News In Brief

The senate was experiencing its first case of gridlock this year - over an education bill that has broad support among Republicans and Democrats. The Education Flexibility Partnership Act would give schools more autonomy in spending federal funds, expanding to all states a flexibility 12 of them already enjoy. Republicans said Democrats were trying to load their entire education agenda into a straightforward bipartisan bill. Democrats complained that they weren't being allowed to make amendments, including one that would provide for an additional 100,000 teachers.

A late-winter storm extended its reach from the upper Midwest to the East Coast, closing schools, snarling traffic, and delaying air travel with up to a foot or more of snow. With varying intensity, it stretched east from Minnesota to parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania - reaching as far as Washington, D.C. At least three deaths were blamed on the storm.

Vice President Al Gore blamed China's alleged theft of US nuclear secrets on a "previous administration" and said President Clinton had acted to fix an "inherited" problem. Responding to questions about why a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory kept his job for nearly three years while under investigation for espionage, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said he had been advised not to pursue dismissal until "a thorough investigation" took place.

Gore was scheduled to call for new "passenger rights" on airlines, doubling the minimum compensation for passengers bumped from oversold flights and for lost baggage, administration officials said. The proposal would also make airlines disclose policies for handling flight cancellations as well as delays - and respond to written complaints within 60 days.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urged Congress not to hold a planned debate this week on deploying US troops as peacekeepers in Kosovo. She said the delicate peace negotiations were at a critical point and a congressional debate "would complicate our efforts to get Serbs and the Kosovo Albanians on board."

Initial tests on charcoal found inside an Indian relic that has stirred fierce debate in Miami suggest the site was occupied by humans at least 2,000 years ago, archaeologists said. Experts had previously said the Miami Circle - a series of man-made basins and holes hacked into limestone bedrock - could be 500 to 800 years old. Developers and preservationists have squared off over what to do with the 38-foot circle, located in a pricey real estate parcel.

Arkansas lawmakers rejected a $500,000 plan to improve Clinton's boyhood home-turned-museum. Many representatives who opposed the bill said it had nothing to do with Clinton, but with the source of funding. Proponents hoped to pass the measure - defeated 41-to-8 - before Friday so it would be in place when Clinton attends a museum dedication of a Virginia Clinton Kelly Memorial Garden in his mother's memory.

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