News In Brief

The reform party elected Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's nominee for chairman over the candidate favored by the party's founder, Texas billionaire Ross Perot. Jack Gargan of Cedar Key, Fla., promptly said he agreed with Ventura that someone other than Perot, who failed to win the White House in 1992 and 1996, should be the party's 2000 nominee. Ventura is the party's highest elected official. Gargan defeated the outgoing vice chairperson, Patricia Benjamin of Cherry Hill, N.J. Above, New Jersey delegates Patricia Nozza Bryden (l.) and Dr. Daniel Noza (c.) show their support for the new chairman.

President Clinton isn't interested in a $500 billion tax-cut compromise, Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said. Clinton already had promised to veto both a House-passed $792 billion tax-cut bill and a different Senate package about the same size. Summers said on CBS TV that the president would also veto a $500 billion tax cut suggested by Sen. John Breaux (D) of Louisiana.

The space shuttle Columbia was scheduled to land in Florida tonight. It had some problems right after its Friday launch when an electrical short circuit knocked out computers controlling two of three main engines. In addition, photos suggest hydrogen escaped from one or more of the cooling tubes in its right engine. The problems did not prevent Columbia from reaching orbit and deploying the $1.5 billion Chandra X-Ray Observatory on a five-year mission to study black holes and dark matter - and they were not expected to affect the shuttle's return to Earth.

A US Army antinarcotics-reconnaissance plane apparently crashed in Colombia with five US soldiers and two Colombian Air Force officers aboard. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the top US antinarcotics official, said from Bogot, the Colombian capital, that it wasn't clear what caused the crash of the De Havilland RC-7. Debris in southern Putumayo Province was found during a search for the plane, but officials were not sure it was the missing US aircraft. Before flying to Bogot, McCaffrey said the US was facing an "emergency" in Colombia and should do more to help that country's government fight guerrillas supported by drug money.

Ferries are 10 times more polluting than automobiles and nearly 13 times more polluting than buses, a San Francisco-based environmental group said. The Bluewater Network study - based on emission and ridership data for cars, buses, and a ferry route in San Francisco - concludes that diesel buses emit 0.63 grams of air pollutants per passenger mile, cars 0.80 grams per passenger mile, and diesel ferries 7.90 grams per passenger mile. The emissions contribute to ozone depletion, the report said.

Sales of existing homes soared to a record rate in June, as buyers rushed to take advantage of low mortgage rates, the National Association of Realtors said. Existing home sales rose 10.6 percent in June to an annualized rate of 5.53 million units, up from a 5.0 million-unit rate in May. The group said June's figures put the housing market on track for another record year, with expected sales of about 5 million units, up from the previous record of 4.97 million units in 1998.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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