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In the recount of presidential ballots in Florida, Al Gore had cut George W. Bush's lead to 830 votes as the Monitor went to press. The recount, whose results won't be certified for more than a week, will determine which candidate wins the White House. Controversy swirled around the proceedings, as various claims of voter irregularities surfaced. In Palm Beach County, 19,000 ballots were disqualified because more than one candidate was picked, and some officials maintained those ballots had a confusing layout that put Gore at a disadvantage.

Gore's campaign manager said lawyers were considering whether to mount a court challenge over the Florida vote. At least two lawsuits already have been filed by angry voters. Attorney General Janet Reno pledged to review any complaint brought to her, but said so far she has no reason to "jump in."

Delayed results of a hotly contested ballot proposal in Oregon showed voters rejected the measure, which would have banned educators from providing instruction that might condone or encourage homosexual behavior. The tally was 53 to 47 percent, with 96 percent of the votes counted.

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The $55 million sale Wednesday of Pablo Picasso's "Woman With Crossed Arms" was the fifth-highest auction price paid for a work of art. Christie's in New York conducted the deal, which also was the most paid to date for a Picasso. An anonymous telephone bidder made the purchase.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and President Clinton were expected to have somewhat differing agendas for their meeting at the White House. While Clinton wanted to focus on carrying out the agreement he brokered last month in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Arafat wanted to press the idea of a UN intervention force to protect Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Clinton already has dismissed the proposal; Israel rejects it.

Brown University was poised to become the first Ivy League school to name a black president. A university source said Ruth Simmons, currently head of Smith College, would be named imminently. During her tenure, Smith's endowment almost doubled to $900 million. She also established an engineering program, a first at a women's school.

The master keeper of Internet domain names was to begin accepting non-English characters as a next step in making the Web truly global. VeriSign Global Registry Services initially will accept Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters for Web addresses ending in .com, .net, and .org. Arabic and other languages could follow. Critics argue VeriSign's efforts are premature because the Internet still lacks standards for non-English characters.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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