News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, and Sara Steindorf

Even though many analysts gave Al Gore the edge in his first debate with George W. Bush, the latter headed into their second presidential debate with the lead in several opinion polls. Tonight's event is expected to be a more conversational, informal exchange, with Bush and Gore sitting at a table. Before traveling to the debate site at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., each candidate stepped up attacks on the other. Gore's camp tried to portray Bush as unable to defend his proposals coherently, while the Bush team alleged that Gore repeatedly has made untrue statements.

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether political parties may be restricted in how much they spend to support congressional candidates. The justices are taking on the case, considered key in regard to federal election law, after an appeals court in Denver struck down a federal spending-limit law on grounds it violated free-speech rights. The court is expected to hear arguments early next year.

The justices also agreed to hear the appeal of a Christian youth group banned from using a New York public school after hours. At issue is whether the ban violates the group's free-speech rights and wrongly lets school officials decide what constitutes "religious instruction."

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In a first-of-its-kind encounter, a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il met with President Clinton, who hoped to build on recent progress with a once-bitter rival state. Cho Myong-rok, vice chairman of his country's National Defense Commission, is the highest-level official from North Korea to visit Washington to date. His meetings were expected to focus on North Korea's strategic weapons programs, its status as a "state sponsor of terrorism," and on how to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The chief executive and chairman of Bridgestone/Firestone, Masatoshi Ono, was expected to announce his retirement, with executive vice president John Lampe to be named as his successor, a company source said. Reports of Ono's potential departure have circulated since the recall of 6.5 million tires began in August, although a company attorney said the two events were unrelated.

Two Americans and a Russian won the Nobel Prize in physics, and two other Americans and a Japanese shared the award in chemistry. Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments takes half the physics prize for his part in the invention of the computer chip. Herbert Kroemer of the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Zhores Alferov share the other half for developing semiconductors with practical uses such as for cellphones. Alan Heeger of UCSB, Alan MacDiarmid of the University of Pennsylvania, and Hideki Shirakawa share the chemistry award for developing plastics that can conduct electricity and shield computer screens against radiation.

Amid lingering resentment among Asian-Americans over the case involving nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson announced measures to guard against racial profiling. He ordered a probe by his inspector general and ruled that a contractor can be forced to pay for failing to deal with profiling. Richardson said he's convinced Lee was not singled out because of his ethnic background but suspected such discrimination occurred in other situations.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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