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NEWS CAPSULES

Around the world

PROTESTS: Jewish settlers took their protests from the West Bank to Israel itself Wednesday, clogging roads across Israel during evening rush hour and stopping traffic on the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway for 20 minutes. Police reopened the road 20 minutes later after protesters scuffled with motorists and an Associated Press television crew. Other demonstrators caused traffic jams in more than 20 places around the country.VISIT: A U.S. diplomat Wednesday visited jailed Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu for only the second time since he was arrested in China and accused of espionage. "He appeared to be in good health and reasonably good spirits," said U.S. Embassy spokesman Rob Laing.

Across the nation

SWEATSHOP: Two big retail chains, Montgomery Ward and Mervyn's, are being investigated in connection with a sweatshop in El Monte, Calif., where dozens of Thai nationals were discovered working in virtual slavery. A subpoena has been issued to Mervyn's department store, state officials said Tuesday, and they are preparing to serve others to Montgomery Ward. The companies' addresses were discovered on shipping labels on boxes of garments found during last week's raid of three apartments converted into a mill that authorities said did business as SK Fashions.

HEAT WAVE: Two weeks of broiling temperatures in Southern California's Imperial Valley have killed at least 16 people, many of them elderly, authorities said. Temperatures have reached at least 112 degrees each day and once reached 124 degrees, the hottest ever recorded in the region 120 miles east of San Diego.

FLOODING: Floodwaters began receding Wednesday after nearly a foot of rain fell in western and central Ohio, forcing hundreds to flee and leaving at least 150 homes and businesses damaged. More damage would probably be found as the water receded, said Nancy Dragani, a spokeswoman for the state Emergency Management Agency.

LABELS: In about two months, consumers will notice a new label on the side of some cigarette packages saying "Underage Sale Prohibited." Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest tobacco company, announced the new labels Tuesday as the government debates whether it should regulate tobacco as an addictive drug.

In Washington

SECURITY: The nation's airlines are moving to tighten security at airports across the nation in the wake of a warning from the Federal Aviation Administration. Security reviews are also being requested for other forms of mass transportation, the Transportation Department announced Wednesday. Transportation Secretary Federico Pena said he had no reports of a specific threat but added that the increased precautions are "based on information provided by federal law enforcement and intelligence agen- cies which I am not at liberty to discuss."