News In Brief

A republican "straw poll" tomorrow in Ames, Iowa, will kick off the process of pruning the long list of GOP candidates for the White House. Texas Gov. George W. Bush and millionaire publisher Steve Forbes are expected to finish first and second - or otherwise risk damage to their campaigns. Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander has set a third- or fourth-place finish as his goal. Anything less might end what has already become a low-budget campaign.

The suspect in the shootings at a Los Angeles Jewish community center was charged with slaying a postal worker shortly after the incident at the center. Buford O'Neal Furrow Jr. turned himself in to FBI agents in Las Vegas. Late last year, Furrow tried to commit himself at the Fairfax Psychiatric Hospital in the Seattle suburbs, but got in trouble when he pulled a knife on a nurse. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, served about five months in jail, and was released May 21.

The Kansas Board of Education approved education standards that make no reference to evolution. State educators are creating a list of topics that should be on statewide assessment tests, and part of the debate was over including evolution. The standards are suggestions only, and the 6-to-4 decision essentially leaves state policy unchanged. Local schools will decide for themselves whether to teach the theory of evolution. Above, Linda Holloway, the board's chairwoman, is surrounded by microphones as she casts the final vote.

The Screen Actors Guild joined the campaign to increase racial diversity on TV. The actors union, which counts nearly 12,000 minority performers among its members, began running full-page ads in Hollywood trade papers with this message: "Diversity - You have demand. We have supply." The guild published data in May showing a drop in the number of roles going to minorities in 1998 - the first decline since 1992. The issue escalated weeks later when major TV networks unveiled a prime-time lineup for fall that included no black or Latino leads on 26 new shows.

President Clinton offered to commute the sentences of 16 Puerto Rican independence activists if they sign agreements renouncing the use of violence. Most belonged to the FALN guerrilla group, which staged some 130 bomb attacks on political and military targets in the US from 1974 to 1983. In recent months, there has been a campaign for the release of the the prisoners because of alleged excessive sentences imposed on them 20 years ago. Officials said none of those affected were involved in killing.

US colleges were given poor grades on their preparations for the Y2K computer challenge. The Department of Education said only 30 percent of the schools of higher learning surveyed said they had completed needed work on their most crucial computer systems, notably those that handle financial aid.

A tornado swept through downtown Salt Lake City, causing the first tornado-related death in the Utah's recorded history. More than 100 people were injured in the storm, which tossed trucks and trees around and shredded tents set up for a convention.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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