News In Brief

After a federal judge ordered Microsoft be split in two, both sides in the case indicated they'd seek further review. Chairman Bill Gates vowed to file an appeal, in all likelihood with the District of Columbia Appeals Court, which has a history of reversing decisions made by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. The software giant also was expected to file for an emergency stay of Jackson's order. The Justice Department, meanwhile, indicated it would ask Jackson to fast-track Microsoft's appeal to the Supreme Court. But legal experts doubted that court would want to hear the case before the appeals court considers it. In Wednesday's ruling - the most dramatic antitrust breakup in the US since AT&T in 1984 - Jackson approved the proposal offered by the government. The judge noted the company would remain intact until all appeals are exhausted.

Some 309,000 Americans filed new claims for jobless benefits during the week ending June 3 - the highest level since the beginning of the year, the Labor Department reported. Government officials said the figure, which represented a bigger-than-expected increase of 20,000, mostly reflected difficulties adjusting the data to account for the Memorial Day holiday. The more stable four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, also rose last week to 290,250 from 287,500.

Procter & Gamble chief Durk Jager abruptly announced he'd step down from the company July 1. Jager had led a global restructuring of the maker of such consumer products as Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste, but it has been dogged by disappointing earnings. Alan Lafley, leader of several company divisions, was named president and chief executive, and P&G executive John Pepper was tapped as chairman.

Presidential candidate George W. Bush, appearing in Tennessee and Pennsylvania, was to outline plans to reform government and foster new respect between Congress and the White House. The proposals included adopting a two-year budget format, enacting legislation to prevent government shutdowns, supporting a commission to study pork-barrel spending, and seeking a line-item veto that could withstand Supreme Court scrutiny.

Al Gore, meanwhile, prepared to launch a "progress and prosperity tour" next week through battleground states such as Ohio and Wisconsin, spotlighting his plans to keep the economy booming. The vice president's first speech on the tour was to deal with Medicare, some of whose funding he was to propose protecting from lawmakers who might want to divert it.

In the latest effort to seek justice for crimes committed during the civil rights era, a white man was arrested on charges that he killed a black farm worker near Natchez, Miss., in 1966. Ernest Henry Avants was acquitted of the killing in a state court in 1967, but federal prosecutors, who claimed jurisdiction because the slaying took place in a national forest, said the jury was never informed Avants had confessed. Avants allegedly acted with other men who have since died.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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