News In Brief
Scientists said they'd found possible traces of the "cosmic match" that ignited the Big Bang and created the universe 14 billion years ago. Two detectors in Antarctica discovered minute patterns in a glow from primordial gases, likely traces of the ignition for the Big Bang, The New York Times reported. The patterns probably were created by microscopic processes - energy fluctuations - that were at work when the universe was a fraction of a second old, scientists said.
Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader lost his court fight to bar corporate underwriting of presidential and vice presidential debates. The Supreme Court turned down without comment an appeal from Nader, who had sued the Federal Election Commission to change the way the elections agency governs debate funding. FEC rules allow corporate donations to help pay for national debates so long as the candidate matchups are organized by a nonprofit group. Nader said that system was unfair to candidates outside the two major political parties.
Consumers spent modestly in March but cut back sharply on purchases of big-ticket items such as cars, the Commerce Department reported. Incomes also rose faster than spending. Americans' spending grew by 0.3 percent last month while incomes rose 0.5 percent last month.
Chinese computer hackers began what they said would be a week of attacks on US government websites and business computer networks, in retaliation for the collision April 1 of a Navy surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet. The pilot of the latter aircraft was killed. Vandals defaced Web sites run by the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services, where tributes to the Chinese pilot were posted. Hackers say the attacks could include e-mail viruses as well as attempts to shut down networks and deface Web sites.
The world's first paying space tourist, California millionaire Dennis Tito, arrived at the International Space Station. A Russian Soyuz capsule carried him and two cosmonauts to the station after a two-day journey that began with their launch in Kazakhstan. Tito, a financier, reportedly is paying as much as $20 million to Russia for the visit. He will stay in the Russian Zvezda module through Saturday before returning to Earth. NASA, the US space agency, had opposed Tito's trip for safety reasons. Above, Tito (c.) floats into the space station as Russian Talgat Musabayev (r.) and station commander Yuri Usachev welcome him.
The International Monetary Fund, prodded by President Bush, endorsed a plan to establish better procedures to prevent a repeat of the 1997-98 Asian crisis that plunged two-fifths of the world into recession. At a meeting in Washington, the IMF's policy-setting committee of finance ministers from 183 nations said in a declaration that "strong and effective crisis prevention" will become a top priority.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor