News In Brief

Two competing groups were expected to announce jointly today that they essentially have completed mapping human genes. Both the Human Genome Project, a publicly funded international effort, and the private venture Celera Genomics have been working to sequence and assemble the DNA that makes up genes - an achievement that researchers have heralded as a milestone, yet only a first step toward unraveling the genetic code. Scientists have said that understanding the human genome could lead to new drugs, advanced medical treatment of some diseases, and better techniques for diagnosing illnesses.

Delegates to the Green Party's national convention in Denver were expected to nominate Ralph Nader as their presidential candidate. The consumer advocate has been polling at about 7 percent nationally and as high as 9 percent in one survey in California, a state rich in electoral votes. Earlier in the weekend, the party adopted a platform focusing on political reform, human rights, and environmental and corporate responsibility.

Another possible security breach at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico will be investigated by the Energy Department, a lab spokesman said. Two 10-year-old floppy disks containing classified information were reported missing for a day last week, officials said. But this and an additional case, involving an unlocked door, haven't been deemed as serious as the temporary disappearance this year of two hard drives containing nuclear secrets.

Furthering a stance taken unexpectedly last week, the House voted, 215 to 183, to provide the Justice Department with enough money to keep alive its costly lawsuit against the nation's cigarettemakers. Friday's roll call - allowing Justice to tap three other federal agencies for $12 million next year - was one of the few failures the tobacco industry has sustained in political battles in recent years.

The government will consolidate its 20,000 Web sites into one Internet location, President Clinton announced in what was billed as his first Saturday Webcast to the nation. The site, www.firstgov.gov, should be operating within 90 days, he said.

After the 12-member federal appellate court in Atlanta denied a custody rehearing in the Elian Gonzalez case Friday, the boy's Miami relatives were to file an appeal with the Supreme Court today, their spokesman said. The ruling by the circuit court of appeals noted that it would not grant further motions for a stay, and that its its earlier order for the Cuban castaway to remain in the US would expire Wednesday afternoon.

Alaska Airlines' top maintenance official, John Fowler, announced he will take early retirement as the carrier grapples with fallout from the fatal crash of Flight 261 in January. The Federal Aviation Administration is to decide imminently whether to accept the airline's plan for revamping its maintenance operations or revoke its authority to service its own jets.

The Korean War, often overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War, moved into the spotlight as ceremonies marking its 50th anniversary were to begin.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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