Bush again vetoes expansion

of health insurance for kids

WASHINGTON - President Bush vetoed legislation yesterday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second slap-down of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program.

In a statement notifying Congress of his decision, Bush said the bill was unacceptable because - like the first one - it allows adults into the program, would cover people in families with incomes above the U.S. median and raises taxes.

"This bill does not put poor children first, and it moves our country's health care system in the wrong direction," Bush's statement said. "Ultimately, our nation's goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage, not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage."

Congressional leaders now will try only to extend the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, well into 2008 in basically its current form.

Bush's pick for gun agency

gets flak from Idaho senators

WASHINGTON - Idaho's senators are blocking President Bush's nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, saying the agency has become overly aggressive in enforcing gun laws.

Republican Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo placed separate holds on the nomination of federal prosecutor Michael Sullivan, the acting ATF director for more than a year.

Crapo's spokesman, Lindsay Nothern, said the senator's office has heard from a number of gun dealers, gun owners and others in Idaho who "have concerns about ATF policies regarding gun sales and even [gun] ownership. Maybe the federal government is getting a little too aggressive with people who haven't done anything wrong."

Woman in car with kids slain;

estranged husband sought

PHOENIX - A woman was fatally shot as she sat in a car outside a church with her two children yesterday, and police were seeking her estranged husband in the attack, authorities said.

Police believe Daniel Paulo Parasca, 37, fled with the couple's children, then dropped off their 4-year-old daughter at a hospital, where she was being treated for a gunshot wound to her knee, Detective Stacie Derge said. The other child, a 3-year-old boy, was dropped off at a nearby home and is safe, police said.

Gabriela Parasca, 30, was was fatally shot as she sat in her sports utility vehicle. She had taken out a restraining order against her husband in August, according to court records.

Condom found in sandwich?

That's a whopper, BK says

RUTLAND, Vt. - The owner of a Burger King franchise says there's no merit to a man's claim that he bit into an unwrapped condom while eating a sandwich he bought there.

Franchise owner Carrols Corp. of Syracuse, N.Y., said it "is confident that no Carrols employee placed any foreign object" on Van Miguel Hartless' food, the company said in a statement released Tuesday.

Hartless, 24, of Fair Haven, claims in a lawsuit that he bought a Southwestern Whopper at the restaurant in Rutland on June 18 and made the discovery when he got home and started eating it. The suit, filed last month, seeks damages for pain and suffering, emotional duress and medical expenses.

Alfred Burns, of Vermont's Department of Health, said state investigators "found nothing wrong in the restaurant," but said investigators couldn't rule out the possibility that someone had placed a condom in the sandwich. *

- Daily News wire services