News In Brief

Attorneys rushed from one courtroom to another as time ran short for Florida to determine which presidential candidate will receive the state's electoral votes. Hearings got under way for separate lawsuits alleging that Martin and Seminole County Republicans tampered with ballot application forms. Although not officially embraced by Al Gore's legal team, either case had the potential to eliminate George W. Bush's lead. In addition, both camps prepared for a Florida Supreme Court hearing this morning, which will examine whether manual vote counts should proceed in selected counties. (Story, page 1.)

A Russian court found retired US Navy officer Edmond Pope, guilty of espionage and gave him the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Pope, who has seven days to appeal, had denied charges that he illegally tried to obtain classified blueprints for a Russian torpedo. A White House spokesman said the US was "deeply disappointed" and called for Pope's release on "humanitarian grounds."

Keeping in mind that the Senate will be apportioned either 50-50 or 51-49 between the two parties, Democrats formally staked a claim to leadership posts. Tom Daschle (D) of South Dakota, among others, called for power-sharing in committees, but many Republicans have been resistant. Each party has filled its top posts, including Daschle as minority leader and Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi as majority leader.

The Environmental Protection Agency was set to propose one of the nation's largest dredging operations in history. The proposal, costing at least $460 million, would remove polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from portions of the Hudson River north of Albany, N.Y. For 10 years, the EPA has marshaled evidence about dangers from PCBs, which were released into the river decades ago by General Electric Co. GE vowed to challenge the plan.

Faced with serious power shortages, energy companies and state officials asked Californians to keep thermostats at 68 degrees F. and to delay turning on Christmas lights until off-peak electricity hours. Energy demands have skyrocketed in the state for a number of reasons, among them the fact that some power plants are out of commission for repairs.

Utah public school teachers staged a one-day walkout Tuesday to protest crowded classrooms, low spending per student, and tattered textbooks. The action forced the closing of hundreds of schools. But the complaints haven't found an overly sympathetic ear with some state lawmakers such as House majority leader Kevin Garn (R), who said education spending had been increased 7.4 percent last year.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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