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News In Brief

By Ross Atkin and Elisabetta Coletti / January 3, 2000



After a mostly quiet weekend notable for its scarcity of Y2K computer-related problems, the government and business communities began focusing on preparations for the work week and the bringing up of software applications. "Monday and Tuesday will give us the final pieces of the puzzle," said John Koskinen, president of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was so pleased that things were going well that many on-duty staffers were sent home early. Among the nation's 9,000 banks, only a handful of small ones needed emergency deliveries of cash to automatic teller machines. Most of the $50 billion in cash the Federal Reserve printed in case Americans panicked has not been issued. Essential services also were mostly problem- free, although a handful of nuclear power plants briefly experienced "very minor glitches" that did not compromise safety, according to a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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The University of Wisconsin became the first Big Ten Conference school to win consecutive Rose Bowls, defeating Stanford, 17-9. The Badgers, who last played Nov. 13, rallied behind the running of Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne , who rushed for 200 yards and became only the bowl's second back-to-back MVP. Attendance of 93,731 was the lowest since 1955, possibly as the result of a Bowl Championship Series that culminates with Florida State and Virginia Tech squaring off in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4.

Coast Guard crews intercepted more than 400 Haitians and Dominicans, found on a wooden boat a mile from Key Biscayne, Fla. The would-be immigrants were persuaded to abandon their 60-foot vessel and board Coast Guard cutters. They are expected to remain on the cutters until the Immigration and Naturalization Service determines the group's future. No details were available on where the Haitians and Dominicans sailed from. The passengers were told they will not be allowed to enter the US.

Two leaders of the National Council of Churches, which represents some Protestant and Orthodox Christian denominations, are scheduled to meet today with the father of Elian Gonzalez, the six-year-old Cuban boy rescued off the Florida coast Nov. 25. The council supports efforts to return Elian to Cuba and his father, even though his mother died trying to flee the country. The youngster has been staying with relatives in Miami while awaiting a scheduled Jan. 21 hearing of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service on the petition for political asylum filed on his behalf.

The White House moved to distance itself from a business deal involving the first lady's brothers in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Not wishing to be linked to a hazelnut venture championed by a Georgian opposition leader, the Clinton administration has let the Georgian government know that the deal is not supported by the US government.

A US military satellite reconnaissance system was down for three hours Saturday, the Pentagon reported of a Y2K-related computer glitch. Service, however, was restored using a backup system, and a Defense Department spokesman emphasized that the satellites were "always ... under control" and the problem was on the ground, in the processing station," not in orbit. The location of the system was not divulged.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society