News In Brief

Seattle police arrested at least 450 people, as protesters continued to violate a security zone around World Trade Organization venues in the downtown area. Sporadic face-offs with the demonstrators lasted into the early hours yesterday as WTO ministers continued to search for agreement on a new round of trade negotiations.

President Clinton signed an international treaty that bans the worst forms of child labor. Among the varieties of servitude it outlaws: slavery, hazardous work, and the use of children for prostitution, pornography, or such activities as drug trafficking. The treaty was unanimously approved in June by delegates to the International Labor Organization.

The Mars Polar Lander was set to land at the planet's south pole today. It must enter the atmosphere through a corridor 6 miles wide and 25 miles long that begins about 78 miles above the planet. The lander will probe the Martian surface for signs of water or any indications that life, even in its most primitive form, may have existed there.

Schools have made progress, but won't meet education goals for 2000 set a decade ago, the National Educational Goals panel reported. It said pre-school children are starting their education in better health and with better reading skills, middle-school students are reading better, everyone is making strides in math, and more students are going to college. But it said progress toward in teacher preparation, school safety, and parental participation is stalled or nonexistent.

A priest said he was victim to anti-Catholic bias when passed over by House leaders in their recent choice of a new chaplain. House Republicans denied the charge. The Rev. Tim O'Brien, director of the Marquette University Center for Government, was reportedly the selection of a bipartisan committee, which forwarded names to House leaders. Nonetheless, Speaker Dennis Hastert selected the Rev. Charles Wright, a Presbyterian, at the end of the recent House session. The chamber will vote on Hastert's choice in January. A Roman Catholic priest has never been House chaplain.

Sales of new homes soared 16.3 percent in October - to an all-time high level, the Commerce Department reported. Sales of new, single-family homes sprinted ahead to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 986,000. The jump, which came despite rising mortgage rates, was the biggest since April 1993. Many analysts expected a rise to 875,000 units.

Mexico began collecting $400-to-$800 deposits from entering motorists in an effort to prevent the illegal import of cars registered in the US. Drivers can recover the deposits if they leave Mexico within six months. Baja California and parts of Sonora are exempt. Drivers traveling less than 15 miles into the country are also exempt, so deposits are collected at checkpoints 15 miles from the border. For model years 1998 to 2000, the deposit is $800; for 1994 to 1998, $600; for others, $400. Critics say the plan will hurt Mexico's tourism industry. Above, Roberto Trejo, a Kansas resident, clutches documents in Nuevo Laredo while awaiting permission from Mexican officials to drive into the interior.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.