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Fighting a growing public-health problem, officials in North Carolina advised people in five counties to drink bottled water or boil their tap water. Drinking water was reportedly tainted by overflow from sewage plants and animal- waste lagoons, just as floodwaters have been fouled by fuel, farm chemicals, and manure. Trucks and Air National Guard troops delivered clean drinking water in several counties. Meanwhile bottled water was also being rushed to areas of New Jersey, where a million people were ordered to boil tap water for similar reasons.

Republican lawmakers have decided to restore some funding for F-22 stealth fighters, according to congressional aides. They said GOP leaders ordered negotiators from the House and Senate to restore some of the $1.8 billion in funding the House refused to approve in July. That was enough to buy the first six of the Air Force warplanes. House bargainers have reportedly offered to provide enough money for two of the aircraft. Restoration of funding would be a major victory for the Air Force and Lockheed Martin Corp., the aircraft's prime contractor.

George W. Bush had political help in gaining a pilot's slot in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, The Washington Post reported. Citing informed sources, the Post said Ben Barnes, the speaker of the Texas legislature, personally asked the top official of the Guard to help Bush, now governor and a Republican presidential candidate. Barnes reportedly intervened on Bush's behalf in late 1967 or early 1968 at the request of a family friend, US Rep. Sidney Adger. Bush and his father say they did not ask for aid from Guard officials - and have no knowledge of any assistance from family friends.

Recommended: 3 views on whether states should legalize marijuana

More than half the voters in Washington, D.C., support medical use of marijuana, results of a November ballot initiative showed. The votes were finally counted after a federal judge ruled that preventing the city from counting and certifying them violated voters' rights. As passed, the initiative would allow doctors to inform patients of the option to use marijuana to ease certain symptoms and the side effects of treatment in some cases. Once submitted to Congress, lawmakers would have 30 legislative days to disapprove the measure or it would become law.

The Navy should give up its bombing range off Puerto Rico in five years and curtail bombing and gunnery by up to 50 days a year in the meantime, according to recommendations of a presidential panel obtained by The (Baltimore) Sun. Some Puerto Rican leaders were already rejecting the findings of the panel, appointed after a security guard on Vieques Island was killed in April by an errant 500-pound bomb from a Marine Corps fighter jet.

Delaware Gov. Thomas Carper (D) was expected to reveal plans to run for the Senate in 2000. At a news conference in Wilmington, Carper was to announce formation of a Senate exploratory campaign committee, party sources said. That would set the stage for a showdown between Carper and five-term incumbent William Roth (R).

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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