News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, Noel Paul and Sara Steindorf

A day after announcing his decision to draw down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by 30 million barrels, President Clinton released $400 million in emergency funding to help families pay home-heating bills this winter. The funds from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program go directly to states, which can use them to help subsidize families' energy bills. Republican critics suggest both moves are intended to help Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, who lobbied for the release, at the polls Nov. 7.

Forty states could lose hundreds of millions in federal funding available to children without health insurance because they haven't used all their allotted money, The New York Times reported. California and Texas are among states that have yet to spend 42 percent of the $4.2 billion provided by Congress in 1997. Under the Children's Health Insurance Program, any money unspent by Sept. 30 will be redistributed to the 10 states that have used all their available funding. Officials in some of the affected states argued the economy has decreased the number of children eligible for the program.

As new polls showed presidential contenders Al Gore and George W. Bush in a virtual dead heat, both candidates converged on Florida to contest that state's 25 electoral votes. Bush accused his opponent of spending the past week "misleading Americans" on key issues and embellishing the facts. Today, Gore plans to highlight his $360 billion Medicare plan in a state where seniors make up one-fifth of the population.

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The State Department suspended the security clearance of Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk while it investigates suspected violations of procedural standards. Indyk, the first US ambassador to be stripped of government security clearances, allegedly used an unclassified laptop computer to prepare classified memos about his meetings with foreign leaders. The suspension comes after a series of past security breaches at the department - and as the US works to broker a Middle East peace agreement.

The first virus targeting wireless computer devices was discovered, the director of an anti-virus software company announced. Vincent Gulotto of McAfee.com in Beaverton, Ore. said the so-called Palm OS/Phange virus did not yet pose a serious threat but could theoretically affect 80 percent of the world's hand-held computers, also called personal digital assistants.

Carl Rowan, who died Saturday in Washington, was remembered as one of America's most visible black journalists. The Ravenscroft, Tenn., native wrote a thrice-weekly syndicated column, best-selling books, and was awarded various honors for his commentary on civil rights. His reporting on race in the 1960s led President John Kennedy to appoint him a deputy assistant secretary of state. He later served as ambassador to Finland and director of the US Information Agency.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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