News In Brief

REALLY? I WON?

It was a dream come true for 39 prospective graduate students: notification that they'd been awarded Jacob K. Javits Fellowships, which pay tuition plus $15,000 stipends. But it turned out to be a big mistake; they were only runners-up for the federal scholarships. Yet, after thinking it over, Department of Education officials decided the 39 will get fellowships named for the late US senator from New York after all - along with the intended recipients. The agency and a private contractor blame each other for sending out the wrong letters, which will cost taxpayers almost $1 million.

IT WAS HERE A MINUTE AGO

First, the three-foot-long python escaped from its aquarium in a Williamsburg, Va., elementary school when someone left the top unlatched. But even after padlocks were installed, it escaped again. Houdini, as it's been named, isn't considered dangerous, said the principal. But enough is enough: Once it's found, Houdini is to get a new home.

Online voting: Internet users give it their endorsement

In their presidential primary last weekend, Arizona Democrats are believed to be the first US citizens able to participate in a legally binding election by voting online. Whether other Americans may follow any time soon remains to be seen. But if online users have any say, registering and casting ballots online should become a reality. As measured in a recent survey of 10,768 users by Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive, 57 percent favored such voting - recognizing, however, that doing so could have both negative and positive effects. The percentage of respondents who agreed with the following questions in the survey:

It will boost turnout 77%

It will weaken civic values 16

It will widen the racial and income gaps among voters 37

It will increase election fraud 49

Military personnel overseas should be able to vote online 79

I'd definitely vote online in the next election if I could 53

It's still years away because of computer security problems 44

- PRNewswire

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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