News In Brief

A handful of abortion clinics around the country, including one in Birmingham, Ala., where a security guard was killed by a bomb in 1998, received similar threats of exposure to contamination. The New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic in Birmingham was evacuated after receiving a fax, warning that an anthrax-laced letter was in the day's mail. The threatening letter will be sent to the FBI in Washington. Suspected serial bomber Eric Robert Rudolph has been charged with the 1998 bombing, but he hasn't been captured.

As Mideast peace talks resumed, President Clinton tried but failed to bring Syria and Israel together. According to sources in the Israeli delegation, the parties were unable to agree on which issues to tackle first: security and normalization, which are Israel's priorities, or an Israeli pullout from the Golan Heights, which Syria wants. Clinton's week reportedly is arranged to let him keep tabs on the talks in Sheperdstown, W.Va.

The international custody battle over Cuban six-year-old Elian Gonzalez may play out sooner than expected, judging from a report that US officials have asked Havana to let the boy's father pick him up in Miami. State Department and US Immigration and Naturalization officials had no comment on The Washington Post report, which one official speculated might be a trial balloon to gauge the reaction of the vocal Cuban-American community. Elian, whose mother died attempting to flee Cuba, was rescued at sea Nov. 25 and is staying with relatives in Cuba (the mother was divorced from the father). The INS has set a Jan. 21 hearing for the case.

About half of the 525 misdismeanor charges filed against demonstrators in Seattle during the recent World Trade Organization meetings will be dropped, said City Attorney Mark Sidran. Although there was sufficient cause for arrests for failing to disperse and interfering with pedestrians by blocking streets, Sidran said it was doubtful that guilt could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Unseasonably warm temperatures brought unstable weather to the middle of the country, including a tornado in Kentucky, heavy rain in southwest Ohio, and power-outage-causing thunderstorms in Arkansas. The tornado damaged as many as 750 homes in Owensboro, Ky.

Companies who let employees work at home will be responsible for seeing that work areas meet the health and safety standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA announced in clarifying existing laws.

President Clinton was set to renominate Alan Greenspan Tuesday to a fourth, four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, according to a senior US official.

After three straight months of declines, spending on construction projects shot up a sharp 2.6 percent in November, the Commerce Department reported.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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