News In Brief

Al Gore, who was to make a presidential campaign appearance at a New York day-care center, proposed federal incentives aimed at improving the quality and affordability of child supervision. The plan, which aides said would cost $8 billion over the next decade, would require states to establish early-reading programs, increase background checks on workers, and limit staff turnover with pay incentives. It also would increase inspections at centers. The vice president further proposed tax breaks to help parents pay for care or keep their children at home.

Democrats raised $4 million for a congressional fund-raiser in New York, setting a record for a non-Washington event. Joined by a host of celebrities, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gore helped Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to use in November elections. Rangel would chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee if Democrats pick up at least six seats to win a House majority.

The federal judge handling the case against fired scientist Wen Ho Lee, accused of mishandling nuclear-weapons secrets, removed himself from the proceedings. The move likely will delay the trial date set for November. John Conway gave no reason for his decision, in which he also canceled imminent hearings that were to discuss the extent of classified information allowed at trial.

Philip Morris, the nation's largest cigarettemaker, announced it will stop advertising in about 40 magazines that have considerable young readerships. The publications, among them Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, and News-week, have more than 2 million subscribers under 18 or readerships that are at least 15 percent teen. Two studies released last month criticized tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, for supposedly targeting people under 18 through marketing, despite agreeing not to do so as part of a landmark 1998 settlement.

California lawmakers unanimously rejected Democratic Gov. Gray Davis's proposal to exempt public school teachers from state income tax. The $545 million plan was pushed as an effort to ease a teacher shortage, but the measure failed to win endorsement from either of the state's largest teachers' unions. Budget negotiators did approve a package of improved benefits for teachers.

For apparently the 17th time in two months, arsonists struck in Reno, Nev., destroying an empty office within four blocks of the city's main fire station. No one has been injured in the fires, but total damage is estimated in excess of $2 million. Investigators are unsure who is to blame, but authorities released photographs last week of two men caught on surveillance cameras before one of the fires.

Shedding light on a mystery, astronomers announced they've made significant discoveries about black holes. At a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Rochester, N.Y., scientists said they've found at least 33 supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies. Observations from the Hubble Space Telescope have helped some astronomers conclude that black holes and the galaxy around them formed together, with the black holes growing from a diet of gas and stars sucked in from the host galaxy.

The number of Americans in Internet-related jobs surged 36 percent to 2.5 million last year, a study commissioned by Cisco Systems found. But that tally was less than 2 percent of the total of employed US workers in 1999. Researchers for the University of Texas at Austin examined 3,000 companies.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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