News In Brief

As expected, Democrat Bill Bradley announced he was dropping out of the presidential race and and endorsing Vice President Al Gore. Advisers said Bradley plans to remain active in public life and is not expected to rule out another presidential run. Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona announced a "suspension" of his campaign - not a complete withdrawal - because he wants to continue pressing his reform agenda, aides said. They added that he did not plan to endorse his rival, Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

President Clinton sent Congress legislation that would grant China permanent normal trade relations, but the administration's congressional lobbyist on the matter conceded the White House probably does not have the votes right now to pass the measure. Yet, Commerce Secretary William Daley said he hoped enough support could be mustered by June. Labor and environmental groups are fighting the legislation; the administration, business groups, and many congressional Republicans favor it.

With a $1 boost in the minimum wage apparently inevitable, House Republicans are aiming to couple the legislation with a 10-year, $122.7 billion package of tax cuts intended to ease the impact on small business. The House planned votes on both the tax cuts and competing proposals to increase the $5.15-an-hour wage: the GOP's increase of $1 over three years and an alternative two-year plan. Clinton, who supports the two-year plan, opposes the tax cuts.

Some lawmakers proposed the 1993 federal gasoline excise tax of 4.3 cents a gallon be lifted temporarily to help motorists who may be affected by soaring prices this summer. While House and Senate tax committees were cool to the idea, Republican senators said the proposal might gain momentum if prices at the pump continue to climb - possibly as high as $2 a gallon. But others questioned how much good a 4.3-cent difference would make.

The six-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting a first-grade classmate near Flint, Mich., will be suspended from school for 90 days, officials said. The superintendent of Beecher School District recommended that step in accordance with the state's school antiweapons law, said a school attorney. No criminal charges are expected against the boy, who authorities have said is too young to understand what happened.

Money from a $206 billion tobacco settlement with states is being earmarked mostly for local healthcare initiatives, the National Conference on State Legislatures reported. Forty-one states are considering bills that allocate the money for things such as expanding insurance for the poor, children's health programs, medical research, and community health centers.

Almost half of working women who are married or live with a partner are assigned to different shifts, an AFL-CIO poll found. Women with children were even more likely to say their hours differed from their spouses - 51 percent, compared with 46 percent overall. The poll of 765 working women also suggested those taking odd shifts may be on the rise: 28 percent said they do so. Labor Department 1997 data showed 14 percent of women worked such shifts.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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