News In Brief

Although Florida released official results in last week's presidential election showing George W. Bush ahead of Al Gore by 300 votes, both sides were still vigorously pressing their cases. Legal activity proliferated, with perhaps the most closely watched move being that of Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who asked the Supreme Court in Tallahassee to delay any hand recounting of ballots. But as the Monitor went to press, no counties appeared to be conducting such a count for various reasons. Broward County, however, voted to move forward with a manual tabulation. (Stories, pages 1, 2.)

Copyright disputes between online music company MP3.com and five major record labels effectively came to an end with the resolution Tuesday of the last case, involving Universal Music Group. MP3.com will pay the firm $53.4 million, and Universal will have the right to buy a stake in the Internet company. The other cases reportedly were settled for $20 million each. At issue was an MP3.com service that allows computer users to listen to CDs over the Internet - a concept similar to one promoted by Napster, although the technological methods used are considerably different.

Before embarking on a three-week break, House Republicans and Democrats chose leaders for the incoming 107th Congress. Virtually every officer was reelected, including Dennis Hastert (R) of Illinois as House Speaker and Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri as minority leader. But new to the upper ranks will be Democrat Silvestre Reyes of Texas (above), who was voted chairman of the Hispanic Caucus.

New details emerged about the restoration plan unveiled earlier this week for California's Yosemite Valley. Some 180 acres are to be returned to more natural conditions, and a 3.2-mile section of Northside Drive, a main passageway through the valley, will become a paved foot and bike trail. The plan, which encompasses a number of other changes, now is estimated to cost $441 million, or $100 million higher than previously projected. The proposal was attacked by opponents as a veiled attempt to encourage more development of the heavily visited national park. (Story, page 3.)

Major broadcast networks have included more blacks in their shows but otherwise have failed to live up to agreements made earlier this year to provide more ethnically diverse programming, the NAACP and other civil rights groups asserted. They maintained Asian-Americans, Hispanics, and native Americans are under- represented on ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC shows. The networks, which made the agreements after the NAACP threatened a boycott or legal action, said they are trying to change and cited steps taken in that direction.

In a potential blow to the future of Boston Harbor, the world's largest shipping company has dropped it as a direct port of call, Massachusetts officials announced. The decision by Denmark-based Maersk Sealand, which doesn't affect the company's barge service to the city, comes after a three-month review of operations. Boston is among East Coast ports that have been squeezed by a trend toward using larger vessels that make fewer stops.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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