News In Brief

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether public hospitals can test pregnant patients for drug use and then inform police whose results were positive. The justices will review a South Carolina hospital's policy, which was discontinued after a lawsuit was filed in 1993. Among other actions, the court turned away without comment an argument by regional phone company U S West that its proposal to sell another firm's long-distance service to its local customers would be authorized by the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The justices also refused to reinstate a $10 million libel award a bank executive and his company won, then lost, against ABC over a 1991 broadcast of "20/20" that allegedly portrayed them as unfairly taking advantage of investors in complex financial deals.

A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 took part in a prayer vigil outside UN headquarters in New York in the aftermath of Friday's acquittal of four white police officers in the shooting death of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo. The event was led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is organizing busloads of demonstrators to rally Thursday at the US Justice Department, which is reviewing the case for a possible civil rights trial. Meanwhile, jurors defended their verdict, saying they believed the officers thought their lives were in danger.

Prices at US gasoline pumps reached an all-time high after the cost per gallon jumped 6 cents in the past two weeks, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg reported. Her Lundberg Survey of 10,000 stations nationwide calculated the national average price at $1.4713 as of Friday, because of high crude-oil prices and strong demand. The previous highest average price for a gallon of gas was $1.46 in November 1990, her letter said.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush swept presidential contests in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, earning 26 delegates to the Republican national convention. The victories brought his delegate total to 93; Sen. John McCain of Arizona has 96. At least 1,034 delegates are needed to win the Republican nomination. The race shifts to contests today in North Dakota, Virginia, and Washington state, where a total of 112 delegates are at stake.

Almost one-third of US companies expect to hire more workers this spring, the strongest demand since 1978, temporary staffing agency Manpower Inc. reported. Its survey of 16,000 businesses indicated especially strong demand for workers in financial services and manufacturers of durable goods.

Americans' personal income increased a solid 0.7 percent last month - the strongest pace since October and the first time since then that income outpaced spending growth, the Commerce Department said. Spending rose 0.5 percent in January, its slowest pace since October. The government also said the personal savings rate rose to 1.4 percent last month, following a monthly record low of 1 percent in December.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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