News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, Noel Paul, and Sara Steindorf

Al Gore and George W. Bush each simulated town-hall meetings in practice for tonight's debate, which is the presidential candidates' last face-to-face showdown before Election Day. Both were looking for ways the event, in which they'll field questions from a citizen audience, could break open the still-deadlocked race. Gore planned to raise concerns about Bush's record as Texas governor, perhaps focusing on the state's healthcare program and environmental issues. The Bush camp, meanwhile, was designing a post-debate campaign tour that would try to win over undecided women voters.

Several thousand women from around the world protested Sunday in Washington against poverty and the mistreatment of their gender. They converged outside the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, alleging that the institutions' lending policies discriminate against the poor. The rally was a culminating event of the World March of Women 2000, which began in March in Geneva.

Phoenix bus drivers rejected a contract offer and went on strike, leaving an estimated 110,000 commuters without transportation. No negotiations have been scheduled, said a spokeswoman for the Phoenix Transit System, a private firm that runs the bus service. The union president said workers were satisfied with management's offer of a 25 percent pay increase over five years, but drivers said talks broke down over health insurance, pension plans, and work shifts.

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In a new nationwide study, almost 7 in 10 high school students admitted cheating on tests, and nearly 1 in 6 students claimed to have shown up for class at least once while drunk. The nonprofit Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics said the results were not significantly worse than its last poll in 1998, but it urged parents, teachers, and coaches to pay more attention to teenagers.

The price of attending college is rising faster than the inflation rate, the New York-based College Board found. It reported that tuition and fees this fall at private, four-year colleges averaged $16,332, up 5.2 percent from last year - plus $6,209 for room and board. In-state tuition and fees at public, four-year schools is $3,510 per year, and $4,960 for room and board, up 5.1 percent.

The US and Russia were to sign an agreement that aims to increase protection of polar bears in the arctic region of Siberia and Alaska. The agreement will for the first time establish quotas on how many bears can be hunted for subsistence by native tribes in the region. It also puts denning areas off limits and prohibits commercial hunting and the use of aircraft, traps, or snares to hunt bears.

Pumpkin season was reaching its peak, although some areas, such as parts of Connecticut, were reporting a shortage of the fruit because of cool rainy weather. Nationally, however, land for growing pumpkins has tripled since 1982, resulting in a crop valued at $150 million, an economist with the Agriculture Department said. Above, two-year-old Jake Izzo lays claim to a pumpkin in Exeter, R.I.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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