News In Brief

A special house panel released a report on alleged Chinese espionage and other efforts to acquire US technology. Classified data on seven nuclear warheads, as well as the neutron bomb, were among assets reportedly obtained over the past two decades. Chinese officials in Beijing denounced the report from a committee chaired by Rep. Christopher Cox (R) of California.

The Senate voted unanimously to fund prosecution of suspected Balkan war criminals. The nonbinding measure authorizes $18 million to help an international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, expand its probe of Balkan crimes, including those committed in Kosovo. In an amendment to a Pentagon spending bill, the Senate also recommended that amnesty for those who might be indicted as war criminals not be made part of any diplomatic settlement to the Kosovo conflict.

Pentagon officials aborted a key test of the troubled THAAD anti-missile rocket system when a target Hera missile developed problems shortly after launch at White Sands, N.M. "This was not a THAAD failure," but "an aborted launch because of a failure in the target rocket," a spokeswoman said. The planned test of the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense system was being closely watched because of a string of failures.

Vice President Al Gore called for more government funding of religious groups that have programs to combat specific social problems. In a speech delivered at a Salvation Army center in Atlanta, the front-runner for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination said he was trying to find a middle way between those who want to impose their religious values on society and those who want to exclude religion from public life.

President Clinton called for expansion of the AmeriCorps program, which allows public-service volunteers to earn money to pay for college. In his budget for the next fiscal year, Clinton proposed spending an additional $113 million to expand the number of participants from 40,000 to 69,000.

Los Angeles and San Francisco planned to file lawsuits against the handgun industry, joining other cities' attempts to pressure gunmakers to control sales and add safety features. Los Angeles city attorney James Hahn told the Los Angeles Times his lawsuit would target manufacturers that are operating with "deliberate indifference" to gun violence.

An influential pro-Israel lobby dropped its opposition to a Palestinian state. A spokesman the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said the move was not an endorsement of such a state, but "leaves open the possibility." For the past 15 years, AIPAC has firmly opposed Palestinian statehood.

The mother of Thomas Solomon, the 15-year-old charged with shooting six classmates at an Atlanta-area high school late last week, tearfully apologized to the victims and their families. A lawyer for the boy said he was taking the drug Ritalin, usually prescribed for children diagnosed as hyperactive.

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