News In Brief

Protests in Washington against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank were more muted yesterday morning than Sunday's large-scale demonstrations. Police estimated 1,000 protesters at most, many of whom were foiled by an extra-early starting time for the global lenders' meetings. Still, there were numerous scuffles between demonstrators and police, who reported at least 90 arrests. Mayor Anthony Williams acknowledged tear gas was used once, although, he said, by accident.

The Supreme Court ruled that police are conducting a "search," and thus must comply with constitutional requirements when they squeeze someone's luggage to determine whether illegal drugs are inside. Overturning earlier rulings, the 7-to-2 decision said a US Border Patrol agent who felt a bus passenger's bag in Texas violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches - even though drugs were found in the bag. Among other decisions, the justices turned away arguments that a 1969 federal law preempts cities from imposing their own restrictions on cigarette advertising. At issue were regulations in New York and Chicago.

President Clinton was to unveil a program providing $1-a-month local phone service for about 300,000 American Indian households on reservations. He was to make the announcement on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico after appearing in East Palo Alto, Calif., to present another telecommunications initiative, on bridging the so-called digital divide with the help of high-tech companies. Microsoft Corp. appeared to throw support behind both initiatives by announcing it would give $2.7 million to eight tribal colleges.

The Pentagon will recommend against the controversial sale of four Aegis destroyers to Taiwan but favors selling the island's government radar that can peer deep into China to detect missile launches, The Washington Post reported. Taiwan's desire to buy the Aegis ships, priced at about $1 billion each, has posed a dilemma for the Clinton administration, which likely will anger China if it approves the sale and key congressional Republicans if it doesn't.

The Environmental Protection Agency was to propose that public water systems using wells be required to increase monitoring for bacteria and use disinfectants if there are deemed to be health risks, Clinton administration officials said. The new regulations, which are expected to be final later this year, could affect an estimated 109 million US residents and add $5 a year to an average household water bill.

Half of Earth's forests have disappeared, and half of wetlands have been lost during the past 100 years, a preliminary report by the Washington-based World Resources Institute found. Some 200 scientists contributed to the think tank's findings, which will be key in deciding whether the UN will launch a broader study. The report also said dams and other diversions have fragmented 60 percent of the world's largest rivers.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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