News In Brief

New polls showed a majority of Americans want Vice President Al Gore to concede the presidential election to Gov. George W. Bush - despite Gore's televised address to the nation Monday night asking for patience as he contested the vote in Florida. Gore filed suit against results from three counties in state court, saying certification totals "include illegal votes and do not include legal votes that were improperly rejected." (Stories, pages 1, 2; opinion, page 9.)

Meanwhile, parties to a suit over the "butterfly ballot" in Palm Beach County, Fla., were to submit legal briefs by the close of business yesterday. A hearing also was scheduled over a Democratic lawsuit accusing Republicans of tampering with 4,700 absentee ballot applications in Seminole County.

The US Supreme Court agreed to decide whether "medical necessity" can justify distributing marijuana, in violation of federal law, to people as a form of pain relief. The court also agreed to hear a case that could clarify when a jury should consider the possible mental impairment of a defendant. Legal observers say there is also a possibility the justices could directly address the legality of executing the mentally retarded.

Forty protesters arrested during the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia were acquitted of criminal charges. They were among 43 activists charged as a group with causing a traffic-ensnaring blockade at an intersection Aug. 1, a day marked by protests throughout the center of the city. The activists had been charged with conspiracy, obstructing a highway, and obstruction of justice. Two were convicted of obstructing a highway, a misdemeanor; another was convicted of a summary offense. They were fined and ordered to do community service.

President Clinton declared a major disaster in Oklahoma after severe storms and flooding late last month, and ordered federal aid to help local recovery efforts, the White House announced. The aid can include housing, grants, and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

A panel of independent scientists was to wade into the biggest biotech food fight in US history and decide whether genetically altered StarLink corn is safe to allow in the human food supply. At stake is the credibility of federal regulations governing gene-spliced foods as well as tens of millions of dollars in legal liability for the corn producer, Aventis SA, according to food industry experts. The 16-member panel appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency has until tomorrow to give its recommendation to the agency. Above, a director of the environmental movement Friends of the Earth poses in Washington with taco shells - in which he discovered traces of the bio-corn.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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