News In Brief

The government ended a policy of indefinitely locking up immigrants who've served sentences in American prisons. An Immigration and Naturalization Service spokesman said the agency had shifted its policy to allow the release of thousands now held, as long as they aren't deemed a danger to the community. The INS has about 17,400 people in detention.

President Clinton condemned Coast Guard treatment of six Cubans trying to reach US shores. Eight Guardsmen were suspended last week after violating agency rules by using fire hoses and pepper spray in an effort to stop six Cubans from reaching shore illegally June 29. Asked in Miami to address the issue, Clinton promised "orderly, safe, and legal" entry for those fleeing Cuba.

Senate Republicans won opening rounds in debate over managed health care. Democrats were dealt setbacks on bids to require health plans to cover care at any emergency room if patients have severe symptoms and to give doctors, not health-plan officials, final say on what patients require medically.

Clinton proposed legislation to help workers understand how pension-plan changes affect retirement benefits. The proposal would require employers to give "clear and complete" explanations of any reductions in benefits resulting from a change at least 45 days before it occurs, including examples of how changes would affect different groups of employees. Many firms are converting to "cash balance" plans that allow workers to claim lump sums when they change employers.

Farmers will need up to $9 billion in special aid to survive low market prices likely to persist for at least one more year, the American Farm Bureau Federation said. Congress provided a record $5.9 billion in emergency aid last fall to shield farmers from an abrupt slump in grain and hog prices.

Murder charges were filed in Florida in connection with the 1996 ValuJet airliner crash in the Everglades that killed 110 people. Maintenance contractor SabreTech Inc. and three employees were indicted in Miami for improperly packaging oxygen canisters blamed for the crash. The charges also included manslaughter, conspiracy, making false statements, and failing to train the personnel handling hazardous materials. It was believed to be the first time criminal charges were filed against US maintenance workers after an airline crash.

Rep. John Kasich of Ohio was expected to drop out of the race for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination and endorse the front-runner, Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Kasich arranged to announce his decision in Columbus, Ohio.

Carnival Cruise Lines has disclosed 62 sexual assaults that crew members were accused of over a five-year span ending last summer - a rate of about one a month - The New York Times reported. The disclosure, in court papers in Miami, is reportedly the first by a cruise line. Cruise ships often register abroad, so safety figures are seldom readily available. Carnival is the world's largest cruise company.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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