News In Brief

The us is drawing up rules for buying back its own debt, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers announced. He said no final decision had been taken on the historically rare step, but the government hopes to have buy-back rules in place by Jan. 1, 2000. Buybacks are seen as a way of dealing with mounting federal surpluses and using them to save the government money on financing costs.

Top congressional Republicans agreed on a $792 billion tax-cut plan, setting the stage for its passage by the end of the week - and for a certain presidential veto. The measure would trim all five income-tax rates by 1 percent, lower capital gains taxes for individuals, provide special tax breaks to businesses, and ease the so-called marriage-tax penalty. House conservatives agreed to abandoned an across-the-board income-tax cut of 10 percent. And to satisfy GOP moderates in the House, the Senate agreed to make tax cuts contingent on progress in reducing the national debt.

Violent acts by high school students declined between 1991 and 1997, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported. The study, based on data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that 42.5 percent of high school students said in 1991 that they had been in a fight during the previous year; the figure in 1997 was 36.6 percent. Also, in 1991 about 26 percent of the students said they had carried a weapon in the previous month; that rate dropped to 18.3 percent in 1997. Despite the progress, the authors said youth violence is still at "historically high levels."

In the first criminal case arising from the Salt Lake City Olympics scandal, a businessman pleaded guilty to misdemeanor tax fraud. David Simmons admitted helping the son of an International Olympic Committee member from South Korea obtain permanent-resident status by setting up a sham job at a now-defunct firm for the purpose of influencing the father's vote in favor of awarding the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City.

Iraq has moved more antiaircraft missiles into the southern no-fly zone patrolled by US and British aircraft, posing a possible increase in risk to allied pilots, the Defense Department said. Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, US warplanes bombed Iraqi antiaircraft-artillery sites after coming under fire in the northern no-fly zone. All planes left the area safely, and damage to the Iraqi sites was being assessed. It was the 67th time US planes had bombed Iraqi sites in the northern no-fly zone since Dec. 28, when Iraqi forces began challenging allied planes.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been invited to Seattle for the fall meeting of the World Trade Organization by Rep. Jim McDermott (D) and most of the City Council. McDermott said he wanted Castro to know he would be welcome in Seattle for the Nov. 30 meeting. The State Department has said it doesn't know whether Castro plans to attend.

Mississippi voters nominated Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) and former US Rep. Mike Parker (R) to vie for the office held by Gov. Kirk Fordice. Parker (above, l.) and Musgrove (above, r.) were chosen in the state's party primaries from a field of a dozen candidates. If elected, Parker would be only the second GOP governor of the state following the post-Civil War period. Fordice is the first.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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