News In Brief

Teachers in Detroit went on strike, and school officials canceled the first day of fall classes. Negotiators had agreed early Monday on a new, 10-day extension while talks continued, but teachers rejected the plan. The contract talks are the first since an elective school board was replaced earlier this year with one appointed by Mayor Dennis Archer. Teachers said merit pay was among the most contentious issues because many teachers prefer existing standards of experience, seniority, and education.

Hurricane Dennis edged away from the East Coast, but could still turn and hit land, weather experts said. Although the eye of the storm never came closer than 60 miles to the North Carolina shore, it still pummeled the coast with high winds and up to 8 inches of rain. Forecasters said Dennis could stall east of Cape Hatteras for three or four days.

Consumer confidence fell for the second straight month in August as higher interest rates started to weigh on more Americans, the Conference Board reported. The private business group's index of confidence, which measures consumers' likeliness to spend, edged down 0.4 of a point to 135.8 from a revised 136.2 in July. The decline was less than analysts had expected. The July drop from a 30-year high of 139.0 marked the first decline after eight consecutive monthly gains.

A task force of the US Olympic Committee recommended revamping the organization to make it operate more like a corporation. The panel, which began its work before the Salt Lake City Olympic votes-for-cash scandal, suggested creating a new position of president and chief executive officer. Dick Schultz, USOC executive director, said he would not seek the new post. The Boston Globe said Schultz is likely to concentrate on fund-raising when the reorganization is complete sometime next year.

The nation's leading cigarette manufacturers raised wholesale prices 18 cents a pack, anticipating an excise-tax increase and higher costs associated with their $206 billion, 46-state settlement over health-care costs. After markups, retail prices are likely to increase about 22 cents a pack, analysts said. Cigarettes now cost about $2.50 to $3.25 a pack, depending on the region of the country. This increase is the second-largest in industry history; there was a 45-cent price hike last November after the settlement with the states.

Most US medical schools fail to teach new doctors how to help people stop smoking, a national survey indicated. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, recommends that model curricula be developed and implemented in all medical schools.

Erratic winds fed wildfires in southern California, forcing evacuation of residents in the San Bernardino National Forest between the resort town of Lake Arrowhead and the high desert of Apple Valley, 80 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Fifty miles to the west, in Angeles National Forest, 785 firefighters battled a 2,500-acre wildfire that forced more than 4,000 campers and cabin owners out of San Gabriel Canyon.

Compiled by Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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