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National briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 20, 2000

Giuliani names police commissioner

NEW YORK -- Mayor Rudolph Giuliani named Correction Commissioner Bernard Kerik as New York City's next police commissioner Saturday, turning to a former undercover narcotics detective to command the nation's largest police department.

Kerik, 44, will replace Howard Safir, who announced his resignation this month after 41/2 years in the job.

Kerik will be sworn in this week, taking command of the 40,000-member force during a time when crime has fallen sharply. Kerik's challenges will be many and his window of opportunity will be small, with 16 months left in Giuliani's second and final term as mayor.

Pipeline explosion kills six

CARLSBAD, N.M. -- An underground natural-gas pipeline exploded and sent a giant ball of flames into the air Saturday, killing six people who had been camping nearby. Six other campers were injured.

The victims were four children and two adults, said state police Capt. John Balderston. They were members of at least two families who were camping along the Pecos River, he said.

Balderston said the cause of the blast was not known, but he speculated the 30-inch pipeline had ruptured.

"There's no indication that this was initiated by man," he said. "The pipe was well underground, about 15 feet beneath the surface."

McCain recovering

PHOENIX -- Sen. John McCain, confident he would win his second battle with skin cancer, underwent surgery Saturday to remove skin and lymph nodes around areas where cancerous lesions were removed earlier this month.

The surgery at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix followed tests that found no signs that McCain's melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, had spread to other areas of his body.

The surgery lasted more than five hours, his spokeswoman said. He planned to remain in the hospital overnight.

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