News In Brief

Hurricane Bret drenched much of southern Texas, but there were no reports of serious injuries Monday morning after the storm made landfall Sunday evening. Up to 25 inches of rain had fallen in some areas and flooding was expected, the National Weather Service said. Maximum sustained winds died down to 80 m.p.h., making Bret a category-1 hurricane, the lowest of five classifications. The center of the storm was said to be moving westward at 6 m.p.h. toward the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico from an area some 60 miles southwest of Corpus Christi. President Clinton declared seven Texas counties a disaster area.

Almost 6 percent of Internet users have some form of addiction to the activity, a new study indicated. The figure was lower than earlier estimates of 10 percent or more that came from research on college students. David Greenfield, a psychologist in West Hartford, Conn., conducted the study with ABC News, collecting 17,251 responses to questions distributed and returned through an ABC Web site. Participants were asked if they used the Internet to escape from their problems, tried unsuccessfully to cut back, or found themselves preoccupied with the Web when no longer at the computer. Those who replied "yes" to at least five out of 10 such questions were viewed as addicted.

The percentage of people purchasing new vehicles online has more than doubled - from 1.1 percent of purchases to 2.7 percent since 1998 - and may climb as high as 5 percent by 2000, a new study indicated. A California-based industry consultant, J.D. Power & Associates, also said people who buy online are the less likely to purchase American cars and trucks. Overall, domestic manufacturers have about 70 percent market share, but that figure drops to 58 percent among Internet shoppers, the consultant's report said.

Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, donated another $6 billion to their foundation, dedicated to improving global health and learning. The new infusion raised total assets of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to $17.1 billion, officials said. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a trade newspaper, said that makes it the wealthiest charitable foundation in the US. Gates was the world's richest person for the fifth consecutive year in 1999, according to a Forbes magazine report in June. Forbes listed Gates net worth at $90 billion.

Gasoline prices continued their upward trend, spurred by high crude-oil prices and a continuing demand from summer drivers. The national weighted average on Friday, including all grades and taxes, was $1.31 - up 2.51 cents from the previous survey Aug. 6, according to Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the Lundberg Survey of 10,000 gas stations nationwide. The current price for all grades, which has climbed steadily upward since mid-June, is 21.5 cents higher than at this time last year.

Two Danish hikers were rescued after being lost for eight days in Hawaiian mountains. Marianne Konnerup and Anitta Winther - from Farsoe, Denmark - were in good condition after eight nights on a steep trail with only light clothing and little food or water. They set out Aug. 14 on Oahu, 15 miles north of Honolulu.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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