News In Brief

In a major decision on school prayer, the Supreme Court ruled that public school districts cannot allow students to lead public prayers at sports events. The 6-3 decision in a Texas case found such prayers violate the constitutional separation of church and state.

Only the federal government may conduct foreign trade policy, the justices ruled, striking down a Massachusetts law that bars state contracts to any companies doing business with the repressive military junta in Myanmar (formerly Burma). The unanimous decision holds that states and cities may not use trade sanctions to influence foreign governments to adopt more humane practices.

Vice president Al Gore was to propose a $200 billion retirement plan that uses federal matching funds to help low-income earners establish private savings accounts. The plan, funded separately from Social Security, would match each individual investment dollar with up to three federal dollars for annual contributions up to $2,000 when fully implemented in 2009. Gore's announcement comes after GOP presidential rival George W. Bush outlined a plan to let workers invest a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes in the stock market.

Bush, meanwhile, promoted a $400 million plan to improve school access to computers and the Internet. Saying he wants to avoid having schools use cyberspace as an educational crutch, the presumptive GOP nominee plans to tie the money to student performance.

Seven years after the deadliest law-enforcement incident in US history, the civil trial over the Branch Davidian blaze near Waco, Texas, is set to begin. Survivors and family members of the dozens of Davidians who died during the 1993 fire filed a $675 million wrongful death suit against the federal government. Among the charges: excessive force by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents, causing the fire that destroyed the compound; withholding firefighting equipment; and improperly using tanks.

Police in full riot gear clashed with marching anarchists in Eugene, Ore., arresting at least 22 protesters. After hundreds of anarchists marked the anniversary of a 1999 riot by smashing an effigy of a police officer, dozens marched through downtown, where police arrested them for disorderly conduct.

The Clinton administration has been exploring with NATO allies and Russia the possible ouster of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic - with guarantees for his safety, The New York Times reported, citing senior US and NATO officials. The officials emphasized that the administration is not prepared to make Miloseveic an offer, nor would it allow him any transfer other than to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

After winning the 100th U.S. Open by a record-shattering 15 strokes, Tiger Woods already was taking aim at a rare career Grand Slam by winning next month's British Open at St. Andrews, Scotland.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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