News In Brief

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The State Department notified diplomats worldwide that development of an anti-missile system in conflict with a Cold War-era treaty is occurring sooner than later. The news drew a negative reaction from Moscow, although the White House says it intends to reach a new understanding with the Kremlin shortly. Russia expressed concerns that unilateral US withdrawal from the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty would jeopardize strategic stability. The Pentagon has scheduled its first flight tests of interceptors designed to shoot down long-range missiles tomorrow, and construction of a test facility could begin next April.

Applications for state unemployment benefits jumped last week to a nine-year high, according to the Labor Department. New claims rose by a seasonally adjusted 42,000. A general economic downturn and the annual layoff of autoworkers, coinciding with assembly-line retooling for new models, were cited as contributing factors in the rise.

The Wisconsin state Supreme Court upheld a ruling that bans a man with nine children who owes $25,000 in child support from fathering any more children while on probation. Four male justices upheld the ban, while the three female justices opposed it, saying having children is a basic human right.

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In trying to find 8,000 new teachers needed by September, New York City authorized a $6 million ad campaign and is stepping up recruiting efforts overseas. One of every 10 teaching slots is vacant in the nation's largest school system. Nationally, experts say 2.2 to 2.5 million new teachers will be needed over the next decade.

Wrangling over procedural rules threatened to bog down campaign-reform debate taking place in the House this week. The outcome could jeopardize the Shays-Meehan proposal to trim unregulated "soft money" political contributions.

Astronomers in Washington announced that for the first time a solar-system type of water cloud had been observed around a star other than the sun. Water is considered essential to biological activity, so the cloud observed around CW Leonis, a star 500 light years from Earth, strengthens the theory that life-supporting planets may exist elsewhere in the universe.

The shuttle Atlantis blasted off on an 11-day mission from Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying a $164 million air lock that will be installed on the International Space Station. The air lock, the first designed for both US and Russian spacesuits, will allow the station's crew to exit and make repairs outside the station.

A federal judge ordered Napster to remain offline until it can achieve 100 percent effectiveness in keeping copyrighted music out of the hands of song-swapping music fans. The company claims 99 percent compliance.

Ninety-five workers were hospitalized with breathing problems when a tank valve blew up and released toxic gas at the Solkatronic Chemical plant in Tulsa, Okla. No serious injuries were reported.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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