News In Brief

Federal agents arrested several dozen protesters at a military base on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Demonstrators had been camped there since last year after a stray bomb from a US Navy training exercise killed a civilian security guard. The arrests, which took place without incident, clear the way for the Navy to resume training operations within two weeks using dummy bombs. But a referendum is still scheduled for Puerto Ricans to decide the ultimate future of the training base.

US gun companies have broken settlement negotiations in the liability lawsuit filed against them by 30 city and county governments. Gunmakers think a George W. Bush administration might push through legislation outlawing municipal lawsuits against gun companies, The New York Times online edition reported. Bush, however, has not committed to such legislation. President Clinton indicated federal government support may be necessary if no settlement is reached. The suit aims to recover costs related to gun violence.

House Democrats filed a federal civil lawsuit against Texas congressman Tom DeLay, accusing the Republican whip of "systematic extortion." The suit charges that DeLay pressured donors to contribute to the GOP and directed the money to nonprofit political groups that don't disclose their spending or sources. A DeLay spokeswoman called the allegations "baseless."

Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) signed a bill banning gay couples from adopting children. The American Civil Liberties Union already is planning to challenge the measure in court. Connecticut, meanwhile, is likely to pass a law allowing gays and other unmarried people to adopt their partners' children. Mississippi is the third state to adopt such a law.

The Federal Communications Commission began planning enforcement action against Time Warner for canceling ABC-TV programming in seven cities during the May "sweeps" period, when ratings are used to set local advertising rates. Federal regulators determined Time Warner violated communications law by its action, which could result in fines of $7,500 per violation per day. Time Warner is seeking further review of the FCC ruling.

In an effort to bridge the so-called digital divide, the Rev. Jesse Jackson obtained pledges from leading high-tech CEOs - including Intel Corp.'s Craig Barrett - to diversify their companies. The move follows a pledge by more than two dozen companies earlier this month to invest $250 million over the next 10 years toward increasing minority recruitment.

Astronomers have discovered tendrils of hydrogen between galaxies that may account for 5 percent of matter in the universe, a specialized journal reported. Scientists believe at least 90 percent of the universe is composed of elements hidden in exotic dark form that haven't been seen directly.

World figures recalled Cardinal John O'Connor, who died Wednesday, as being a compassionate man whose concern for the poor gave him a respected voice as the nation's most powerful Roman Catholic figure. He became head of the New York Archdiocese in 1984.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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