News In Brief

Wall Street wrapped up a year in which the Nasdaq Composite Index stumbled to its worst annual loss in history and the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its first loss in 10 years. The volatile Nasdaq lost 39.3 percent in 2000 and starts the new year at 2470.52 - more than halfway below its record close of 5048.62 in March. The Dow lost 6.2 percent this year, its biggest loss since 1981. The Standard & Poor's 500 also fell 10 percent.

President-elect George W. Bush announced more cabinet appointments, nominating Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, a welfare reformer and abortion opponent, as secretary of Health and Human Services. Bush picked Roderick Paige, Houston's public school superintendent, as Education secretary; Gale Norton, former Colorado attorney general, as Interior secretary; and Anthony Principi, a decorated Vietnam veteran, as Veterans Affairs secretary. Bush so far has assembled a group whose diversity mirrors that of President Clinton's first cabinet. But some picks, including Norton, have drawn criticism.

What was considered to be the Northeast's first major snowstorm in five years swept up the Atlantic Coast Saturday, dumping more than two feet of snow on New Jersey and at least 12 inches on New York City and Connecticut. Philadelphia and New York declared snow emergencies as hundreds of flights were canceled throughout the region. Despite the storm, the annual New Year's Eve celebration at Times Square was to go on as planned, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.

Clinton ordered the release of $300 million in emergency funds to help low-income Americans pay for the rising cost of home heating fuel. A large portion of the money, to be released from the the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, will help Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania residents. The Department of Energy projects heating-oil prices will be 29 percent higher this year than last winter.

Striking Seattle Times workers overwhelmingly rejected the newspaper's latest contract offer, citing language they say protects workers who crossed the picket line but threatens layoffs for those who walked out. The vote prolongs a 40-day strike by some 800 journalists and production workers. The Times, which distributes the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as well, plans to cut about 10 percent of its 2,500-strong workforce to recoup financial losses from the strike. The Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild wants employment decisions to be based on seniority.

A federal appeals court panel ruled unconstitutional an Arizona law banning the use of fetal tissue in medical research, wiping out the nation's last ban on the practice. The 1984 Arizona statute was too vague for researchers to know what type of experiment on fetuses was illegal, wrote Mary Schroeder for the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Similar laws have been overturned in Louisiana, Illinois, and Utah.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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