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The Federal Reserve opted not to raise interest rates in its latest meeting, citing a moderating economy and steady productivity growth. Analysts said the Fed used upbeat language to announce its decision, which, economists argued, indicates the regulatory body's interest-rate hikes might be coming to an end for now. Few experts predicted Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan would recommend an increase at the body's next meeting Oct. 3, pointing to its long-standing preference to abstain from rate hikes during the final weeks of a presidential election.

Attorney General Janet Reno announced she won't name a special prosecutor to investigate Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore's fundraising activities during the 1996 election. Robert Conrad Jr., head of the Justice Department's campaign finance unit, recommended Reno appoint an investigator to look at Gore's role in fundraising events at the White House and a Buddhist temple. Reno's decision marks the third time she has rejected a recommendation to investigate Gore.

Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush, meanwhile, stated he needed to do a better job of explaining how his large tax cut is a realistic, reasonable proposal. Bush's plan would cut taxes $1.3 trillion over 10 years for all income brackets. Gore has criticized the plan for giving tax breaks to the wealthy and spending too much of the budget surplus. He is offering a 10-year, $500 billion reduction focused on the middle class.

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The Clinton administration released guidelines that would, for the first time, allow federally funded scientists to conduct research on human embryo cells. The National Institute of Health must follow the ethical and scientific criteria stated in the guidelines as it considers the first applications for federal grant money to study the stem cells. Scientists believe information gained from cell analysis could help them treat various diseases.

By a 5-to-2 vote, Georgia's Supreme Court stayed the execution of a mentally ill prisoner scheduled today for the murder of a teenage girl. Two justices cited the court's consideration in a separate case on the constitutionality of the death penalty in their decision to halt the execution of Alexander Williams. The case has drawn international attention from critics of the death penalty. Williams's lawyers argued their client shouldn't be executed because he was a minor at the time of the murder.

Publishers Clearing House agreed to pay $18 million to 23 states and the District of Columbia to settle allegations it used deceptive promotions to sell magazines. The company must change its business practices and offer refunds to customers led to believe that buying merchandise would increase their chances of winning the million-dollar sweepstakes. Publishers Clearing House mails more than 100 million solicitations nationwide a year.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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