News In Brief

Although George W. Bush and Al Gore were the main attraction in Boston for the first presidential debate, scores of protesters aimed to have their voices heard as well. The rallies, many of which aimed to be more entertaining than disruptive, took on such topics as costly prescription drugs and capital punishment.

The Fox and NBC TV networks, meanwhile, came under fire for not committing to show the debate. In a New York Times opinion piece, the Federal Communications Commission chief scolded the former channel for its plan to show a drama in lieu of the Bush-Gore event, and NBC for giving local stations the option of airing either the debate or a baseball playoff game.

Because of a controversial measure involving the Missouri River, members of Congress were expected to engage in more negotiations concerning what could be the third of 13 spending bills for fiscal year 2001. Following House approval last week, the Senate passed a $23.6 billion energy and water package Monday by a 57-to-37 vote, but President Clinton promised a veto in its present form. At issue are restrictions on federal agencies raising the flow of the Missouri to a more natural level that could benefit wildlife. Doing so could flood farms and hurt the barge industry, some lawmakers have countered.

By a voice vote, the Senate approved another spending bill that includes a provision making it a felony for government officials to release any classified information. The legislation, which funds US intelligence programs for an undisclosed amount, also tightens the reins on security procedures at the State Department. Differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill remain to be ironed out.

Opponents of placing a World War II memorial on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial filed suit to halt construction. An attorney from one of four groups seeking to block the $100 million tribute argued, among other points, that the 1986 Commemorative Works Act prohibits new works from encroaching on other memorials. Groundbreaking has been scheduled for Veterans Day.

Hoping to end the Los Angeles transit walkout, mechanics and maintenance supervisors broke ranks with other striking bus and rail workers, announcing they would return to work for one week. Although their decision does not mean Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses and trains will begin rolling, it could speed their return.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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