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Congress cleared the way for final budget talks, approving the last spending bill for fiscal 2000. The Senate passed the $314 billion measure to finance labor, education, and health programs by a mostly party-line 49-to-48 vote, despite the threat of a veto by President Clinton. The House had already approved it. Five of 13 spending bills haven't been enacted.

Spending proposed by Republicans for 2000 exceeds 1999 levels by almost $34 billion, new estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office revealed. As a result of the extra funding for education, defense, and other programs, the total of the remaining funding differences between Clinton and Congress is less than $5 billion.

The Clinton administration threatened to veto a GOP minimum-wage bill that calls for a $1 hourly increase over three years while cushioning the impact on businesses with $30 billion in selected tax cuts. The president's version of a higher minimum wage would raise the $5.15-an-hour rate by $1 over two years - and not include tax breaks for businesses.

Recommended: Walter Payton: 10 things I learned from his new biography

Republicans agreed to fund the Wye River Middle East peace accord - but did not commit themselves to the full $1.8 billion sought by the White House to help carry out the agreement negotiated last year in Maryland. Refusal to fund the accord was cited as part of the reason for the presidential veto of the fiscal 2000 foreign-aid bill.

Clinton's friend Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie was sentenced to four months of home detention and three years of probation for violating campaign-finance laws. A judge in Little Rock, Ark., also fined Trie $5,000 and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service for causing the Democratic National Committee to make a false report to the Federal Election Commission and making $5,000 in contributions in the names of others. Trie pleaded guilty in May.

Safety officials were expected to cite pilot error in the crash of a Korea Air jumbo jet as it tried to land in Guam during a nighttime storm on Aug. 6, 1997, aviation sources said. Twenty-six of 228 people aboard the Boeing 747 survived the collision. The National Transportation Safety Board was to close its Guam investigation just as it was taking on a probe into why an EgyptAir jetliner plunged into the waters off Nantucket, Mass., early Sunday.

Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer asked for volunteers to help safeguard student travel to and from school. The plea came after the sixth rape of a schoolgirl since classes began in September. Backers of the proposal said they hope to recruit thousands of volunteers.

Walter Payton, who died in Barrington, Ill., remains the leading career rusher in National Football League history. He gained 16,726 yards in a 13-year career with the Chicago Bears, missing only one game before retiring after the 1987 season. Payton was elected to the sport's Hall of Fame in 1993, his first year of eligibility.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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