News In Brief

After the Justice Department and 17 states officially submitted their proposal to break up Microsoft Corp. into two companies, each side began plotting its next moves. The software giant, which argues the government's plan shows a lack of knowledge about the industry, is expected to request an extension to the May 10 deadline for presenting its formal response. In general, Microsoft is expected to favor a slow appellate process, largely because a new US president could change the dynamics of the case. The Justice Department, meanwhile, is faced with convincing the judge that its approach is necessary and will withstand appellate court scrutiny. Its proposal would separate the Windows operating system from Microsoft's application programs.

The annual US report on international terrorism identifies South Asia as a major source of the problem for the first time, The New York Times reported. Although Afghanistan and Pakistan weren't added to the Clinton administration's official list of state sponsors of terrorism, the former was cited because it sheltered anti-US militant Osama bin Laden. The other, the newspaper said, was accused of abetting "terrorists" who are fighting for control of the Kashmir region. The Times added that the list of sponsors was the same as in recent years: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

In an unprecedented step, the Clinton administration has declared the global spread of AIDS a threat to national security, The Washington Post reported. It said the administration is concerned the illness could grow to proportions that could fuel ethnic wars and even topple governments. As a result, the National Security Council has become involved for the first time in battling what is considered an infectious disease, the Post said.

Clinton was to propose financial privacy-protection legislation that would give consumers sweeping new powers, The Washington Post reported. Under a law passed last fall, companies such as banks and insurers can share consumer information among affiliates as long as the people involved are informed. Those people, however, cannot prevent the companies from disclosing the data. Under Clinton's bill, consumers could decline to have information shared in many cases. Although the measure stands little chance of passing Congress in an election year, the Post said, Democrats are likely to make privacy a campaign issue.

In contrast to the boisterous protests that erupted in Miami a week ago, tens of thousands of Cuban-Americans marched peacefully in the city Saturday to protest the forced removal of Elian Gonzalez by armed federal agents. At a counter-rally in nearby Cutler Ridge, however, police said two people were arrested. An estimated 1,500 people there criticized a city government shakeup, in which the mayor fired the city manager and the police chief resigned.

An Idaho businessman received a 17-year prison sentence for an environmental crime - apparently the longest punishment of its type to date. Allan Elias also was ordered to pay $5.9 million to a former employee and his family for severe injuries the man sustained from cyanide poisoning while working at Elias's company.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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