News In Brief

Attorney General Janet Reno confronted a Tuesday deadline to turn over to the House Committee on Government Reform two long-sealed memos on Justice Department conduct in investigating alleged Clinton-Gore fund-raising abuses in the 1996 presidential campaign. The memos, written by FBI Director Louis Freeh and Charles LaBella, the Justice Department's ex-lead investigator of that campaign's fund-raising practices, were subpoenaed by committee chairman Dan Burton (R) of Indiana after excerpts of LaBella's were leaked late last week to the Los Angeles Times. The LaBella memo chastises the Justice Department for failing to name an independent counsel to carry the investigation further.

George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore planned to be in Austin, Texas, and Tallahassee, Fla., respectively, to await returns from the Southern "super Tuesday" primaries. The Texas governor already had voted by absentee ballot; Gore cast his vote in Carthage, Tenn. The only other candidate still in the race from either party is Republican Alan Keyes.

Despite rising interest rates and fuel prices, US consumers pushed up retail sales by 1.1 percent in February, the Commerce Department reported. The spending spree was led by grocery and automotive purchases. The former rose 1.8 percent on the heels of a 5 percent slide in January. New-car and -truck sales climbed 1.4 percent on top of January's 3 percent gain.

US support for Germany's new candidate to head the International Monetary Fund appeared likely to end months of acrimony over who should have the post. President Clinton said he'd endorse Horst Khler to succeed retiring IMF managing director Michel Camdessus. The White House reportedly said it wouldn't vote for naturalized American candidate Stanley Fischer to preserve the tradition of a European IMF chief. The US rejected Germany's first candidate, Caio Koch-Weiser. Meanwhile, reports said Japan would withdraw its candidate, financial expert Eisuke Sakakibara.

"Binge" drinking on US college campuses has defied efforts to educate young people to its dangers, a new study reported. A survey of more than 14,000 students at 119 four-year colleges found the rate of such drinking rose 14 percent between 1993 and last year. The study by the Harvard School of Public Health defines male binge drinking as consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the two weeks before responding to the survey. Women "bingers" were defined as taking at least four such drinks.

Defending champion Doug Swingley was competing mostly against the clock to try to set a new Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race record as he neared his third victory. The Lincoln, Mont., musher had a 4-1/2-hour lead over his nearest rival and was on the final leg, 77 miles from the finish line in Nome, Alaska. The record for the 1,100-mile race, set by Swingley in 1995, is 9 days, 2:42 hours.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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