News In Brief

The Clinton administration was making little headway in its efforts to persuade Senate opponents to OK the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear weapons - or even to postpone a showdown. With virtually no Republican support, the pact appeared headed for certain defeat if, as scheduled, ratification is put to a vote Tuesday. Leading opponents say compliance with the treaty isn't verifiable. The administration has led an international campaign for ratification.

The House began to wrestle with four HMO bills that would empower patients to demand care and take disputes to outside arbitrators. In a leadup to the health-care debate, a GOP-backed bill was passed that is meant to help the uninsured obtain coverage. President Clinton threatened a veto on the measure that, Democrats argue, would help only a fraction of the uninsured.

The National Football League snubbed Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest TV market, in awarding an expansion franchise to Houston, where businessman Bob McNair, must pay a record $700 million entry fee to the league. Both cities had previously lost teams to other cities. Los Angeles was hindered in bidding by indecision on a new stadium site. Houston will begin play in 2002.

Operators of a large coal-burning power plant that has clouded the air over the Grand Canyon agreed to install pollution-control equipment. The agreement, worked out with two environmental groups, means the Mohave Generating Station, 75 miles from the national landmark in Laughlin, Nev., will invest $300 million over the next seven years.

Environmental regulations to reduce acid rain are working, but recovery of North American lakes and streams hasn't yet followed, according to a new EPA study published in the journal Nature.

Although the National Archives are expected to release hundreds of documents today relating to US involvement in the military rule in Chile, researchers and relatives of human rights abuses accused the CIA of continuing to withhold important information about support of the regime of former dictator Augusto Pinochet. In London, meanwhile, a decision on whether to extradite Pinochet, currently under house arrest there, to Spain for trial on human-rights-abuse charges is expected today.

In challenging Microsoft, the Justice Department acknowledged it has spent $13.3 million over the last decade, including $7 million investigating and suing the software giant. The government's first public accounting was made with a two-part verdict pending in an antitrust trial against Microsoft. Expert observers called the government's expenditures modest for a case of that significance.

New, supersized sport utility vehicles will have to meet more stringent car-type emission standards if regulations, just proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, are enacted. The EPA's proposal would close a loophole that some observers said was encouraging the manufacture of SUVs that weigh 8,500 pounds or more.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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