News In Brief

Republicans officially opened their convention in Philadelphia to nominate George W. Bush for president. Among the developments:

*To the dismay of some supporters, Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona released his delegates and urged them to support Bush.

*Bush's running mate, Dick Cheney, continued to largely defend his congressional voting record but acknowledged he might vote differently on certain issues now. In televised interviews, he said he probably would support funding for Head Start and vote for the Equal Rights Amendment with modifications.

*Although planned protests generally lacked punch, the first arrests were made. Seven people demonstrating against a military school in Georgia were taken into custody outside City Hall.

The Democratic National Committee was set to unveil its second television ad attacking the Republican ticket, defying an unwritten rule against negative commercials during the opposing convention. Analysts expected the ad would target Bush's environmental policy in Texas; the first one Sunday criticized Cheney, his running mate, for his conservative voting record in Congress. The Republican National Committee said it would not immediately counter with negative ads of its own out of concern they would mar the convention's upbeat message.

President Clinton defended federal funding for local gun buyback programs, responding to Republican criticism that the funding is illegal. The $15 million, 10-month-old program, run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has paid $3.5 million to repurchase more than 17,000 guns in 70 cities. House Republicans have argued that HUD does not have the authority to finance gun buybacks. Rep. James Walsh (R) of New York, whose congressional panel oversees HUD spending, told The New York Times that relevant officials might be fined or jailed if the program continues.

Chicago's WMAQ-AM, one of the nation's best-known radio stations for 78 years, is to sign off for the final time today. Its downfall came because of federal regulations involved in the merger of CBS Inc. and Viacom Corp. WMAQ will become an all-sports station known as The Score. Over the years, the widely familiar call letters were home to such series as "Amos 'n Andy" and "Fibber McGee and Molly" and some of radio's biggest stars, among them Hugh Downs and Red Skelton.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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