News In Brief

The Mideast summit at Camp David, Md., ended without an agreement as the Monitor went to press. President Clinton, who had expressed hope Monday of continuing the negotiations after his return from the Group of Eight annual meeting in Japan, "has concluded that the two sides are not able to reach an agreement at this time," spokes-man Joe Lockhart said. Clinton returned to Washington at press time to make a formal announcement, conceding failure but saying some progress had been made. It appeared the deal-breaker was what had hampered the talks all along - the status of Jerusalem.

Ending months of speculation, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush picked ex-Defense Secretary Richard Cheney as his running mate, senior GOP sources said. Cheney, who was heading Bush's vice presidential selection process, is considered a consummate Washington insider who will bring foreign-policy experience and political heft to the Bush ticket. After serving as White House chief of staff under Gerald Ford and six terms as a Wyoming congressman, Cheney helped spearhead the US-led military campaign in the Persian Gulf. Democrats expressed relief that Bush didn't recruit retired Gen. Colin Powell or Arizona Sen. John McCain, both of whom could have given the Texas governor an instant boost in polls.

A week before Philadelphia stages the Republican National Convention, union leaders and Mayor John Street reached a labor agreement that prevented what could have been an embarrassing strike by sanitation workers. The workers secured pay raises and increased healthcare allowances.

Georgia's governor appointed his popular Democratic predecessor, Zell Miller, to fill temporarily the Senate seat left vacant by the death of GOP Sen. Paul Coverdell last week. The move changes the makeup of the chamber to 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats. Georgia voters will elect a permanent replacement in November.

Health maintenance organizations will drop nearly 1 million older Americans from their coverage plans next year, the administration reported. Citing overregulation and insufficient coverage, many HMOs have abandoned Medicare, leaving an increasing number of elderly and disabled Americans off the once-heralded program. Congress and Clinton have pledged to consider additional HMO funding.

Consumer confidence rebounded this month from a sharp drop in June, suggesting consumers are optimistic that the economy is headed in the right direction for the second half of the year. Although the New York-based Conference Board said its index increased by 2.5 points to 141.7, that's well below the record of 144.7 set in January.

A four-day hostage crisis in Orlando, Fla., ended when SWAT team members closed in on the occupied house and found the gunman had killed himself. Also dead was a woman hostage, but a local sheriff said that may have occurred when police sharpshooters fired into the home Sunday. Two children who had been held for the duration of the ordeal were found unharmed.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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