News In Brief

The Internal Revenue Service did not credit or refund $25 million in income taxes overpaid by people who filed returns late, although still within the time allowed, a new audit found. The report, by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration, also said others had forfeited - or were about to forfeit - their rights to refunds or credits totaling $335 million. The payments cited in the audit had been transferred to the IRS's Excess Collections Account because a matching tax return couldn't be found. The ensuing problems were largely attributed to the setup of the main IRS computer, which is not linked directly to the agency's 10 service centers. The IRS said it has now returned or credited the money cited in the audit.

Civil rights workers who apply for jobs to test whether employers discriminate against minorities in hiring may sue those who show bias, the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled. A lower court had thrown out such a lawsuit brought by two black women against a Chicago company on grounds that they had no standing to sue because they didn't want the job for which they applied.

Orders to the nation's factories shot up 4.1 percent in May, the largest increase since the end of 1992, the Commerce Department reported. And excluding the volatile transportation category, orders grew 4.3 percent, the biggest jump since January 1980. Leading the surge was increased demand for electronics and other electrical equipment, which were up 26.4 percent.

A New Hampshire legislative panel voted to impeach Chief Justice David Brock, saying he lied under oath to hinder their investigation of the state Supreme Court. But the House Judiciary Committee recommended that two other justices accused of ethics violations not even be reprimanded. The full House will begin deciding next week whether to accept the recommendations and send the matter to the Senate for trial.

An estimated 10,000 people rallied outside a store in Dearborn, Mich., where a black man died during a struggle with mall security guards last month. The protesters, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, asserted that Frederick Finley was targeted because of his race in an alleged shop-lifting incident at Lord & Taylor. After he punched a guard, he was put in a choke hold, the police report said.

At the annual meeting of the National Education Association in Chicago, teachers voted to continue their resistance to pay based partly on performance, instead of solely by seniority. But the group signaled it would no longer stand in the way of union locals that pursue a "bonus" pay approach or have one imposed upon them. Opponents to merit pay argue that the bonuses can be divisive and unfair to teachers with the most-troubled students.

An algae that has ruined more than 10,000 acres of Mediterranean Sea habitat was discovered near San Diego - the first time it has been confirmed on the west coast of the Americas. Caulerpa taxifolia is toxic to most sea life, forcing fish to go elsewhere. The bright green, featherlike algae was sold for use in aquariums until it was banned last year by federal law.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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