News In Brief

A federal jury in Washington found ex-Democratic fund-raiser Maria Hsia guilty of arranging more than $100,000 in illegal contributions during the 1996 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign. Hsia, a Los Angeles immigration consultant and longtime supporter of Vice President Gore, was convicted on five felony counts of causing false statements to be filed with the Federal Election Commission. Prosecutors alleged that Hsia had tapped a Buddhist temple and some business clients to reimburse straw donors.

Bill Bradley and Gore abandoned hard-line tactics in a debate that was possibly their last before "Super Tuesday" primaries next week. The Democratic presidential hopefuls concurred on issues from gay marriage to racial profiling to gun control. But Bradley did contend the administration's failure to release oil reserves months ago had led to soaring gas prices. Gore proposed moving into universal health care, a goal his health plan does not achieve. Republican contenders George W. Bush and John McCain were to debate last night.

Boeing Co. notified its striking union of engineers and technical employees that it considers negotiations at an impasse and may attempt to impose a contract. The Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, which has been on strike since Feb. 9, responded that it plans to file an unfair labor practice complaint against the company.

A gunman in suburban Pittsburgh, who reportedly flew into a rage over a broken door went on a rampage, shooting a maintenance worker at his apartment and customers at two fast-food restaurants. Two people were killed and three critically wounded. Ronald Taylor was arrested later in a Wilkinsburg, Pa., office complex and charged with criminal homicide. After the second deadly shootings in two days, President Clinton called for a meeting with congressional leaders to push through stalled gun-control legislation.

With the conduct of the New York City Police Department already under scrutiny, a Hispanic plainclothes officer shot dead an unarmed black, paroled drug dealer. The incident occurred three blocks from where Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, was shot last year. In another development, two white police officers were charged with first-degree assault and official misconduct for allegedly beating a black woman after she called 911 to report a domestic dispute.

US auto sales were on pace for their second-best month to date, as strong consumer confidence and rising wages trumped soaring gasoline prices. With virtually every major automaker reporting improved sales over last year, purchases of light vehicles could approach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19 million units, analysts said.

The New York-based Conference Board said its Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose a solid 0.3 percent in January to 106.4 percent, a record high. The increase signals the nation's record economic expansion will continue well into the year, analysts said. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported new-home sales fell by 4.2 percent in January - to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 882,000 - as higher mortgage rates cut into demand.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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