News In Brief

With more litigation than ever swirling around the vote recount in Florida, midnight tonight loomed as a key point in the process. That is the cutoff for election officials to receive absentee overseas ballots. Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris declared Wednesday those votes would be tabulated tomorrow, and then the state's count would be certified - without the results of any hand counts conducted after Tuesday. But those directives immediately were challenged by Vice President Al Gore, who asked a Florida judge to approve continued manual recounts.

Three Los Angeles law-enforcement officers were convicted of obstructing justice in the first trial arising from the worst police-corruption scandal in the city's history. The Superior Court jury acquitted a fourth officer of all charges. But the other three face sentences of one to four years in prison, although defense attorneys vowed they'd appeal. The trial was considered an important test for determining whether prosecutors would go forward with more cases. Dozens of officers, especially at the city's Rampart station, are accused of framing gang members, planting evidence, committing perjury, and even shooting innocent people.

Coca-Cola Co. has agreed to the terms by which it will settle a class-action discrimination lawsuit, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. A centerpiece of the settlement is a seven-member, outside group that will monitor the company's fairness in pay, promotions, and performance evaluations. The newspaper also said Coca-Cola will pay as-yet-undisclosed sums to four original plaintiffs and 2,000 members of the class-action suit, which was filed in April 1999. The settlement must be approved by a federal judge.

With many House members calling for an end to partisan rancor, the chamber's top two leaders held their first face-to-face meeting in months. Speaker Dennis Hastert (R) and minority leader Richard Gephardt (D) proclaimed their half-hour session a success and said more may follow. The two have had icy relations since clashing over the choice for House chaplain earlier this year.

Just ahead of the Thanksgiving travel rush, United Airlines canceled more flights than usual because of what it said were illegal job actions by mechanics. Contract negotiations with the mechanics are stalled as they seek significant pay raises. Although hundreds of flights have been canceled this month, the mechanics union denied there is an organized job action. A dispute with United pilots earlier this year also resulted in numerous flight disruptions.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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