News In Brief

The federal judge overseeing the antitrust case against Microsoft was to issue his ruling on the company's future as the Monitor went to press. Thomas Penfield Jackson's decision is widely expected to include an order to split the company in two. The software giant has said it will appeal the case regardless of the nature of Jackson's ruling.

After spending a record $33 million of his own money, political newcomer Jon Corzine handily beat former Gov. Jim Florio to secure the Democratic nomination for New Jersey's open US Senate seat. Corzine, a former investment banker, overcame early opinion-poll deficits with massive ad campaign spending. He now faces US Rep. Bob Franks, who beat three competitors for the Republican nomination.

In the largest penalty collected by the Federal Communications Commission to date, WorldCom Inc. agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle charges that it illegally switched customers' telephone carriers. Under the agreement, customers who claim they were "slammed" will be reimbursed for the cost of switching back to their original long-distance provider. Differences in calling rates that consumers accrued also will be addressed by the nation's second-largest long-distance carrier, formerly known as MCI WorldCom.

The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to reject the use of human testing to determine legal limits for pesticides in food and water, The Washington Post reported. Preempting a scientific panel's report that gives limited endorsement to the practice, the EPA planned to adopt a policy of officially ignoring studies that use human volunteers, the newspaper said, citing agency officials. Human testing, deemed necessary by some scientists for accurate studies, has stirred debate among chemical industry officials and medical ethicists.

After the US and Mexico both opened criminal investigations, an immigration activist withdrew his $10,000 bounty for killing Border Patrol agents. Carlos Ibarra Perez, who is Mexican, told a Texas radio station he changed his mind. The bounty was aimed at curtailing the number of illegal immigrants slain by federal agents.

The city of Los Angeles chose former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer as superintendent of its school system, the nation's second-largest. Romer, who has no professional experience in education, inherits a district that has been struggling with low test scores, overcrowding, fractious leadership, and the threat of state oversight. Romer spent almost 40 years in government and recently has been organizing the Democratic Party's convention in Los Angeles this August.

The first of 31 defendants to go on trial for a fund-raising scandal in Illinois was found guilty on conspiracy and extortion charges. Alex McLeczynsky, a driving-school instructor, was convicted of bribing state employees to issue trucker permits as part of a scheme that poured an estimated $170,000 into GOP Gov. George Ryan's gubernatorial campaign fund. McLeczynsky faces a prison term of up to 2-1/2 years.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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