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John McCain surged past George W. Bush in a fresh New Hampshire primary poll. The Arizona Senator was favored by 37 percent of 600 likely Republican voters; the Texas governor was the choice of 30 percent. For the first time in the campaign, a poll - this one by a nonpartisan New Hampshire pollster - showed McCain leading Bush by more than its statistical margin of error. The poll comes after the first two of the GOP presidential-primary debates that have included Bush.

A Russian diplomat was arrested and ordered out of the country after being linked to a bugging device planted at the State Department, officials said. A department spokesman identified the diplomat as Stanislav Borisovich Gusev, a second secretary at the Russian Embassy. Gusev was released into the custody of Russian officials. Last week, Russia ordered the expulsion of a US diplomat in Moscow after accusing her of trying to obtain secret military data from a Russian citizen.

President Clinton said he wasn't looking forward to his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, moving to New York to run for the Senate. Mrs. Clinton said this week she was starting to pack and hoped to begin moving furniture soon to the $1.7 million home the couple bought in Chappaqua, N.Y. At his last scheduled news conference of the year, the president said they would "have to be apart more than I wish," but "it's something we can live with for a year."

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An Army private was convicted of premeditated murder for beating a fellow soldier to death with a baseball bat - a crime prosecutors blamed on his hatred of homosexuals. The guilty verdict carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison, but jurors in Fort Campbell, Ky., had not reached a decision on whether Pvt. Calvin Glover of Sulphur, Okla., would ever be eligible for parole.

A jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico, found five Cuban exiles not guilty of plotting to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro. The case was the first time the Justice Department had charged anyone with plotting to kill the Cuban president. Prosecutors said the men - some of whom were captured off Puerto Rico on a boat loaded with military gear, including sniper rifles - wanted to murder Castro during a 1997 summit on Venezuela's Margarita Island.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was not the victim of a lone racist gunman, but of a vast conspiracy, a jury in Memphis, Tenn., found. The jurors awarded the King family - which sought only a token sum - $100 in its wrongful-death suit against Loyd Jowers, the former owner of a Memphis restaurant who six years ago claimed he hired King's assassin. The King family hoped the civil trial would point to a conspiracy and convince prosecutors to open a new investigation.

Former Monitor correspondent Louise Sweeney, who passed on Dec. 7, distinguished herself as the newspaper's New York-based film and TV critic in the 1960s and '70s, then turned to feature writing in Washington until 1998. "Louise was one of the paper's most graceful feature writers," said Monitor Editor David Cook. "Her profiles of artists and politicians were vivid and meticulously crafted."

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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