News In Brief

Despite thousands of demonstrators blocking the streets, top-level meetings of the International Monetary Fund opened in Washington. Earlier, busloads of IMF delegates were turned back after antiglobalization protesters sat immobile to block their path. As the Monitor went to press, police had arrested at least 600 people. The fund's International Monetary and Financial Committee is discussing reforms to the world financial system to ensure that problems that caused the financial meltdown of 1997-99 do not occur again. Sluggish progress on much-needed debt relief is one of the demonstrators' main complaints.

Elian Gonzalez's father denied allegations by his Miami relatives that he was abusive to his ex-wife and son. The custody struggle was sent to federal appeals court in Atlanta, which issued a temporary injunction blocking Elian from leaving the country. Meanwhile, the Justice Department informed Elian's great uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez, that he had lost legal custody by defying an order to put the boy on a plane to Washington to reunite with his father, who is waiting at a diplomat's home there.

In one of Wall Street's worst selling stampedes, stocks lost almost $2 trillion in value last week, with the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index falling an unprecedented 25 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted a record 805 points - 617 on Friday alone, the steepest one-day plunge in its history - while the Nasdaq dropped a record 355.49 points. The government's release of a surprisingly bad inflation report was seen as a major contributor. As prices tumbled, many investors who bought stocks with borrowed money were forced to sell to repay loans.

Marking the first anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado, President Clinton announced $120 million in federal grants to place more police in schools and to help children considered troubled cope with their problems. Some $40 million of the total would go to 23 school districts that he said have found successful approaches to helping young people. More than 220 communities would get funds to place 452 officers in their public schools.

A Princeton University student and three scientists discovered a quasar that may be the oldest and most-distant object yet glimpsed by humans. It will help give scientists a better idea of what the universe was like in its infancy, they said. Appearing in telescopes as a red speck of dust in the constellation Sextans, "Redshift 5.8 Quasar" is 12 billion light years from Earth. The age of the universe is calculated at 13 billion years, meaning light left the quasar when the universe was a billion years old.

Penn State defensive end Courtney Brown shows off a jersey of the Cleveland Browns, who made him the No. 1 choice in the NFL draft. The draft ended yesterday. Brown reportedly signed a six-year contract with the team. Brown's college teammate, linebacker LaVar Arrington, was the second pick, by the Washington Redskins.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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