News In Brief

The controversial bill concerning trade relations with China won the support of two key congressional groups: the House Ways and Means Committee, which OK'd it 34 to 4, and the Senate Finance Committee, which cast only one disapproving vote. The results - a boost to the Clinton administration and a blow to organized labor - precede what is expected to be a close vote by the full House next week. To boost the prospects for passage, Republican congressional leaders announced bipartisan agreement on legislation that would set up a watchdog commission to monitor Chinese human rights.

In bipartisan fashion, the House voted 264 to 153 to end the involvement of US peacekeepers in Kosovo next year if Europeans don't chip in for more of the costs of rebuilding the Serbian province. The Senate is considering a similar measure - part of a military construction spending bill currently on the floor - that would require American troops to leave Kosovo by next year unless the president requests and Congress approves an extension.

The Federal Reserve proposed new rules requiring "clear and conspicuous" print to show key information on credit-card solicitations. The Fed said long-term interest rates should be in type at least a quarter-inch high, instead of the fine print widely used now.

Cigarettemakers have increased advertising in magazines with teen readerships since 1998, when they agreed in a court settlement not to target youths in their ads, two studies concluded. A project by the Massachusetts Department of Health focused on 19 popular magazines - among them Glamour, Motor Trend, Rolling Stone, and Sports Illustrated - whose readership is at least 15 percent teens. The study found that cigarettemakers spent about $30 million more on advertising in these magazines in the first nine months of 1999. A similar study was conducted by the American Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit group funded by the settlement.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against California, claiming it has failed to provide adequately for a disproportionate number of poor and minority students. The ACLU indicated it is suing to have the state provide enough credentialed teachers and fix structures that are allegedly dilapidated. Attorneys also want the state to set up an agency to monitor schools for safety and cleanliness.

After initial uncertainty, reports confirmed a grand jury indicted a second longtime suspect in the 1963 bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Ala. Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton Jr., both ex-Ku Klux Klan members, surrendered Wednesday to face state murder charges. They have denied any role in the bombing, which killed four girls and galvanized the civil rights movement.

CORRECTION: An item in this space yesterday quoted incorrect point gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index on Tuesday. The figures should have been 126.79 and 109.92, respectively.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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