News In Brief

By , Joshua S. Burek, and Noel Paul

Hoping to reduce the extent of damage from future Western wildfires, the Clinton administration is pushing for a $12 billion plan to thin much of the nation's at-risk forests, The New York Times reported. The plan, based on a successful experiment near Flagstaff, Ariz., would severely cut forest density in up to 40 million acres of forest over 15 years.

Safety officials ruled out criminal conduct and blamed an electrical fault for causing the crash of TWA Flight 800, which killed 230 people off the coast of Long Island, N.Y., four years ago. The two-day final review by the National Transportation Safety Board ends the longest and most expensive transportation accident investigation in history.

In a finding that renews concerns over biotech crop safety, Iowa State University researchers said they've discovered more evidence that bioengineered corn could harm monarch butterflies. Developer Novartis AG defended the corn, saying the study did not duplicate real-world conditions.

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Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader challenged Democratic rival Al Gore to return contributions from the same drug and health insurance corporations he criticizes.

Gore was set to rebut charges of military neglect from Republican rival George W. Bush at a veterans' convention. The Texas governor earlier accused the Clinton-Gore administration of ignoring military needs.

Bush, meanwhile, raised seven times more money than Gore in July, the Federal Election Commission reported. Both candidates may no longer accept direct, "hard money" since they've taken $67.56 million in federal funds.

A US congressional report warned that Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden may be planning a terrorist attack against Israel. The Congressional Research Service said the presence of bin Laden operatives in Jordan and Lebanon adds to evidence that his organization might try to further destabilize the region. Bin Laden is accused by the US of masterminding the 1998 bombing of two US embassies in East Africa.

The first leader of a Colombian drug cartel to be extradited to the US appeared in a Manhattan federal court, facing charges of shipping thousands of pounds of cocaine to the US and laundering millions of dollars in narcotics earnings. Alberto Orlandez Gamboa, the alleged head of Colombia's Caracol Organization, had been awaiting trial on murder charges in a Colombian prison since 1998. But last week, Colombia President Andrs Pastrana agreed to US requests for Gamboa's extradition.

Seeking to build relations after last month's landmark trade agreement, senior US trade official Robert Mallet began a high-profile visit to Vietnam. At issue in the talks with key Vietnamese trade officials are commercial infrastructure development, economic reforms, and good governance. Congress must still ratify the tariff-lowering accord.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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