News In Brief

A federal judge in Washington ruled that President Clinton and several top aides violated the privacy rights of Kathleen Willey, who has accused Clinton of an unwanted sexual advance. US District Judge Royce Lamberth said evidence had "established that the president had the requisite intent for committing a criminal violation of the Privacy Act" when he authorized the release of letters sent to him by Willey in the midst of the investigation that led to his impeachment and acquittal. The judge ordered White House lawyers to answer questions related to Willey that they previously refused to answer in a lawsuit brought by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch.

By a 6-to-3 vote, the Supreme Court put limits on freedom-of-expression protections for nude dancing. The justices reinstated an Erie, Pa., public-indecency ordinance that requires women who work as barroom dancers to cover certain areas at least minimally. Writing in the court's main opinion, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the ordinance furthers Erie's "interest in combating the negative secondary effects associated with adult entertainment establishments," such as crime. The decision is expected to have broad impact, since an estimated 3,000 adult clubs in the US offer nude entertainment.

George W. Bush unveiled a five-year, $5 billion plan to ensure all US children can read by the end of third grade. It would provide federal money to states to diagnose reading problems in kindergarten and first grade and would help train teachers at those levels in reading instruction. As part of the effort, which would affect 920,000 mostly poor children, the initiative also would push states to create reading assessment tests for pupils in grades 3 to 8. Meanwhile, former GOP rival Steve Forbes endorsed the Texas governor for president.

NASA tried to do too much with too little money, leading to a failed mission to Mars, an independent assessment of the space agency's efforts to explore the Red Planet found. Lack of funding forced engineers to work up to 80 hours a week and limit testing of equipment, its report said. Investigators also said they were "almost certain" that a $165 million Polar Lander probe failed in December because an early shutdown of braking rockets caused it to free-fall and smash into the planet's surface. In response, NASA said it will cancel a Mars mission next year and reassess the entire Mars program.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced new rules for the Grand Canyon to reduce noise caused by air tours, which have nearly tripled since 1987. The wide-ranging regulations would increase a "no-fly zone" to include 75 percent of the park area, compared with the current 45 percent, and would cover parts of the Hualapai and Havasupa Indian reservations. The plan also would cap the number of annual sightseeing flights over the canyon to about 88,000 per year.

Two tornadoes ripped through Fort Worth, Texas, killing four people and injuring more than 100 others. Winds blew out walls and windows, and left shards of glass dangling from high-rise buildings, prompting authorities to close the central business district.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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