News In Brief

A day after Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura pulled out of the Reform Party, it ousted chairman Jack Gargan, a key Ventura ally, during a raucous meeting in Nashville, Tenn. The party's national executive committee voted 101 to 29 to name Pat Choate, an author and economist who was Ross Perot's vice-presidential running mate in 1996, as new chairman. A voice vote also affirmed that the Reform Party's presidential nominating convention in August will take place in Long Beach, Calif.

Lauding the benefits of his 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, President Clinton proposed a separate $20 million plan to help parents take time off work with pay to care for their children. If approved by Congress, the plan would fund competitive grants to help states create ways to make paid leave more available. Some congressional Republicans criticized the plan, saying taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill for people to leave work. In addition, Clinton said he wants the 1993 legislation to be expanded to include 10 million employees of small companies, so that they also can take unpaid leave to care for newborns or deal with medical problems.

After a successful launch, the crew of space shuttle Endeavour began its mission of creating the most precise maps of Earth to date. Conducting a comprehensive radar survey of the planet's terrain, the six astronauts already had mapped about 9 million square miles of the surface - roughly three times the size of the US - by yesterday morning.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a probe of Boston's massive "Big Dig" highway construction project, a Massachusetts official confirmed. The commission is looking into whether state transportation officials misled investors by not reporting $1.4 billion in cost overruns before a $200 million bond issue in December. An audit of the Big Dig's finances is expected to be released today by the Transportation Department's inspector general. The Central Artery/Ted Williams Tunnel project, as the costliest public-works project in the nation is officially known, now is estimated to cost $12.2 billion.

A nationwide inspection of 1,100 planes, which was touched off by the Alaska Airlines crash Jan. 31, temporarily grounded 13 planes for problems with tail-wing jackscrews, the Federal Aviation Administration reported. Some aircraft already had returned to service after repairs, it added. Airlines said more planes were ground-ed than the 13 announced.

"Peanuts" comic strip creator Charles Schulz, who died Saturday in Santa Rosa, Calif., twice won his craft's highest honor and, in 1978, was named International Cartoonist of the Year. His final Sunday strip - a poignant farewell to his readers - ran in yesterday's newspapers. "Peanuts" also was the most widely syndicated strip in history. Schulz's work ethic and endearingly honest way with characters made him the standard by which many cartoonists measured themselves, critics said.

Tom Landry, who died Saturday, led the Dallas Cowboys to 20 consecutive winning seasons between 1966 and 1985, clinching Super Bowls VI and XII. He had the third most victories in National Football League history, with a 270-178-3 record. His career came to a close in 1989 when new team owner Jerry Jones fired him. Famous for pacing the sidelines in a business suit and felt fedora, his face always appearing stoic, the Cowboys' first coach was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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