News In Brief

On the day after the World Trade Organization was forced to delay its opening, officials in Seattle declared a no-protest zone for nearly all of the downtown core. On Tuesday, after morning speeches were scrapped, delegates headed straight into a plenary session, where trade ministers air their concerns. Later, as the ministers dined miles away, police in body armor and gas masks fired tear gas and pepper spray to move protesters out of downtown. An estimated 40,000 people took part in various demonstrations; 60 people were reportedly arrested.

President Clinton arrived in Seattle late at night, after police cleared the streets and Mayor Paul Schell imposed a curfew. The president was scheduled to host a luncheon for trade ministers, at which he was expected to extol the virtues of free trade while stressing that a new round of trade talks should take more account of labor and environmental issues. The president, expressing sympathy for the protesters, said he would meet with some of them.

The Bush campaign unveiled a $483 billion list of tax-cut proposals that would benefit almost every taxpayer. The plan would cut the lowest rate to 10 percent and the highest to 33 percent. It would also eliminate inheritance taxes, double the tax credit for children, allow those who don't itemize to deduct charitable donations, make permanent the tax credit for research and development, reduce the so-called marriage penalty, raise the limits on education savings accounts, and allow retirees to work without sacrificing Social Security benefits.

The government earned a profit of $4 on every $100 loaned to 2 million student borrowers this year, the Education Department said. Responding to critics of its direct loans to students, the officials said running the federal program since 1994 had saved more than $4 billion. The department's inspector general concluded in March that high interest rates could force the government to pay more to make the loans than it gets back from borrowers.

More than 160,000 people were barred from buying a gun in the first year of computerized criminal-background checks, the Justice Department reported. Officials said that figure, combined with handgun purchases barred during manual checks from 1994 to 1998, means the Brady Act has prevented sales to more than 470,000 prohibited persons.

A Supreme Court Justice blocked enforcement of Illinois and Wisconsin laws banning a type of late-term abortion, as the controversy over what opponents call "partial birth" abortion moved closer to an ultimate resolution from the high court. Justice John Paul Stevens acted after the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to temporarily suspend the statutes pending appeals to the Supreme Court. The appeals could take more than a year.

A federal court said Alabama must give driver's license exams in foreign languages. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld a lower-court ruling that required the state to abandon a policy of giving its written exam only in English because it discriminated against the state's non-English-speaking residents. Alabama was the only state giving English-only tests.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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