News In Brief

Hurricane Irene churned up the East Coast, posing a fresh threat of heavy rains to flood-ravaged North Carolina. In Florida, the storm - with winds up to 80 m.p.h. - knocked out power to more than 1 million homes and businesses and left up to 18 inches of rain.

The lowest murder rate in more than 30 years last year highlighted the seventh straight drop in the nation's crime level. The FBI said the 16,914 murders in 1998 amounted to the lowest murder rate - six slayings for every 100,000 persons - since 1967. The decline in murders helped send the overall number of reported serious crimes down by 5 percent from the 1997 total.

Congress is set to pass a second stop-gap bill this week to keep federal agencies running. Although President Clinton is expected to sign a $99 billion measure for veterans, housing, and space programs sent to him Friday, it is only the 10th of the 13 spending bills for fiscal 2000, which began Oct. 1 to reach him. Clinton has already vetoed one of the bills.

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr is leaving office this week to be replaced by Robert Ray, one of his assistants, according to sources close to Starr. The panel of federal appeals-court judges that selects independent counsels chose Ray after interviewing a number of people in Starr's office, the sources said.

The Forbes and Bush campaigns are locked in an unprecedented spending duel while the rest of the Republican presidential field is battling just to stay financially afloat, reports filed with the Federal Election Commission revealed. Texas Gov. George W. Bush has laid out more than $19 million this year - the most spent at this point in a presidential race. But, that is just a little more than the $18.9 million publisher Steve Forbes said he has spent.

Forbes offered Bush a deal on campaign advertising: if the Texas governor agrees to six one-on-one debates, Forbes promised to use only material from those debates in his advertising. In 1996, Forbes aimed a barrage of ads at Bob Dole, who later said they damaged his chances in the general election.

Former Sen. Bill Bradley edged ahead of Vice President Al Gore in size of bank accounts for their rival Democratic presidential campaigns. As of Sept. 30, Bradley had $10.7 million; Gore $10.3 million. It was seen as another sign that the race for their party's nomination has tightened dramatically.

A federal judge blocked Los Angeles County from banning sales at the world's biggest gun show. Officials of the Great Western Gun Show, which opens Oct. 29 at county fairgrounds, challenged an ordinance passed by the county Board of Supervisors after a shooting rampage at a Jewish community center. The ordinance allows vendors to display guns, but not to finish sales at the show. The judge said the county was trying to preempt a state law allowing the sales.

Loren Mouckley, who passed on recently, served the Monitor as a correspondent in London, as survey editor, and as managing editor of Monitor Radio. "Loren was a skilled journalist who took a special interest in helping mentor the next generation of writers and editors," said Monitor Editor David Cook.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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