News In Brief
Hoping to sustain a convention bounce that closed a long-standing gap in the polls, Democratic presidential ticket Al Gore and Joseph Lieberman campaigned down the Mississippi
River. A Newsweek poll released Saturday shows Gore and Lieberman leading Republican rivals George W. Bush and Dick Cheney 48 percent to 42 percent. Bush, on the hustings in Texas, proposed a $900 million package to aid 185 schools for American Indians managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Both candidates, meanwhile, were set to launch the first major television advertising blitz of the campaign.
Independent counsel Robert Ray confirmed he has formed a grand jury to weigh new evidence of criminal conduct against President Clinton. Ray, who replaced Kenneth Starr as head of the probe, has said he would consider seeking an indictment against Clinton after he left office for hiding his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The news of Ray's decision, which provoked criticism over its timing just hours before Gore's acceptance speech, was leaked by US appeals court Judge Richard Cudahy. He said it was inadvertent.
Soaring oil prices helped push the US trade deficit to an unprecedented $30.62 billion in June, the Commerce Department reported. Exports, led by computer sales, reached record totals as well, and trade gaps with China and Canada reached their widest levels to date. The overall deficit, however, was slightly lower than Wall Street analysts' expectations.
Another Western state declared a state of emergency as wildfires intensified their advance. Wyoming's Jim Geringer (R) declared his state a disaster area, freeing funds to help resources already pushed to the limit by the worst fire season in a half century. Fires this year have burned an area the size of Massachusetts so far.
Recent visitors to the North Pole have discovered a mile-wide stretch of water, where for the past 50 million years, a thick coat of ice lay frozen over the Arctic Ocean, The New York Times reported. Though its role as evidence of global warming is unknown, the discovery of water at the North Pole could become a powerful visual symbol of climate change.
A pipeline carrying natural gas exploded in southeast New Mexico, killing 10 people and injuring two, police said. The cause of the blast was unknown as the Monitor went to press.
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