News In Brief

A growing budget surplus may transform fiscal wrangling between President Clinton and congressional Republicans into a bipartisan election-year spending spree, analysts said. They referred to official projections, to be finalized this summer, that could send a $40 billion windfall to government coffers. That would be enough for Congress to accommodate Clinton's spending requests - and is $20 billion more than needed for Republicans' plans - without compromising Social Security trust funds.

The Clinton administration was to propose legislation providing $30 billion to subsidize banks that offer checking accounts and ATM services for low-income customers, sources familiar with the situation said. Banks have maintained that they often lose money on such customers. But 10 percent of American families do not have checking accounts, Treasury officials estimated. Congressional sources said the legislation, which also would fund financial-education programs, stands little prospect of passing in an election year.

In an effort to keep his law license, Clinton has argued his testimony under oath in the Monica Lewinsky case was "not false as he defines that term," court papers filed by a conservative group seeking revocation of the license revealed. The Southeastern Legal Foundation, which is pressing its case before the Arkansas Supreme Court, said Clinton engaged in "misleading conduct" that is sufficient grounds for revocation.

The heated race to finish mapping the human genetic code is causing dispute over who should receive scientific credit, several published reports said. Celera Genomics Group and the public Human Genome Project are expected to complete the mapping soon, but concerns over Celera's database plan have made editors at the journal Science reconsider whether they would publish its results. Celera says it will distribute those data to scientists at no cost, but its refusal to share its genetic sequence with a federal database has generated criticism.

Pentagon officials believe last month's crash of a V-22 Osprey aircraft that killed 19 marines on a flight across Arizona was linked to unexpected turbulence, The Washington Post reported. Quoting the officials, the paper said the air pattern caused a rotor to lose lift, tilting the plane dangerously into a sharp descent. The crash is the third for Osprey aircraft, which is designed to replace helicopters in some situations.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who died Sunday in New York, followed in the footsteps of his movie-star father but gained recognition in his own right for such films as "Catherine the Great," "The Prisoner of Zenda," and "Gunga Din." He served in the Navy during World War II, earning several medals. Afterward he helped raise money for CARE, which sent more than $150 million worth of goods to Europe.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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