News In Brief

NATO officials are considering steps that would restrict the flow of oil to Yugoslavia, the White House said. Spokesman Joe Lockhart declined to say whether some form of sea blockade was one of the options. Yugoslavia was reportedly having trouble securing fuel even before allied bombing blew up the nation's oil refineries and cut its main crude-oil pipeline.

A law designed to keep smut out of e-mails doesn't violate free-speech rights, the Supreme Court ruled. The decision rejected a computer-technology company's argument that one section of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 threatens its free-speech rights.

Antiabortion activists began a week-long campaign in upstate New York. It is focused on Buffalo and Rochester - and close to Amherst, where a doctor targeted by antiabortion protesters was killed by a sniper in October. Abortion-rights groups were holding their own counter-demonstrations. Abortion opponents will have to stay 60 feet away from health clinics under a court order issued last week. During antiabortion protests that became unruly in Buffalo seven years ago, picketers were kept 15 feet away from clinics.

President Clinton is reportedly following through on a promise to try to give parents legal standing to bring job-discrimination lawsuits as a "protected class." Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut is to file the legislation this month, The Wall Street Journal reported. Clinton promised in his State of the Union address to introduce the measure, which would give parents equal status with those protected against job discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, or disability.

Johnson & Johnson has reportedly withdrawn its sponsorship of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. A spokesman for the pharmaceutical giant was quoted by The Salt Lake Tribune as saying the action was triggered in part by the recent Olympics bribery scandal. The sponsorship, worth an estimated $30 million, is the first to be withdrawn by a major company since the scandal erupted last year.

Toyota and General Motors reached a five-year agreement to jointly develop cars and trucks that run off environmentally friendly alternative-fuel technologies. The deal is to last through 2004, the year that GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler have said they plan to be ready to produce fuel-cell vehicles. The new venture will explore electric, hybrid-electric, and fuel-cell technologies.

Wayne Gretzky bid an emotional farewell to the National Hockey League. One of the most celebrated players in the history of the sport, he was feted in Madison Square Garden both before and at the end of his final game. The New York Ranger star announced late last week that he was calling it quits after 21 years of professional hockey.

A fire in the Florida Everglades that had already consumed 70,000 acres threatened to expand as winds and dry, warm weather remained in the forecast through Thursday.

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