Hundreds mourn ex-Carter aide

ATLANTA - Hundreds of friends and family grieved yesterday at a memorial for former White House aide Hamilton Jordan. President Jimmy Carter said he would miss his right-hand man for the rest of his life.

Jordan, 63, died Tuesday at his Atlanta home after a 22-year battle with cancer. "I love Hamilton like my own son," Carter said to a standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 at the Carter Center auditorium.

Carter said his chief of staff was a "driving force behind the Panama Canal treaty, the Middle East peace process, the safe return of our hostages from Iran, and every other good thing that we ever accomplished or attempted while in Washington."

- AP

Crane collapse kills Mo. worker

WESTON, Mo. - A crane collapsed yesterday morning at a construction site near a Kansas City Power & Light power plant, killing one worker and injuring three others, authorities said.

The victims were contract employees working on a new coal-fired plant, utility spokesman Matt Tidwell said. About 300 contractors were on the site, Tidwell said.

Investigators were on the scene to determine why the crane collapsed. The Iatan power plant, about 30 miles northwest of Kansas City near the Missouri River, remained open, but the construction site was shut down.

- AP

Anheuser settles with fire victims

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Anheuser-Busch Inc. and a distributor have offered $21 million to settle lawsuits brought by survivors and family members of those who died in a 2003 nightclub fire that killed 100 people, according to court papers filed yesterday.

More than $120 million has now been offered to victims of the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick, including past settlements with Home Depot, Clear Channel Broadcasting, and fireworks makers. The St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch and its Cranston, R.I.-based distributor, McLaughlin & Moran, did not admit wrongdoing. They were named in the lawsuits because survivors said they promoted the concert.

The fire began when pyrotechnics used by the rock band Great White ignited flammable soundproofing foam on the club's walls and ceiling. More than 200 people were injured. The settlement is subject to approval by the hundreds who have sued.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Natural gas leaks

and the threat of explosions kept hundreds of anxious northern Colorado residents from assessing the damage to their homes yesterday, a day after a large tornado tore a 35-mile path, killing one person and injuring dozens. The twister skipped through several towns in Weld County on Thursday, damaging or destroying homes, businesses, dairies and farms.

New York health officials

yesterday warned city residents to avoid an illegal aphrodisiac made from toad venom after the product apparently killed a man earlier this month. The product is sold under names including Piedra, Love Stone, Jamaican Stone, Black Stone and Chinese Rock at sex shops and some other stores.

The City of Vallejo, Calif.,

filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday to deal with a ballooning budget deficit caused by soaring employee costs and declining tax revenue. The San Francisco Bay area suburb of about 120,000 residents became the largest California city to declare bankruptcy.