News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols and Stephanie Cook

In a heated debate ahead of South Carolina's Republican primary on Saturday, Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain of Arizona accused each other of negative campaigning. McCain also criticized Bush's proposal to overhaul campaign financing, a key issue for the former. The two further sparred over tax cuts and abortion issues. Alan Keyes, the third Republican presidential candidate, tried to keep the debate's tone from devolving into "pointless squabbling."

A small amount of radioactive steam leaked from a Hudson River nuclear power plant, prompting officials in New York State to declare an alert and shut the plant down. But they said workers and residents of the area were not in danger, and radiation measurements near the plant were within normal readings. Consolidated Edison owns and operates the Indian River 2 plant near Buchanan, about 35 miles north of New York City. The cause of the leak was not immediately clear.

President Clinton was considering whether to set aside as many as 400,000 acres of federal sequoia redwood forest in central California as a national monument. The move would protect the 1,000-year-old trees - among the oldest living things on Earth - under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which allows presidents to safeguard historic objects without congressional approval. Agriculture Secretary Daniel Glickman is to report his recommendations to Clinton in 60 days.

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Federal officials are investigating whether the California Institute of Technology defrauded the US government by failing to disclose that public funds were used in the invention of a machine that helps decipher human genetic coding, the Los Angeles Times reported. The device was sold to both the government and private companies. Under a licensing law, universities are allowed to take title to federally funded inventions. But, in turn, the government can use the technology without paying steep fees. Caltech lawyers denied any wrongdoing.

The House passed a bill allocating $6.9 billion over the next five years for computer and scientific research. That would almost double the amount spent on technology research last year, going toward projects such as speeding up the Internet and integrating computer and medical research. The measure now goes to the Senate.

Twelve students at the University of Pennsylvania who were seeking better work conditions for employees of school-clothing manufacturers ended an eight-day sit-in after the Philadelphia institution agreed to withdraw from the Fair Labor Association. Some students claimed the group, which is affiliated with more than 130 colleges and universities, is a not a true monitor of labor conditions.

About one-third of Americans spend five or more hours online per week, a study conducted for the Stanford University-based Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society reported. Of those, 13 percent said they spend less time with family members and friends; 8 percent attended fewer social events. Fifty-nine percent reduced television viewing. The study surveyed 4,113 adults in 2,689 households.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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