News In Brief

Elian Gonzalez is not entitled to an asylum hearing, a federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled, rejecting requests from the boy's Miami relatives. A three-judge panel affirmed a March ruling that the boy's father, who wants to take his six-year-old son back to Cuba, has the sole right to speak for the child. The decision, however, requires the boy to stay in the US for at least 14 more days during which appeals could be filed. The Miami relatives technically have 45 days to ask all 12 judges of the 11th circuit to consider the case; in case of a refusal, the relatives then would have 90 days to appeal to the Supreme Court. Immediately after the ruling was handed down, the Miami relatives asked Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency matters from the 11th circuit, to keep Elian in the US until the nation's highest court could consider a formal appeal.

Saying Israel's recent pullout from southern Lebanon imposed a new sense of urgency, President Clinton announced he will send Secretary of State Albright to the Middle East next week to attempt to narrow gaps in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Clinton spoke in Lisbon after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Federal regulators approved a plan, aimed at cutting telephone bills, that eliminates $3.2 billion worth of fees paid by long-distance companies to local carriers. Long-distance companies pledged to pass the savings on to their customers, which could mean reductions as high as 50 percent. Some consumer groups, however, expressed skepticism that telephone bills will be lower. The plan is to take effect in July.

The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that one of the most commonly used pesticides may be more dangerous to humans than previously thought, The Washington Post reported. Chlorpyrifos is found in more than 800 products. The EPA's conclusion, which is expected to be announced June 8, will effectively remove the pesticide from all over-the-counter products, the Post said.

Microsoft filed its final briefs in the government's antitrust case, clearing the way for a federal judge to issue a ruling. In attacking the government's proposal to break the company in two, Microsoft asked for a year - instead of the four months outlined by the government - to develop the details of its breakup. It also proposed little oversight over one of the two new companies.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush, under increasing scrutiny for his state's frequent use of the death penalty, said he was "more than likely" to grant the first 30-day reprieve of his administration to an inmate. A postponement would allow Ricky McGinn, who was scheduled to be executed yesterday, to have DNA tests conducted on crime-scene evidence. Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, said last week he supports DNA testing in some cases to settle doubts.

Latin jazz bandleader Tito Puente, who died in New York, reached a wide range of listeners with his danceable arrangements that spanned six decades. Riding to fame on the heels of the 1950s mambo phenomenon, he recorded more than 100 albums. In February, he won his fifth Grammy, for "Mambo Birdland."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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