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Former Sen. Bill Bradley formally launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. "I feel an urgent need to seize this moment in history, to strengthen the weak and to challenge the strong to lead us into our full greatness as a nation," Bradley said from his home town in Crystal City, Mo. Meanwhile, Bradley scored a victory over Democratic front-runner Al Gore in a straw poll of delegates at the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades. Bradley pulled 73 percent of some 600 votes cast at the union's annual convention to Gore's 22 percent, a union spokesman said.

New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman stunned Republicans by saying she won't run for the Senate seat being vacated by Frank Lautenberg (D). Whitman said campaigning would interfere with her tasks as governor. She had been seen not only as the probable GOP nominee, but also as a heavy favorite against a handful of Democratic hopefuls, including former Gov. Jim Florio and millionaire investment banker Jon Corzine. Whitman's second term expires at the end of 2001; she is not eligible for reelection.

Twelve Puerto Rican prisoners accepted President Clinton's offer of conditional clemency, an initiative that sparked heated opposition - even from Hillary Rodham Clinton. Though part of a violent Puerto Rico independence group, none of those offered clemency was convicted of a deadly or injurious act. Instead, they were convicted of such crimes as weapons possession and seditious conspiracy. Those accepting clemency agreed to conditions, including renouncing violence. Two of the 16 refused the clemency offer; two others have until tomorrow to accept or reject it.

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Two New Jersey state troopers were charged with attempted murder in the shooting of black and Hispanic men on the New Jersey Turnpike - an incident that fueled a national debate last year over racial profiling. The troopers are accused of firing into a van containing four young men on their way to a basketball tryout in North Carolina. Three were wounded; all have filed civil-rights and injury lawsuits against the troopers and the state.

The nation's largest gun show was in jeopardy after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave final approval to an ordinance banning the sale of firearms and ammunition on county-owned property. The statute, approved on a 3-2 vote, will be challenged in court by the Great Western Gun Show. It was tentatively approved Aug. 24, two weeks after the slaying of a letter carrier and a related shooting spree at a Jewish community center that wounded five people.

Former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of lying to the FBI. Under a plea accord with independent counsel David Barrett, Cisneros, paid a $10,000 fine. He faces no jail time or probation. In December 1997, Cisneros - along with Linda Jones and two of his aides - was named in a 21-count indictment charging they conspired during his consideration for a Cabinet post to conceal the scope of his financial support for Ms. Jones after their extramarital affair ended.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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