News In Brief

The search continued for John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, and her sister, who apparently crashed at sea. Kennedy's Piper 32 Saratoga disappeared Friday night on its way from New Jersey to Martha's Vineyard, Mass. He received a pilot's license in April 1998, and flying was considered his passion, along with "George," the magazine he founded and edited. The couple was to attend the wedding in Hyannisport of Rory Kennedy, youngest daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and a cousin of John Jr.

The nation's violent-crime rate fell 7 percent in 1998, reaching the lowest level since surveys began 26 years ago, the Justice Department reported. An estimated 37 violent crimes per 1,000 residents 12 years or older occurred last year, it said. The figures do not include murders. The FBI reported earlier that murders declined 8 percent last year. The report was based on interviews with 80,000 Americans.

A Republican congressman from New York switched allegiance to the Democrats. Rep. Michael Forbes, who represents part of Long Island, accused the GOP of becoming "intolerant" and "tone-deaf to the concerns of a vast majority of Americans." It was the first such loss for Republicans since taking control of Congress five years ago. They now hold 222 seats in the House, which has 211 Democrats and one independent. Above, Forbes explains his decision to reporters in New York.

President Clinton vowed to veto a GOP "patients' bill of rights" passed by the Senate. Designed to protect people from overly zealous cost-cutting in managed health care, the bill would expand access to emergency rooms, specialist care, and appeals. It contains tax breaks to make health insurance more affordable, especially for the self-employed. Democrats said it covers too few people and gives too much power to insurers rather than doctors and their patients.

George W. Bush said he will forgo federal matching funds and the spending limits that go with them. The GOP presidential front-runner has taken in about 10 times more money than any of his nine party rivals. Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Bush may be "unintentionally adding to the already widespread cynicism of the American people regarding the influence of special-interest money in politics."

Meanwhile, McCain has moved into second place in New Hampshire in his bid for the GOP nomination, a new poll indicated. A survey by the nonpartisan American Research Group found 13 percent of respondents supporting McCain, up from 10 percent in June. McCain still trailed Bush, whose support rose to 47 percent from 38 percent. Elizabeth Dole slipped from second to fourth place with 7 percent support, down from 15 percent in June. Pat Buchanan was third with 9 percent, up from 5 percent.

Former Sen. Bill Bradley is closing in on Vice President Al Gore in the money-derby that is a key part of their race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Campaign reports showed Gore raising far more than Bradley over the first six months of the year - about $17.5 million to $11.7 million - but also spending far more. As of June 30, Gore had on hand only about $2 million more than Bradley.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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