News In Brief

The disputes within the Reform Party moved a step closer to at least formal resolution as the Federal Election Commission decided which of two rival presidential candidates should receive matching federal campaign funds. By a 5-to-1 preliminary vote, which could be finalized as early as today, the FEC awarded $12.6 million to Pat Buchanan. But aides to John Hagelin, who claims he, not Buchanan, is the legitimate nominee, said they'll seek an injunction. The Reform Party splintered into two factions during its nominating convention last month.

Selma, Ala., elected its first black mayor, ousting a reformed segregationist whose tenure reached back to the civil rights era. Receiving 57 percent of the vote, businessman James Perkins defeated Joe Smitherman, who was first elected in 1964. Since then, however, the city's electorate has changed from almost all white to 65 percent black.

Voters in primaries in Vermont, where legislation allows homosexual couples the closest thing to marriage in the nation, ousted six state legislators who had strong views on the law. Five were Republicans who supported it; the other a Democrat who opposed the legislation. The primaries were the first opportunity for voters to register their views since the law was enacted in April. Conversely, four Republicans and one Democrat who backed the law, and who were targeted for defeat because of it, survived.

Government officials kept up heavy scrutiny of the entertainment industry amid renewed concerns about the negative effects of adult-oriented films, TV programming, and music on children. The Federal Communications Commission said it would examine whether broadcasters have promoted sexual- and violent-themed programming when youths were likely to be watching. Hearings on the subject will be held in October, the FCC chief said.

Hollywood, meanwhile, offered a few concessions after a federal report, released Monday, that concluded violent films are marketed to children. The Walt Disney Co. announced a prohibition against theater owners showing trailers for R-rated films before movies released under the Disney label. In addition, ABC-TV, which is owned by Disney, won't accept advertisements for R-rated films during prime time before 9 p.m. (Story, page 3.)

Astronomers said they had convincing evidence for a new class of black holes - smaller than so-called heavyweights the size of up to a billion stars, but larger than featherweights slightly bigger than the sun. The finding could explain the formation of certain types of black holes, some of the most compelling objects that reside at the core of most galaxies. That explanation, in turn, could eventually explain how all galaxies, including the solar system, came to exist.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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