News In Brief

The US Supreme Court was to take up some points of Florida's presidential vote count today, but maneuvering was brewing on other fronts, too. Al Gore's lawyers, mindful that time was running out to make their case, filed an appeal with Florida's Supreme Court seeking to win an immediate manual count of thousands of ballots. Meanwhile, the state Legislature edged closer to naming its own slate of representatives to vote for George W. Bush in the Electoral College. Bush, on his central Texas ranch, moved ahead with forming a staff on the assumption he will step into the presidency next month.

NBC became the third television operation, after ABC and Fox News Channel, to promise not to project election-night winners in any state until all polls there are closed. The move is continued fallout from Nov. 7 and 8, when networks twice projected winners in Florida and then took both calls back. Several networks also indicated they're questioning their participation in Voter News Service, a consortium that provides exit polling and election data.

Authorities braced for an expected 5,000 demonstrators to march in Seattle in marking the anniversary of last year's riot-ous World Trade Organization protests. Although a coordinator of the commemorations said she expected no violence, vandals smashed windows and spray-painted anarchist symbols at nine local Starbucks coffee shops on the eve of the march.

The Commerce Department reported that Americans' personal income fell by 0.2 percent in October - the first decline in almost two years, but largely attributable to a big swing in federal subsidy payments to farmers. In addition, the government said consumer spending was up just 0.2 percent for October, the weakest performance since April. And the personal savings rate was down to a record low of minus-0.8 percent. The readings came on the heels of a government report about the economy slowing significantly in the third quarter.

Seventeen computer cartridges filled with nuclear science data and downloaded by Wen Ho Lee were discarded in the trash, a source familiar with the investigation of the scientist said. Although FBI agents wouldn't confirm what they were looking for, they were combing the landfill used in part by the Los Alamos National Laboratory - Lee's former place of employment. The FBI indicated its search could last for weeks.

Cleanup crews worked to contain a half-million gallons of crude oil along the lower Mississippi River. The spill, which was the result of the Bahamas-registered tanker Westchester losing power, is the largest in US waters since the Exxon Valdez dumped more than 10 million gallons of oil in Alaska in 1989. The affected area is home to abundant wildlife, including spotted sea trout and 100,000 wintering waterfowl. Some birds were affected by the spill, a local official said. The Coast Guard indicated it would investigate.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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