News In Brief

President Clinton appealed to lawmakers to reject "pressure tactics and the threats" of the gun lobby in anticipation of this week's White House meeting on firearms-safety legislation. Citing the death last week of a Michigan six-year-old shot by a classmate, Clinton said in his weekly radio address he'll push for a law that requires handguns to have child-safety locks, outlines stricter punishment for adults whose guns fall into children's hands, and implements mandatory background checks on handgun purchases at gun shows.

Clinton was to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the historic Selma-to-Montgomery voting-rights march of 1965 in Alabama. He was to be joined by veterans of the "Bloody Sunday" event in crossing a bridge leading out of Selma. On March 7 of that year state troopers attacked demonstrators at the bridge as they attempted to walk to Montgomery. The violence shocked the US and helped initiate the Voting Rights Act for minorities. But in a sign of lingering tensions, white demonstrators organized by a secessionist group marched in Montgomery the day before, waving Confederate flags.

After a panel of the US Court of Appeals in Washington gave the go-ahead, the Environmental Protection Agency planned to proceed with a 1998 regulation that requires 19 states to reduce the drifting of pollution to other states. The regulation is aimed especially at coal-burning power plants in the Ohio Valley that, the agency has said, send smog-causing chemicals into the Northeast, aggravating air-quality problems and acid rain.

The Army has decided to limit overseas tours of National Guard and reserve units to a maximum of six months, The New York Times reported. It said the decision represents an effort to ease the strain deployments have on families and employers. Reservists, who total 564,000, are participating in three simultaneous presidential mobilizations: the containment of Iraq and peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Even students at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., were surprised at their president's public announcement that the school was dropping its ban on interracial dating. The policy at the fundamentalist Christian school came under intense new scrutiny after Texas Gov. George W. Bush, a Republican presidential candidate, made a campaign appearance there last month. Bush also came under fire for the visit and later apologized for not criticizing the school's anti-Catholic and racial stances.

The first national standards for organic food are to be released tomorrow by the Agriculture Department, spelling out what it means for foods to be so labeled. Among other requirements, such foods will carry an approval seal only if they're free from genetically engineered crops or irradiated ingredients. Organic farmers also must restrict use of pesticides, fertilizers, and types of additives and packaging. The rules will take effect this summer. Americans consume $6 billion worth of food labeled organic, often with no guarantee they were grown and processed without synthetic chemicals.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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