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James Lee Witt, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, surveyed several flooded communities in northern California. A dry weekend provided a glimmer of progress for the state as repairs to electricity and telephone service were made, and over 20,000 people returned to their homes. But officials are concerned about melting snow and a forecast of more rain. Flooding and mudslides from heavy rains have left tens of thousands homeless in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Some 27 deaths are attributed to the storms.
Newt Gingrich planned to attend a Capitol Hill rally where House Republicans were expected to endorse his reelection today as House Speaker. Earlier, he addressed a hometown audience in Marietta, Ga., after weeks of self-imposed silence.
A federal advisory panel recommended a portion of the billions of dollars in payroll taxes collected for Social Security each year be invested in the stock market in a long-awaited report. But the 13-member panel couldn't agree on a single set of recommendations and instead issued three competing plans that all recommended investing a portion of the money in the stock market. Government figures show that without changes, Social Security could be broke by 2029.
President Clinton began highlighting his top policy priorities for his second term at an ecumenical prayer breakfast at the White House. He called for a spirit of "reconciliation," and called on religious leaders attending to help create a climate that allows faiths, races, and parties work together. The breakfast was the kickoff to several upcoming events geared toward setting the stage for his Jan. 20 inaugural.
Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company will buy the missile and defense-electronics holdings of Texas Instruments Inc. for nearly $3 billion, beating a rival bid from Northrop Grumman Corp.
A presidential commission studying Gulf war syndrome plans to release a final report today that's critical of the Pentagon's handling of the issue. Its expected to conclude that the majority of syndrome cases are the inevitable results of the strains of war, and few soldiers complaining of the syndrome are victims of chemical exposure, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Supreme Court refused to let New York require some prison inmates seeking extra privileges to attend Alcoholics Anonymous programs that ask them to believe in some higher power such as God. It turned down prison officials' arguments that the program is not an unlawful government endorsement of religion. The court also rejected the GOP's free-speech challenge to federal rules requiring political committees to encourage greater disclosure by campaign contributors. And it ruled that judges may lengthen sentences of convicted defendants based on charges of which they were acquitted. The decision relates to a case where a man was convicted of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute. He was acquitted of charges that he used or carried a gun during the offense, but a federal judge took gun possession into consideration when sentencing him to a longer prison term.
The tobacco industry's secrecy probably delayed tough government action to curb smoking by decades, a former top researcher with the National Institute on Drug Abuse said. Jack Henningfield statement is included in papers filed in connection with a lawsuit Florida filed against the tobacco industry, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster and Ford Expedition were named car and truck of the year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority were set to sign a deal to increase the number of international observers stationed in Hebron to 210 from 30. Analysts see the pact as a prelude to a self-rule deal for the West bank town. And Israeli government sources confirmed that Israel planned to hand over 2 percent of the West Bank to partial Palestinian control in the next stage. Palestinian officials said that's not enough.
Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney reached an out-of-court settlement in his $37 million libel lawsuit against the Canadian government, his lawyers said. The terms of the settlement include an apology from the government for wrongly accusing Mulroney of taking kickbacks in Air Canada's $1.3 billion purchase of 34 Airbus A-320 aircraft in 1988. The government will also reimburse Mulroney for legal costs.
Serbian students said they received guarantees from the military chief that the Army would not block their seven-week-old prodemocracy protests against President Slobodan Milosevic. Meanwhile, the demonstrators outfoxed a Belgrade police ban on street marches by clogging the roads with a cavalcade of honking cars.