News In Brief

There was further tightening of security to prevent potential terrorist activity at the turn of the millennium. Staffing was beefed up at airports and ports of entry - and a new warning was released: "The US government believes that terrorists may be planning to conduct attacks, including against official and nonofficial Americans, in and around the New Year period, from now through mid-January 2000."

Astronauts aboard the shuttle Discovery prepared for the first of three spacewalks to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. French astronaut Jean-Franois Clervoy managed to snare the observatory with the shuttle's 50-foot arm and pull it into Discovery's cargo bay.

The US has paid enough to the UN to save its vote in the General Assembly, the State Department reported. UN officials said payments over the past week put the US $43 million over what was needed to fulfill conditions in the UN Charter. The US debt to the UN is now $1.17 billion.

A $50 billion plan to provide preschool for every 4-year-old was unveiled by Vice President Al Gore. The Democratic presidential candidate had previously called for using $115 billion of the projected federal budget surplus over the next 10 years to upgrade public schools.

A judge decided to directly oversee efforts to fix American Indian trust accounts. US District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in Washington that the government had failed to safeguard some $500 million. He said it is impossible to say how many accounts should exist or how much should be in them after more than a century of mismanagement. Indians are seeking not only reform, but billions of dollars in compensation.

Canada sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings for $1 billion, saying it and related companies conspired to smuggle tobacco products into the country to avoid millions of dollars in taxes. The lawsuit was filed in district court in Syracuse, N.Y., a day after a former tobacco-company executive was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for supplying a New York smuggling ring with millions of cigarettes that he knew would wind up on the Canadian black market.

Residents and interns at a private Boston hospital became the first to cast ballots for federally protected union representation. The voting by some 430 doctors-in-training at Boston Medical Center came a month after the National Labor Relations Board ruled that residents and interns have the same rights as other workers to form unions, negotiate, and strike.

Federal officials decided to bypass New York City in granting funds to those helping the homeless. Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo said the change was triggered by a US court ruling that city officials showed a pattern of antagonism and "retaliatory intent" against a nonprofit homeless provider that criticized Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The provider lost $2.4 million in US funds. Giuliani accused Cuomo, a Democrat, of playing politics.

A California couple donated $50 million to two campuses of the state's university system. Broadcom Corp. cofounder Henry Samueli and his wife, Susan, earmarked $30 million to UCLA and $20 million to the University of California at Irvine for engineering and technology studies.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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