News In Brief

Republicans agreed to continue President Clinton's initiative to reduce classroom size by hiring 100,000 new teachers over the next seven years. In return, the White House agreed to give school districts more flexibility to use part of the money for teacher training and related purposes, although not as much as Republicans were seeking. Meanwhile, the president signed a fifth continuing resolution, funding the government through Nov. 17.

The White House said it was shortening and delaying Clinton's visit to Greece next week. Officials said there was concern not only for Clinton but for his staff and the press. The president is to leave early Sunday and return Nov. 23. A three-day visit to Athens was to lead off the tour, which also takes the president to Turkey, Italy, Bulgaria, and Kosovo. Now Greece will be wedged in between Turkey and Italy - and Clinton's stay there will be about a day. Several recent attacks in Greece have been linked to terrorist groups opposed to the visit.

The Senate voted 50 to 49 to raise penalties for selling drugs to minors. The measure would also stiffen penalties for making methamphetamine and prohibit the posting of recipes for the illegal drug on the Internet.

Black leaders in South Carolina reacted coolly after Gov. Jim Hodges (D) offered to back a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday if a planned boycott over the Confederate flag was dropped. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called for a boycott of the state to begin Jan. 1 and continue until the Confederate flag is removed from the state Capitol. At least 80 groups have already canceled plans to hold meetings in South Carolina. The state has no permanent King holiday, but it allows employees to pick any day as an optional holiday.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) issued an order essentially ending affirmative action in state education programs and state-contracting decisions. While some of the governor's proposal must have legislative approval, the order guarantees that the top 20 percent of the state's high school seniors will be admitted to state universities - and it adds $20 million to the state's student-aid budget.

Fieldcrest Cannon agreed to accept a unionization vote at six North Carolina textile mills. Officials of the Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees Union hailed the accord as a landmark victory. It affects 5,000 workers in a state where just 4.2 percent of salaried and hourly workers are unionized - one of the lowest percentages in the nation.

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young took the helm at the National Council of Churches as its executive board approved cutting 34 of 120 jobs at the group's New York City-based offices. The council is trying to cope with fiscal-accountability problems and a $3.2 million operating deficit for 1999.

Banks retaliated against an ordinance banning ATM surcharges in Santa Monica, Calif. Bank of America's 21 ATMs and Wells Fargo's 12 machines were cut off to all but the banks' own customers on the same day the new municipal law took effect. Bank officials said they weren't obligated to provide free service to noncustomers.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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