News In Brief

For the sixth time since last June, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates - but this time, by double the earlier amounts, a half-point. In response, commercial banks upped their prime lending rate to 9.5 percent, the highest since January 1991. Investors at first appeared undeterred by the news, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 198.41 points Tuesday and the Nasdaq up 78.59. But in midday trading as the Monitor went to press, the markets were losing those gains.

Although many lawmakers have called for reforms to a budget process that has resulted in brief government shutdowns, the House defeated an overhaul to the system by a vote of 250 to 166. The bill would have made Congress's budget plan, currently a nonbinding resolution, into a law needing the president's signature. An amendment, which was defeated 217 to 201, would have put the budget on a two-year cycle. Opponents of the legislation argued it would shift too much power to the president and would undermine the ability to react quickly to economic changes. The measure was supported mainly by Republicans.

A longtime suspect in the 1963 bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Ala., was jailed after a grand jury returned an indictment against him, his lawyer said. Thomas Blanton Jr., a onetime member of the Ku Klux Klan, is one of two living suspects in the bombing, which killed four young girls and is considered one of the most shocking crimes of the civil rights era. Blanton's lawyer said it appeared the other suspect was not indicted.

In a historic nomination of a first lady, New York Democrats officially named Hillary Rodham Clinton their US Senate candidate. None of the speeches at their convention in Albany mentioned Rudolph Giuliani, whose Republican candidacy has been in doubt because of health and marital concerns.

The Environmental Protection Agency was to propose rules eliminating as much as 95 percent of pollutants from the exhaust of large trucks and buses, Clinton administration officials said. The proposal would make refiners cut the amount of sulfur in diesel fuel by 97 percent over the next seven years, according to the officials and draft documents. The rules would also require new trucks, beginning in 2007, to start using catalytic converters and computerized pollution controls, The Washington Post reported. Refiners and truck manufacturers have objected to the proposal.

The rate at which women were attacked or threatened with violence by husbands or boyfriends declined 21 percent during the mid-1990s, and the number of men murdered by female "significant others" plunged 60 percent from 1976 to 1998, the the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported. The widespread decline in "intimate partner violence" mirrored a general drop in serious crimes nationwide since 1992. The report also said that the number of women reporting domestic violence increased by 11 percentage points between 1993 and 1998.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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