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Kenneth Starr plans to leave his independent-counsel post in the next few months, ABC News reported. A spokesman for Starr declined comment, but an official in the Justice Department said Starr's staff has discussed with government attorneys how his unfinished work would be handled if he left. "We said we would either have to decline to accept them [ongoing investigations] or seek a new independent counsel or special counsel to complete the work," the official said. Starr said recently that he expected the work to be finished before the general election in November 2000.

Officials in Littleton, Colo., were looking for persons who sketched three swastikas at Columbine High School the day students returned to class for the first time since the shootings there four months ago. Two swastikas drawn in a girls' bathroom and one on a retaining wall at the entrance to the school were removed.

A Lutheran national assembly meeting in Denver was set to vote today on a controversial proposal for close unity - but not a full-fledged merger - with the Episcopal Church. The proposal would have 5.2 million members of the Evangelical Church in America and 2.3 million Episcopalians recognize and share each other's clergy and sacraments, cooperate in mission projects, and make joint decisions on crucial issues. Above, Martin Marty, pastor, historian, and co-chair of the panel that drafted the proposal, addresses the assembly.

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Linda Tripp asked that her felony wiretapping indictment be dismissed, arguing in motions filed in Baltimore that Maryland prosecutors improperly relied on her immunized testimony about Monica Lewinsky's affair with President Clinton during their investigation. No judge has as yet been assigned to hear motions - and no court date has been set - so Tripp's trial is unlikely to be scheduled earlier than this winter. Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli denied that his office had used information gathered from federal sources.

A sailor who refused the anthrax vaccine was given a 10-day jail sentence and a bad-conduct discharge after pleading guilty in the first Navy court-martial related to the vaccine, which is being given to all members of the armed services. A military judge at Mayport Naval Station, Fla., also gave Zachary Johnson a reduction in rank. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail, but 35 days were suspended under a plea bargain. Other sailors refusing the vaccine have faced nonjudicial proceedings, in which a commander conducts a hearing and decides punishment.

Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire said he won't seek the Taxpayers Party nomination for president. Smith said he decided he would rather be an independent than join the Taxpayers Party, which will pick its 2000 presidential candidate at a convention next month in St. Louis. A spokeswoman said he would make an announcement in the next two weeks "on the direction of his campaign" for the White House.

The US and Canada should impose a moratorium on sales of Great Lakes water, pending completion of a study on whether there's enough to export, the International Joint Commission said in an interim report. The panel, which helps the nations manage border waters, said a six-month moratorium should extend to both the bulk removal of surface water and to new removals of groundwater.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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