News In Brief

President Clinton scheduled a Rose Garden ceremony to veto a $792 billion tax cut that narrowly passed both houses of Congress on party-line votes. The White House has viewed the cuts, which would use part of a projected 10-year budget surplus to reduce federal income and capital gains taxes, as premature until Social Security and Medicare are preserved. Clinton has argued instead for a smaller, $300 billion tax cut.

The FBI plans to expand its investigation into alleged spying by China on US nuclear weapons projects, an official briefing Senators said. Until now, ex-employee Wen Ho Lee has been the focus of the probe into suspected espionage at the Las Alamos, N.M., laboratory. He was fired in March for violating security rules and remains a suspect, but the FBI said it now will look at other agencies and individuals. The widened probe met with criticism from China, which denies receiving information from spies about advanced US nuclear weapons.

The wiring in Swissair Flight 111, which crashed off Nova Scotia last year, was known to pose fire hazards long before the accident, an attorney alleged in court documents. All 229 people aboard died in the crash. Although the exact source of the fire onboard has not been identified, attorney Lee Kreindler said the airline and McDonnell Douglas, the plane's manufacturer, knew at least seven years before the crash that wiring insulation could wear away under normal use.

Florida A&M University in Tallahassee was the scene of a second pipe-bomb explosion in less than a month. No one was injured in either incident, and while police said there was no direct evidence of a connection between the blasts, both were preceded by warnings to a local TV station. A call after the latest explosion was laced with racial slurs. The school's enrollment is largely black.

The Mars Climate Orbiter, NASA's first interplanetary weather satellite, lost contact with mission controllers while attempting to enter orbit around the planet, and scientists said it may have broken apart. The probe, along with a lander due to arrive in December, is designed to study Mars's weather and search for evidence that water once may have formed rivers and lakes. Meanwhile, EchoStar Co. placed a fifth satellite in orbit, completing a transmission network capable of beaming more than 500 TV channels to homes with small dishes. Other possibilities for the commercialization of space, including tourism, are being discussed at the Space Frontier Foundation's annual conference in Los Angeles.

Consumers Union must report to court Nov. 30, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled. The nonprofit organization was seeking dismissal of a case in which Isuzu Motors claims Consumer Reports magazine, published by CU, smeared the reputation of its Trooper sport-utility vehicle in a 1996 product review.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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