News In Brief

Vice President Al Gore was set to unveil a $115 billion proposal to raise teachers' pay and provide preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, The New York Times reported. The newspaper said Gore would make the plan, to be funded by federal budget surpluses, during a campaign stop at a school in Nashville, Tenn.

Bill Bradley (D) and John McCain (R) reached across party lines in their efforts to limit the political donations known as "soft money." The two presidential-campaign underdogs signed a joint pledge to work for reform and not to use such funds in their bids to succeed President Clinton in the White House.

John Huang, who admitted raising illegal contributions for the Democratic Party, gave his first public testimony on the scandal. Under a grant of limited immunity, Huang testified that he wasn't aware of any wrongdoing by Clinton or Gore in the fund-raising scandal. Although Huang expressed remorse for his illegal activities - for which he was sentenced to a year's probation and fined $10,000 - he accused some lawmakers and others of "unjustifiably demonizing me and other Asian-Americans."

The US and China have agreed to settle damage claims over NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and subsequent violent protests at American facilities in China, a US official said. He gave no monetary value for the agreement, but China's Xinhua news agency reported that Washington would pay Beijing $28 million.

The Los Angeles Police Department scandal appeared to be widening. A new lawsuit was filed, accusing two former Central Division officers of false arrest and giving false testimony in the conviction of Jimmy Lee Render on drug charges. His conviction was thrown out after prosecutors failed to challenge accusations of illegal conduct by the officers. The county public-defender's office said as many as 3,000 criminal cases were under review in a corruption probe that has already freed four defendants from prison. The 3,000 cases involve only 10 of 12 Rampart Division officers who've been relieved of duty, officials said.

In a poll of wildlife-refuge managers, nine of 10 respondents said the preserves fail to compete for staff and funds with other programs in the Fish and Wildlife Service. Sixty percent said a refuge "chief" should serve at the deputy-director level. The refuge-system leader is currently an assistant director. More than 200 of 380 US refuge managers responded to the poll, conducted by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a Washington-based group of 10,000 state and federal environmental-agency employees.

Electricity utilities are 100 percent ready for possible Y2K computer-related problems, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said. Industry officials have for months said they expect only minor computer problems from the millennial rollover. But they have made public their plans to maintain round-the-clock staffing in case of emergency brown-outs or black-outs. On Wednesday, Clinton said 99.9 percent of the federal government's mission-critical computer systems were ready for the year 2000.

(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.