News In Brief

The long-awaited release of a congressional report on nuclear-weapons espionage by China was said to be imminent as the Monitor went to press. The 700-page document, according to sources familiar with it, concludes that there is little question the Communist regime in Beijing made substantial gains in modernizing its own weapons program because of secrets obtained through theft from US laboratories and meticulous scanning of publicly available information. Release of the report, by a special House committee chaired by Rep. Christopher Cox (R) of California, was delayed for months because of negotiations with the Clinton administration over how much of it should remain classified.

A male student at Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga., was in police custody after he allegedly shot six others as they waited for morning classes to begin. All of the victims were reported in stable condition at local hospitals. At least one weapon, a .22-caliber rifle, was recovered, police said, although witnesses reported the suspect also carried a handgun. Reports said the school is patrolled by one policeman assisted by surveillance cameras, but has no metal detectors. The incident took place exactly a month after the shootings at Columbine High in Littleton, Colo.

President Clinton received news of the Georgia shooting as he prepared to fly to Littleton, where he was to meet privately with the families of victims and some of the survivors of the April 20 shooting there. He also planned an address to students, teachers, administrators, rescuers and others who responded to the incident.

In the immediate aftermath of the Conyers violence, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a Republican proposal to tighten background checks of would-be buyers at gun shows and pawn shops. The vote was 79 to 21. In a major victory for gun- control advocates, Vice President Gore then cast a rare tie-breaking vote to ensure passage of a more sweeping Democratic measure that had been defeated a week before. It would require such checks at gun shows.

NATO bombing of targets in Yugoslavia is working and will continue "until the conditions are met" for ethnic-Albanian refugees to return home before winter, Clinton said. He also announced the reappointment of Army Gen. Henry Shelton as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A record $700 million will be paid by two overseas manufacturers of vitamins to settle federal charges that they conspired to fix the prices that US consumers pay, the Justice Department announced. Roche Holding AG of Switzerland agreed to $500 million of the settlement; BASF of Germany will pay $200 million. The fines far surpass the previous antitrust settlement of $135 million paid earlier this month by German graphite and electrode maker SGL Carbon. They came out of a continuing investigation by a grand jury in Dallas.

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