News In Brief

The commander of the space shuttle Atlantis didn't have the use of a key navigational instrument but still successfully docked the ship to the International Space Station. Terrence Wilcutt and his crew of American and Russian astronauts now plan to spend five days outfitting the station with gear in advance of the first long-duration crew's arrival in November. Atlantis left its launch pad Friday and is set to complete its 12-day mission next week.

In response to one of the nation's worst wildfire seasons in a half century, President Clinton proposed spending $1.6 billion to thin millions of acres of federal forests and help repair damaged communities. His plan was based on recommendations by the Interior and Agriculture secretaries, whose report, at least in draft form, called for the removal over the next five years of 16 million acres of brush deemed to be a fire risk. Environmentalists have suggested the work be restricted to areas bordering communities, because of concerns that thinning could expose federal land to extensive commercial logging. Congress is to review the proposal later this week.

Despite a $6.3 million judgment against the white-supremacist organization Aryan Nations, its leader vowed the group would continue - even if its northern Idaho compound is seized to pay the damage award. Last Thursday, a civil jury found that Richard Butler and his organization were negligent in selecting and overseeing security guards who assaulted a woman and her son two years ago. Butler said he may seek a new trial, but he indicated he didn't have the cash bond required to appeal the judgment.

Union members at New York's Museum of Modern Art who have been on strike since April were expected to ratify a new contract by today. The agreement, which was announced Saturday, provides for average annual wage increases of 3.5 percent, improved benefits, and a guarantee that workers will be able to return to their jobs following a planned $650 million expansion. The contract expires in five years, or six months after the new museum reopens, whichever is longer.

A federal judge in Boston overruled the nation's first law requiring tobacco companies to submit lists of their products' ingredients, saying the measure forced them to give away trade secrets. The four-year-old Massachusetts law mandated tobacco companies give the lists to the state's Department of Public Health, which would keep the information confidential unless it decided the product posed a public health risk. The state's attorney general said he may appeal.

What could be the nation's largest state scholarship program was expected to be signed into law today by California Gov. Gray Davis (D). The plan, which expands an existing program, is projected to eventually cost about $1.2 billion annually and would cover college tuition for an estimated 100,000 California high school graduates each year. Under the program, students with at least a C average and financial need will be eligible for either full tuition at one of the state's public universities or up to $9,700 annually to attend a private college.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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