News In Brief

In his weekly radio address, President Clinton appealed to Republican leaders to "change their course" from "nearly half a trillion dollars [in] risky tax cuts," saying they would pose a threat to Social Security, Medicare, and education. He added that tax cuts for married couples and people saving for college or retirement are possible if "Congress takes care of first things first." But Republicans countered the $1.8 trillion agreement reached between House and Senate budget committees would help working people with tax cuts while supporting such national priorities. GOP members hope to complete the measure by mid-April.

Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush began wooing in earnest the independent voters viewed as critical to winning the November election. Gore met with Minne-sota Gov. Jesse Ventura, founder of a new independent party. But new polls by News-week and Time gave Bush at least an 8 percent edge among independent voters. Meanwhile, the two candidates racked up more primary and caucus wins, including in Colorado and Utah. (Related stories, pages 1, 2.)

Iran could receive its first loans from the World Bank in seven years, if the two parties can agree on the details of a $231 million package in talks later this month, bank officials and European representatives said. Any aid likely would be opposed by the US. But the Los Angeles Times has reported that the Clinton administration is close to a decision on lifting certain economic sanctions against Iran, following the large gains that reformers made in the country's elections last month. (Related story, page 7.)

Coca-Cola Co.'s chief executive revealed a plan to increase company diversity, including tying top managers' pay to achieving certain diversity goals. The announcement came after eight current and former black employees filed a lawsuit claiming black workers were discriminated against in pay, promotions, and performance evaluations. They are seeking class-action status for Coke's 2,000 black employees. An attorney for the plaintiffs said the diversity plan is the type of reform they've been seeking.

Police in Savannah, Ga., charged a teenager with two deadly shootings that occurred as hundreds of students left a high school basketball-championship dance. Darrell Ingram allegedly fired at three youths across from Beach High School, killing two of them. The third was treated and released from a hospital. Ingram's motive was unclear.

This winter has been the warmest since the government began keeping weather statistics 105 years ago, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. They calculated that seasonal temperatures from December to February averaged 38.4 degrees F - 0.6 degrees warmer than the previous record, which was set just last year. Declining to make any immediate connections to the so-called "greenhouse effect," the scientists attributed the weather pattern to cooler-than-normal temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific.

Eighty-three percent of Americans support the teaching of evolution in public schools, but about 79 percent also believe creationism has a place in curricula, the People for the American Way Foundation reported in a poll of 1,500 people. Most respondents said evolution should be taught as a scientific theory, while creationism should be discussed as a religious one. However, almost half agreed evolution "is far from being proven scientifically."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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