News In Brief

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President Clinton was to inspect damage left behind by hurricane Floyd in North Carolina. At least 45 people died in storm-related incidents - 20 of them in North Carolina - as Floyd churned up the East Coast. Thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Helicopters and boats rushed to help those still stranded by high waters. Residents in a number of states were still without drinkable water or power during the weekend. Highway closures created logistical problems for those trying to supply food and water to people in shelters and isolated communities. Some rivers were not expected to crest before tomorrow.

House and Senate Republican leaders agreed to spend more on social programs in the next fiscal year. Although details were not finalized, the agreement could mean at least $16 billion in additional funding for health, education, and other social programs - plus billions for defense. The accord brought Congress closer to the White House position on how much to spend next year, and it reduced the chance of a stalemate shutting down the government.

California will provide $150 bonuses per student to every public school that improves its average scores by 5 percentage points on next spring's Stanford 9 test, Gov. Gray Davis (D) said. Stanford 9 exams are used to gauge the progress of California students in reading, math, and language. The state also will offer cash awards of $5,000 to 400 elementary and middle schools that win a reading contest, the governor said during a conference in Los Angeles of 6,000 teachers and other educators.

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A new Missouri law banning a type of late-term abortion was put on hold by a federal judge.

Abortion-rights activists said the statute, enacted over a veto by Gov. Mel Carnahan (D), was written in such a way that it would criminalize more common procedures than the so-called partial-birth abortions. Planned Parenthood, which filed the lawsuit, was granted a stay until Sept. 27, when a district judge is to consider the constitutionality of the new law.

Officials in Los Angeles were trying to cope with a new police-corruption scandal. Investigators said a former undercover narcotics officer has told of handcuffing and shooting a man, planting evidence, lying in court, and witnessing other police abuses. Federal authorities said their own probe into possible civil-rights violations is focusing on a pair of questionable shootings by police and on the beating of a handcuffed suspect inside a precinct station.

The world is rapidly losing genetic diversity in crops, the WorldWatch Institute said. In a new study, the environmental group said scientists are adding pest-resistant traits to some types of corn and other crops, but many varieties are disappearing due to over-harvesting, environmental threats, and a lack of funding for gene banks.

Workers at nine of 12 casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., returned to work after a settlement that ended a three-day strike. A ratification vote was scheduled for tomorrow on the accord, which would allow subcontracting at casino restaurants while protecting workers who would have lost jobs under the old contract, a union official said.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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