News In Brief

House Republicans, their majority status at stake in Tuesday's election, were to remain at their posts until at least today to continue their budget battle with President Clinton. The Senate, meanwhile, effectively assured the third lame-duck session of Congress in the past six years when it recessed until Nov. 14. Many House Republicans were wary of being accused of giving up on major legislation to fund education and health programs in order to rush home to campaign. (Editorial, page 10.)

The US economy is slowing from the sizzling pace of earlier in the year, with inflation remaining under control, the Federal Reserve reported. Business activity slackened to "moderate" growth in such key areas as retail sales and housing. The new Fed survey, which will be used by central bank policymakers when they next meet Nov. 15 to set interest rates, is part of a growing body of evidence that indicates the economy has shifted to a lower gear.

Spurred by the Firestone recall, Clinton signed legislation that could send auto executives to prison for up to 15 years for deliberately withholding information about defective products. Congress approved the bill last month, after Firestone tires were blamed for more than 100 US highway deaths in rollover accidents, prompting the manufacturer to recall 6.5 million tires. Consumer groups campaigned heavily for new legislation but said the final measure was weaker than they expected.

In a landmark decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that graduate students who work as researchers and teaching assistants in private universities have the same rights as other employees to form unions. The finding upholds a regional decision earlier this year in favor of 1,500 New York University graduate assistants. The ruling does not apply to public universities.

Confounding some early predictions, the closely watched New York Senate race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Rep. Rick Lazio appears to be going down to the wire. Several new polls showed the two statistically tied. Through Oct. 18, the candidates had spent a combined $58.7 million campaigning.

Wisconsin became the first state to take Publishers Clearing House (PCH) to court, charging it with deceptively marketing its promotional mailings and targeting an elderly audience. In its defense, the controversial company has argued that recipients of the mailings understand there is no need to buy magazine subscriptions to enter its annual sweepstakes. Wisconsin chose not to join an $18 million settlement reached in August between PCH and 24 other states and the District of Columbia, in which the Port Washington, N.Y.-based company admitted no wrongdoing. Prosecutors in the remaining states are expected to watch the progress of the Wisconsin suit carefully.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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