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Less than 48 hours after President Bush outlined his tax plan in a nationally televised speech, Republicans brought the issue before the House Ways and Means Committee. The GOP measure would adopt intact most of Bush's proposals about rate cuts, but it did make a few changes, including an acceleration of a cut in the lowest tax bracket. Democrats, meanwhile, unveiled their own, less costly alternative that favors lower- and middle-income wage earners.

Three top White House aides under former President Clinton were to appear before the House Government Reform Committee to testify about his controversial last-minute pardons. Former White House counsel Beth Nolan, chief of staff John Podesta, and adviser Bruce Lindsey were expected to focus on the process leading up to the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. Also scheduled to testify was Beth Dozoretz, but the former finance director of the Democratic National Committee has indicated she'll refuse to answer questions, citing her constitutional right against self-incrimination. (

Washington's governor estimated damages from Wednesday's earthquake would exceed $1 billion, but experts said that past efforts to reinforce buildings and bridges apparently paid off. Little serious structural damage was reported from the 6.8-magnitude quake, which struck 33 miles underground and was centered about 35 miles southwest of Seattle. Only one death was attributed to the temblor, although reports of injuries numbered as high as 250. Bush said the government was working on an aid plan for quake victims.

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For the second time in three days, federal agents discovered a tunnel in the border town of Nogales, Ariz., that apparently was used to smuggle narcotics from Mexico. The 30-foot tunnel found Wednesday leads from a sewer system to a car wash. The first tunnel, found Monday, is 25 feet long and connects a sewer to a private residence. That discovery led to the seizure of 198 cocaine bricks, while 350 pounds of marijuana were found in the second pipe. In all, authorities have found seven tunnels in Nogales since 1995.

About 200 residents had evacuated three flooded towns in northwestern Illinois, but others were refusing to leave. The flooding in Cleveland, Barstow, and Osborn was caused by a seven-mile-long ice jam in the Rock River.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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