News In Brief

A State Department report on human-rights abuses in China increased pressures on the Clinton administration to support an international resolution condemning Beijing, even as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was preparing to meet with Chinese leaders. The report said Beijing's human-rights record deteriorated sharply late last year after some earlier signs of improvement. The Senate voted 99-to-0 late last week to encourage the administration to support a resolution condemning China at a UN Human Rights Commission meeting next month in Geneva.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said he would not seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2000, eliminating another potential challenger to Vice President Al Gore. Kerry cited fund-raising concerns and party unity as major factors in his decision not to run. Former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley is the only Democrat to officially launch a campaign to oppose Gore for the nomination.

President Clinton certified Mexico and Colombia as fully cooperating in US counternarcotics efforts. Colombia had been listed as uncooperative last year in the annual evaluation of drug-problem countries. The Mexico decision touched off criticism in Congress, where some lawmakers seem exasperated by Mexico's inability to stem the flow of narcotics into the US.

In a new study, children of working mothers tested no worse than children of mothers who stay at home. The report, published in the American Psychological Association journal, Developmental Psychology, used data from 12,600 people interviewed every year since 1979 when they were between 14 and 22. Their children were tested for compliance, behavior problems, cognitive development, self-esteem, and academic achievement. Even those whose mothers worked outside the home during the first three years of their lives didn't test significantly different from children whose mothers did not.

Cigars should carry health-warning labels similar to cigarettes, the Health and Human Services Department recommended. It urged the Federal Trade Commission to require cigar manufacturers to affix warnings from the surgeon general on the labels. Most cigarmakers already include a warning required in California. The FTC has been considering the cigar-label issue since last April.

The Transportation Department will require new child-safety seats to have a standard three-point attachment system - and all new cars and light trucks to have two of them in their back seats by 2000, Clinton said. During a three-year phase-in, the seats will also be compatible with regular seat belts. The new rules will prevent up to 50 deaths a year, the White House estimated.

The head of one of the nation's most-influential black denominations was found guilty of swindling millions of dollars from firms seeking to do business with his followers. The Rev. Henry Lyons, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, was also found guilty of theft in the disappearance of almost $250,000 from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, money intended to rebuild burned-out black churches in the South. The jury in Largo, Fla., acquitted codefendant Bernice Edwards.

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