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As a spokesman declared "there's no timetable" for rendering a decision, Florida's Supreme Court justices weighed legal arguments over the state's bitterly contested vote for president. During Monday's hearing, the justices questioned all sides intensely, notably about how long the state may take to certify a winner and still have its voice heard in the Electoral College. Democrats said that date was Dec. 12. Meanwhile, recounts continued by hand in three counties. Partial returns showed modest gains for Vice President Al Gore. But if the present rate of gain continues, it probably wouldn't be enough to overtake George W. Bush's lead.

Federal safety regulators opened a preliminary investigation into Goodyear light-truck tires that have been linked to at least 15 deaths. The probe will examine 21 million tires that were manufactured between 1991 and 1999. The focus will be on tread separations on Load Range E models, but a complete list of affected brand names and sizes will be drawn up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The investigation could lead to a recall, as happened in August with 6.5 million Firestone tires.

Northwest Airlines, facing a similar situation as its rival, United, won a temporary restraining order from a federal judge in Minneapolis to prevent "illegal" job actions by its mechanics. The workers are in the midst of contract talks. Northwest officials have said delays due to maintenance were up 145 percent, to more than 260 daily during a recent period, just prior to the holiday travel rush. Meanwhile, United said it still was encumbered by delays four days after a federal court barred mechanics at that airline from disrupting flight schedules. An above-average 108 flights were canceled for much of Monday, 73 of them due to "maintenance operations issues."

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Editorial, advertising, and circulation workers at Seattle's two daily newspapers went on strike after contract negotiations stalled over pay and other issues. The Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild, representing 1,000 employees, last staged a walkout at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1936 and at The Seattle Times in 1953. The two papers, which negotiate under a joint operating agreement, said they've hired temporary employees and would count on non-union members and managers to publish during the strike.

Officials declared a state of emergency in Buffalo, N.Y., and the National Guard was called in after 25 inches of snow in a 24-hour period brought the city to a halt. The storm caught thousands of workers and schoolchildren by surprise Monday and stranded them overnight in offices, supermarkets, hospitals, and restaurants. No deaths or injuries were reported as a result of the storm.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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