News In Brief

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of its landmark Miranda ruling that requires police to tell suspects of their right to remain silent. The justices refused to replace the 1966 decision - made during a more liberal era - with a less-stringent federal law allowing voluntary confessions even when police don't give the warnings. The vote was 7 to 2 in the case of a Maryland man.

In another 7-to-2 decision, the Supreme Court overturned California's "blanket primary" election system, which permitted voters to choose any candidate, regardless of party affiliation. The justices said such a primary - similar to those in Alaska, Washington, and to some extent Louisiana - violates the rights of political parties. The ruling avoided deciding the validity of the more common open primary system used in another 20 states. The court also ruled, 5 to 4, that juries - not judges - must decide whether someone charged with a hate crime was motivated by bias and therefore can be given a higher maximum sentence. The decision overturned a New Jersey man's 12-year prison sentence, which was determined by a judge.

Cigarettemaker Philip Morris, which also owns the Kraft product line, shored up its position as the world's second-largest food company by announcing the purchase of Nabisco Holdings Corp. for $14.9 billion. It also will assume $4 billion in debt. The deal will add 18 more brands - among them LifeSavers candy, Oreo cookies, and Planters nuts - to Philip Morris's existing 55. Together, Kraft Foods and Nabisco produced revenue of $34.9 billion last year, Philip Morris said, which also noted that it planned an initial public offering for 20 percent of the combined food operations.

The merger deal also involves the sale of parent company Nabisco Group Holdings Corp. to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) for $9.8 billion. RJR actually had been a subsidiary of the group before it was spun off last year as a separate publicly traded entity.

With gasoline prices soaring, Al Gore was to outline presidential-campaign proposals today for energy conservation, aides said. The plan, for which cost figures weren't available, would offer incentives to both manufacturers and consumers of such products as hybrid vehicles. It also would provide tax breaks and direct loans to help develop other power sources, and would give incentives to utilities to replace older and less-efficient plants.

Also on the presidential campaign trail, George W. Bush planned to propose splitting the Immigration and Naturalization Service into one agency that welcomes newcomers and another that strictly enforces the nation's borders. Congress has considered such measures but has yet to act on them, despite a consensus that the INS has trouble fulfilling its mission because of internal divisions, management missteps, and outmoded technology.

About 80 homosexual activists were arrested Sunday, police said, for obstructing a public place while protesting outside the Presbyterian Church's national convention in Long Beach, Calif. The demonstrators wanted church officials to approve blessings for same-sex unions and to take steps toward ordaining homosexuals. The former issue was expected to be considered at the convention today.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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