News In Brief

President Clinton and congressional Republicans agreed to seek a major change in Social Security laws that would allow Americans over 65 to earn unlimited income without losing federal retirement benefits. If it becomes law, the change may encourage millions of retirement-age people to stay at work longer. Older people are discouraged from working because they lose $1 in Social Security benefits for every $3 they earn over $17,000 annually. House GOP leaders said they plan to begin moving legislation this week.

Federal agents were preparing to question key suspects in the recent cyberhacking cases, including one known as "Coolio" in the US and a Canadian teenager known as "Mafiaboy." The attacks last week against Web sites such as Yahoo!, eBay, and has cost millions of dollars and heightened concerns over Web safety. In response, Clinton called a meeting with technology experts to look at ways to tighten online security.

"American Beauty" led the slate of Academy Awards contenders with eight nominations. The dark comedy about family mayhem in suburbia stars Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning. "The Cider House Rules" and "The Insider" had seven each. Those three were nominated for best picture, along with "The Green Mile" and "The Sixth Sense."

The Pentagon is rushing too rapidly toward recommending whether a national defense against long-range missile attack should be deployed, its chief weapons tester said. In a report to Congress, Philip Coyle questioned the plan to review the missile-defense project in June, citing "unrealistic pressure" on managers. But Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the push for deployment is justified because of heightened threats of a missile attack on the US.

Two suspects in the federal investigation into the illegal transfer of billions of dollars from Russia through Bank of New York have agreed to plead guilty to money laundering, The New York Times reported. Lucy Edwards, the bank's ex-senior officer, and her husband, Peter Berlin, whose company controlled the accounts through which money was passed, are expected to surrender in New York, the newspaper said.

Crude oil prices moved past $30 a barrel for the first time since the eve of the Persian Gulf War as production cuts by leading producers squeezed world supplies. Crude prices have risen by 166 percent since bottoming out at $11.37 last February. Industry watchers warned prices could continue to surge until the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries lifts its curbs on output.

More than a dozen suspect stabilizers and jackscrews from MD-80 series airplanes were being sent to a federal aviation safety laboratory in Washington for study. The inspection is aimed at preventing another crash like that of an Alaska Airlines jet off the southern California coast Jan. 31, which killed all 88 people aboard. US airlines were ordered to inspect the stabilizers of almost 1,100 planes after problems were found in the tail section of the downed Alaska Airlines MD-83. Final reports on the inspections were not expected until at least later this week.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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