News In Brief

Eager to gain much-needed momentum for the fall campaign, Democrats streamed into Los Angeles to crown Vice President Al Gore their nominee. In the lead-up to the official proceedings, celebrity tributes to President and Mrs. Clinton raised millions of dollars for her New York Senate campaign. Meanwhile Gore, previewing his Thursday night acceptance speech to The New York Times, said he'd offer policy specifics, including a middle-class tax cut, and would pledge to hold "town meetings" with citizens throughout his presidency. Tonight, the Clintons are to deliver a "farewell" convention address.

Saying he'd fight for Americans "ignored" by the two main parties, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan accepted the Reform Party presidential nomination from his wing of the splintered group. Buchanan picked Los Angeles teacher Ezola Foster as his running mate. Meanwhile physicist John Hagelin, the rival Reform nominee, picked a Jewish Internet millionaire, Nat Goldhaber, as his vice presidential candidate. Though urged by Buchanan to join him, Reform Party founder Ross Perot has remained silent on the recent split that threatens to destroy the party.

Consumer spending - a key driver of economic growth - showed no signs of slowing as retail sales grew 0.7 percent in July, the Commerce Department reported. Concern that an increase in spending would prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates later this month was lessened by a Labor Department report that wholesale prices were flat. The two sets of data, analysts argued, show the economy might achieve sustainable growth without sparking inflation.

Last year's crash of an EgyptAir plane presents no unresolved safety issues, a government official reported. Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the evidence did not require his agency to hold a public hearing, even though it had not discovered the cause of the crash that killed 217 people. Egyptian officials have rejected the suggestion that a crew member may have downed the plane.

Responding to State Department requests, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian canceled a meeting with US congressmen during his stay in Los Angeles. The US hoped to avoid repeating a 1995 incident, when a decision to grant Taiwan President Lee Teng Hui a visa for a private visit prompted China to escalate tensions with the US and its Asian neighbor. Chen was granted a transit visa, but because Taiwan and the US lack formal diplomatic relations, he is precluded from performing any public functions during his 16-hour stopover.

Dallas area residents passed a $2.9 billion bond issue that expands the city's light rail from 20 to 94 miles by 2013. The money will be used to expand bus service and construct high occupancy vehicle lanes on major roads. Once complete, the system would connect Dallas-Fort Worth Airport with downtown Dallas and its suburbs.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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