News In Brief

Republican presidential contenders George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain campaigned across Michigan after Bush's 11-point win in the South Carolina primary Saturday. Facing Arizona and Michigan primaries today, McCain appealed for support among independents and Democrats while Bush focused equal fire at Vice President Al Gore and McCain, after relentlessly challenging McCain's conservative credentials. The latest polls in Michigan showed a close race; McCain enjoys a predictable lead in Arizona.

US officials said they have data connecting a bomb plot foiled just before New Year's Day to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, the Washington Post reported. Citing sources close to the investigation, the newspaper said there may be links to bin Laden's al Qaeda network and an Algerian terrorist cell that attempted to carry out the plot. Algerian Ahmed Ressam was arrested entering the US from Canada in December in a car with bomb-making materials. Officials said they don't know whether bin Laden or one of his lieutenants issued the orders.

After mapping some 43.5 million square miles at least twice, astronauts aboard the shuttle Endeavour were to close out their 10-day mission that covered three-quarters of Earth's terrain. NASA and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency expect the double imaging will create the most precise 3-D maps of Earth ever. Endeavor was scheduled to return today.

A Miami judge was scheduled to hear arguments today over whether a federal court has jurisdiction to decide the future of Elian Gonzalez. The six-year-old Cuban was found clinging to an inner tube off the Florida coast on Thanksgiving Day. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service has ruled he should return to his Cuban father, but his Miami relatives are challenging that decision in federal court.

A new plan for US-African relations will be presented to policymakers, including Secretary of State Albright, this week following its passage at the five-day National Summit on Africa convention that drew 5,000 people. It calls for a Marshall Plan-style reconstruction program among suggestions for debt relief, stronger democracy, better education, and human rights.

Fifty-four anti-sweatshop protesters were arrested at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, ending a four-day sit-in at the chancellor's office. The demonstrators, who had occupied the office for at least four days, listed seven demands, most designed to give manufacturers less sway in factory monitoring accords that universities agreed to a year ago. Chancellor David Ward agreed to one of the demands - a factory monitoring group. But anti-sweatshop students criticized his support as lukewarm.

A larger prison population and a decline in spousal abuse as marriage rates have dipped may be contributing factors to the falling violent crime rate in the US, researchers told the American Association for the Advancement of Science. After a dramatic upswing in the 1980s, rates of violent crime are at 30-year lows, data show, while the rate of imprisonment in the US has tripled. This increase could account for 25 percent of the decline in homicides, they said.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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