News In Brief
On the sidelines of the Mideast peace talks in Maryland, Israel informed the US it was calling off its planned quarter-billion-dollar sale of an advanced airborne warning system to China. The deal had represented a major effort by Israel to improve relations with China and expand its diplomatic contacts worldwide. But it apparently reached a judgment that its relationship with Washington took highest priority. The US had insisted Israel scrap the sale of the plane, called PHALCON, pointing to tensions between China and Taiwan and concerns that China could use it to track US planes.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, the nation's oldest black church, elected its first female bishop in its 213-year history. Delegates to the church's general conference elected the Rev. Dr. Vashti McKenzie , a Baltimore pastor, to fill one of four bishop positions. The other three positions went to men. Women constitute at least 70 percent of the church's membership. About 1,800 delegates attended the general conference in Baltimore.
The Clinton administration imposed new pollution controls to protect more than 20,000 lakes, streams, and bays from agricultural and industrial pollution. Under a regulation issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, states must develop detailed plans and a cleanup schedule by April 2002 and implement it over 15 years in areas that don't meet federal water-quality standards. The EPA issued the rules days before President Clinton is expected to sign legislation that would have barred it from issuing them. Critics contend the cleanups would cost billions and take away states' flexibility to deal with water pollution.
Episcopalians rejected a plan to develop rites for same-sex couples, but approved an amended resolution to support and minister to gays and lesbians in committed relationships. The resolution approved by delegates at the Episcopal General Convention in Denver was based on a desire to give unmarried church members in faithful relationships the same pastoral care as other members.
Actors striking against the advertising industry rallied in dozens of cities, in their biggest public display since a labor dispute began three months ago. The protests targeted corporate offices of AT&T, one of the major firms that has made nonunion commercials during the walkout by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. SAG and AFTRA want to change the ad industry's compensation structure to give actors "pay-per-play" residuals for TV ads.
New estimates from the Census Bureau show that 15.9 percent of the population, or 43 million people, moved between March 1998 and March 1999, slightly less than the 16 percent who moved in the previous year. The Northeast had the lowest moving rate among the regions. The South and the West were both above the national average.
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