News In Brief
The House was poised to take its vote on the bill that would grant China permanent normal trade relations, with lawmakers characterizing it as the most important of this legislative session, if not longer. Supporters were confident they would deliver slightly more than the 218 votes needed for passage, but opponents said the outcome was too close to call.
In a deal that analysts said could trigger more realigning in the industry, the parent company of United Airlines said it would buy US Airways for $4.3 billion. The merger, which federal antitrust authorities were expected to look at closely, would almost triple United's flights - to more than 6,500 a day. It also would give the world's largest airline much larger operations along the East Coast. US Airways, the sixth-largest carrier in the country, has experienced almost a decade of poor performance despite several overhauls.
Attempting to satisfy antitrust regulators, United's parent also said most of its operations at Reagan National Airport outside Washington would be sold. Robert Johnson, chairman of BET Holdings and a US Airways board member, planned to use the sale assets to start DC Air. It would be the nation's first minority-owned airline.
As a hearing in the Microsoft antitrust case began, the judge turned down a request by the software giant that he dismiss the government's proposal to break up the company. As the Monitor went to press, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson also rebuffed Microsoft's motion to delay proceedings.
The Clinton administration has placed Taiwan on the FBI's secret list of hostile intelligence threats, The Washington Times reported. The paper said it obtained a copy of a classified memorandum from Attorney General Janet Reno that lists Taipei among 13 governments that are priorities for the FBI. Current and former US intelligence officials said the inclusion of Taiwan appeared based on the Clinton administration's pro-Beijing policies, the Times reported. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province.
A gala tribute to President Clinton in Washington was expected to set a one-day fund-raising record of close to $26 million for the Democratic National Committee. The total is likely to beat the $21.3 million raised last month by Republicans, who were to hold an $11 million event yesterday. Both parties are aiming for record donations to their general election campaigns.
Flanked by a cadre of cold-war statesmen at a Washington news conference, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush said he'd be willing to cut nuclear weapons "significantly further" than under the START II treaty, regardless of Russian cooperation. He also expressed desire to build a missile-defense system even if it required withdrawal from the 1972 Antiballistic Missile treaty that prohibits it. A spokesman for Vice President Gore criticized the proposal and questioned Bush's foreign-policy experience.
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