News In Brief

The Supreme Court agreed to revisit its so-called Miranda ruling that since 1966 has required police to warn criminal suspects of their rights before questioning them. The high court will decide whether a federal law passed in 1968 overturns, or dramatically limits, one of its most famous decisions - even though the law has rarely been cited. The justices will review a Maryland case in which the Fourth US Circuit Court decided the 1968 statute means Miranda warnings are just one of several factors courts should consider in deciding whether statements to police are made voluntarily.

Scientists said they were still hoping to contact the Mars Polar Lander early this morning, but were close to conceding the possibility that the spacecraft may be lost for good. They had received no signals to confirm that either the lander or two probes it sent shooting separately to the Martian surface arrived safely Friday. If there's no contact today, scientists will hope a pre-programmed Thursday switch to back-up communications and computer systems resolves the problem - although "the likelihood ... is not great," project manager Richard Cook said.

Five performing artists were feted at the 22nd annual Kennedy Center Honors gala in Washington. Musical comedian Victor Borge, Scottish actor Sean Connery, ground-breaking dancer Judith Jamison, Broadway actor Jason Robards, and singer Stevie Wonder were honored for their lifetime contributions to American culture.

Homeless people and their advocates in New York began the first of two rallies and all-night vigils to protest a crackdown by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Police had arrested 164 homeless people in New York since Nov. 20. Giuliani ordered the arrest of those refusing shelter after a woman from Texas was hit in the head with a brick in broad daylight in Midtown Nov. 16. The man charged in the case was homeless. The Giuliani administration has also said it will enforce work and other welfare rules as a condition for sheltering the homeless.

Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders were to launch a campaign to abolish the death penalty. Although 70 to 80 percent of Americans say in polls they support capital punishment as a deterrent to crime, the new effort by the National Jewish-Catholic Consultation of bishops and reform and conservative rabbis is designed to remind them of the moral dimension of taking a human life.

Bradley and McCain presidential camps were planning an unprecedented cross-party event to draw attention to campaign-finance reform. Aides to former Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said little had been determined about the joint appearance except that it would be held before the New Hampshire primary in February and that it would not be a fund-raiser.

Four students at a middle school were shot and another taken into custody in Fort Gibson, Okla. Superintendent Steve Wilmoth said some children were gathered outside before the start of classes when a student "just walked up and opened fire on them." All four victims were reportedly taken to hospitals.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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