News In Brief
The USSkip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The birth rate for unmarried black women dropped to 7.6 percent in 1996 - the lowest level since the US began keeping statistics in 1969. The National Center for Health Statistics also reported a 1 percent drop in all out-of-wedlock births. The center said some 1.2 million children were born to unmarried mothers in 1996, about one-third of all births.
The US net-debtor position jumped 60 percent last year to $1.22 trillion, the Commerce Department reported. Foreign-owned assets in the US rose 20 percent to $5.46 trillion. US-owned assets overseas increased 12 percent to $4.24 trillion. The national net-debtor position in 1996 was $767.1 billion.
Strikes at two key General Motors parts plants cost the company $1.18 billion in the second quarter, GM told the Securities and Exchange Commission. The strikes began June 5 and June 11 at two plants in Flint, Mich. They are the longest strikes at GM since a 67-day walkout in 1970.
Alabama Gov. Fob James won a GOP gubernatorial primary runoff, gaining the right to face Lt. Gov. Don Siegelman (D) in the fall. James drew endorsements from national leaders of the religious right for his outspoken defense of teacher-led prayer in schools and display of the Ten Commandments in a courtroom. With 93 percent of precincts reporting, James had 56 percent of the vote. His opponent, businessman Winton Blount, had 44 percent.
Governors of eight Western states said they hoped to establish a joint presidential primary in the Rocky Mountain region to attract more candidate attention to area concerns. At an annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association, Mike Leavitt (R) of Utah said officials from his state, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming plan to meet to set the date.
A federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., ordered sealed court files in the Paula Jones sexual-harassment lawsuit to be made public. But Susan Webber Wright delayed release of the documents to allow for appeals. The file contains pleadings, documents, and depositions from potential witnesses, including women alleged to have had relationships with President Clinton. They were ordered released at the request of a dozen news organizations.
An increase in postal rates will be implemented Jan. 10, the Postal Service Board said. The price of mailing a first-class letter will increase one penny, to 33 cents. Mail prices will rise an average of 2.9 percent. The Postal Rate Commission approved the new rates May 11.
The Justice Department may assist the State of Oklahoma in its own probe of the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled. The Justice Department said federal-state cooperation would begin July 6.
Ruling that a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military violates the California Constitution, a Superior Court judge ordered the state's National Guard to open its ranks to homosexuals. Judge David Garcia found in favor of a man who claimed he was improperly discharged from the National Guard because he's gay. The National Guard said it planned to appeal.
Residents evacuated hundreds of homes in towns near the Kennedy Space Center as firefighters battled new blazes in Florida's month-long fight against drought-induced brush fires. Residents were ordered to leave about 900 homes in the towns of Mims and Scottsmoor, west of Cape Canaveral. Some 2,500 firefighters were reportedly battling more than 200 fires in fields and scrublands from the panhandle to the Atlantic.
US manufacturing shrank in June after 22 months of growth, the National Association of Purchasing Management said. In a report that may signal a slowing economy, the purchasing managers' index slipped to 49.6 percent in June from 51.4 percent in May.
Winding up his stay in Shanghai, President Clinton expres-sed regret that his tour hadn't produced the agreements needed for China to be admitted to the World Trade Organization. He also said he wasn't ready to try to make China's most-favored-nation trade status permanent. Meanwhile, another senior official said the US would continue to sell weapons to Taiwan despite Clinton's public endorsement a day earlier of the Beijing regime's "one China" policy.
Iraq's official news media accused the US of firing a missile at a civilian water reservoir. A government newspaper dismissed as a "lie" the American claim that the attack yesterday was against an antiaircraft battery whose radar had locked onto a British plane patrolling a no-fly zone.