News In Brief

Supporters of Al Gore scrambled to keep his presidential hopes alive after a Florida judge handed down a crucial decision against him Monday. The case examined a number of instances where the Gore camp said manual recounts of votes in selected counties should proceed - all of which were rejected by Judge N. Sanders Sauls. Gore's lawyers appealed immediately to the Florida Supreme Court, but legal experts predicted the Democrats could have a tough time persuading it to overturn the ruling.

Remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sent the firmest signal yet that the central bank is switching its chief concern from fighting inflation by raising interest rates to worrying that its moves could prompt a recession. Speaking to community bankers in New York, Greenspan expressed satisfaction that the rate of growth is slowing to a more sustainable pace. But he said the Fed must be alert to risks of a slowdown. The remarks were credited with helping send the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 300 points as the Monitor went to press.

Eighth-graders in the US scored slightly above average levels, but below many industrialized Asian and European nations, on the latest round of international math and science tests. A report, to be released by the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, showed little improvement from the first set of uniform examinations in 1995. The project, which was organized by an international education organization, included more than 9,000 US students.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to phase out a widely used pesticide, diazinon, because of potential health risks to children, agency sources said. The chemical, which is used in such products as grub-killing lawn sprays and roach treatments, is marketed under brand names including Ortho, Spectracide, and Real-Kill. Diazinon is the last widely used pest-control product in the organophosphates family - a class of chemicals derived from nerve-gas agents developed during World War II.

Pointing to layers of sedimentary rock on Mars, NASA scientists advanced the theory that the Red Planet once may have been a land of lakes. Images of the terrain, which were captured by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft and will be published Friday in the journal Science, resembled formations found in the Grand Canyon. The presence of water is seen as a prerequisite for earthly life, and the researchers said the Mars layers might harbor fossils. The data received mixed reactions in peer reviews, with some scientists questioning whether factors other than water - such as wind - had created the rock layers.

In a two-hour procedure, the crew of the shuttle Endeavour deployed a second solar panel for the International Space Station. The unfolding was delayed after problems developed Sunday. The crew planned more spacewalks that will fine-tune the panel installation and pave the way for the arrival of the Destiny lab module at the space station next month.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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