cheney, said doctors must replace the entire device to replace the battery, and that the surgery will be performed at George Washington University Hospital.