News In Brief

MCI Worldcom announced the biggest corporate takeover to date, its purchase of Sprint Corp. for $115 billion. MCI had to raise its original offer to $76 per share in stock rather than risk losing its bid to rival BellSouth Corp. BellSouth had offered $72 per share in cash and stock, or $100 billion. MCI and Sprint are the nation's No. 2 and No. 3 long-distance carriers, respectively. Combined, they would have 30 percent of the US market.

House Republicans were moving toward across-the-board tax cuts as an alternative to delaying the flow of earned-income-tax credits to low-income families. Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich said it would take a 2.7 percent cut in pending spending bills to produce the same $8.7 billion in savings. House aides said no final decision had been made.

Former Connecticut Gov. Lowell Weicker said he won't seek the Reform Party's presidential nomination. Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura had been trying for months to persuade Weicker to pursue the nomination. Weicker's withdrawal left only two people who have voiced interest in becoming the party's standard bearer: New York developer Donald Trump and Pat Buchanan, who has talked about leaving the Republican Party for the Reform Party.

Congress condemned the Brooklyn Museum of Art's "Sensation" exhibit, calling in a nonbinding, voice-passed resolution for an end to federal funding for the institution. The exhibit, which opened Saturday in New York, features, among other things, a black Virgin Mary embellished with images of body parts and elephant dung. In papers filed in support of a lawsuit against the city, which has cut off financial aid to the museum, its director, Arnold Lehman, said Mayor Rudolph Giuliani knew about the exhibit's controversial content before he spoke out against it.

Growth of college tuition and fees has slowed down, the College Board reported. A survey found undergraduates at home-state, four-year public schools paying an average of $3,356, or $109 more this school year than last year - a 3.4 percent increase. The average price hike at four-year private schools, was $15,380, or $671 more than last year - a 4.6 percent rise. Meanwhile, Education Department officials said the default rate on US student loans had dropped to 8.8 percent, the lowest level in more than a decade.

Federal Reserve Board policymakers were expected to leave interest rates unchanged. Most speculation focused on whether they would instead announce a bias in favor of higher rates, indicating they're inclined to raise them at least one more time before the end of the year.

A number of labor unions and environmental groups formed a new alliance to combat "misguided" companies and international trade pacts. The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, United Steelworkers of America, the Teamsters Union, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters were among those joining the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment. One immediate target: Houston-based MAXXAM Inc., whose Pacific Lumber unit wants to harvest ancient redwoods and whose Kaiser Aluminum subsidiary has locked 3,000 union workers out of plants in Washington, Ohio, and Louisiana.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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