News In Brief

Drug use among teenagers fell about 15 percent last year to about one in 10 adolescents - but use among young adults rose to its highest level since 1989, a Department of Health and Human Services study indicated. Among the 12- to 17-year-olds surveyed last year, 9.9 percent said they had used drugs in the previous month - down from 11.4 percent in the previous year's survey. The new poll indicated drug use among 18- to 25-year-olds rose about 10 percent from 1997 to 1998.

A divided federal court gave independent counsel Kenneth Starr authority to continue the Whitewater investigation of President Clinton. Two Republican-appointed judges voted to continue the probe; the only Democratic-appointed judge voted to end it.

A legal challenge to mandatory drug testing of students who participate in activities tied to their regular school courses, was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The nonprofit group said the lawsuit, filed on behalf of Oklahoma students in the Tecumseh School District, was the first of its kind. The district's drug-testing policy applies to any student who wishes to participate in any kind of extracurricular activity - athletic or academic.

The former head of the Texas Funeral Service Commission asked that Gov. George W. Bush be held in contempt of court for denying he talked with the head of a firm while it was being investigated by the agency. Bush later acknowledged he had had a "20-second" conversation with Robert Waltrip, chairman of Service Corp. International (SCI), a Houston-based funeral-home company. But Bush said there was no discussion of the probe. Eliza May, the former head of the commission, says she lost her job because of its scrutiny of SCI, which has donated money to Bush. The agency recommended a $445,000 fine for SCI. May is a former treasurer of the state Democratic Party.

Former Sen. Bill Bradley proposed changes in labor laws to help boost union membership. At a state AFL-CIO convention in Iowa, Bradley called for a ban on hiring replacement workers during union-organized strikes. Decrying a long-term decline in union membership, he said labor laws are tilted against union organizers.

Sen. Fred Thompson (R) of Tennessee said he's moving over to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign as co-chairman. Thompson had backed Lamar Alexander for president, but the former Tennessee governor dropped out of the presidential race Monday after faring poorly in an Iowa straw poll last weekend. McCain did not participate in the straw poll. Above, McCain (r.) seems pleased as Thompson speaks at a press conference in Kansas City, Mo., about his decision.

The head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America resigned following more than two years of bitter infighting with critics who said his authoritarian ways were out of step with the needs of the contemporary church. Archbishop Spyridon, who had led the New York-based church of about 1.5 million baptized members since 1996, submitted his resignation in a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Istanbul-based international Orthodox leader who had appointed him. Spyridon's successor was said to be Metropolitan Demetrios Trakatellis of Vresthena of the Orthodox Church in Greece.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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