News In Brief

In light of recent deals that could consolidate the airline industry among a few large carriers, the Clinton administration was expected to call for closer policing of the business. The call would coincide with Transportation Secretary Slater releasing three studies that all show how the government could improve competition in air travel, The New York Times reported. The studies contend big airlines use frequent-flier bonuses, payments to travel agencies, and exclusive corporate contracts to suppress competition. Whether to act on the findings and suggestions will be up to the incoming Bush administration.

In another last-minute move before leaving office, President Clinton announced measures aimed at eradicating sweatshops and abusive child-labor practices worldwide. He unveiled $4 million in grants to private-sector efforts dealing with the problem, plus guidelines to help US businesses comply with laws that prohibit imports produced with forced child labor. In all, the US will spend about $92 million this year on programs related to these issues, a White House statement indicated. The International Labor Organization estimates at least 250 million children work in developing nations.

The 12-week capital-murder case against former NFL player Rae Carruth drew to a close as the prosecution made its final statement. Carruth, a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, is accused of conspiring to have his pregnant girlfriend killed, but the defense argues Cherica Adams was shot in an act of rage by the admitted gunman in November 1999. She died from complications a month later.

Some 3,500 people, including members of the NAACP , marked South Carolina's first official Martin Luther King holiday by marching on the State House in Columbia to protest a Confederate flag flying at a Civil War monument. That location was part of a compromise plan in which the flag was lowered from the capitol dome. But the move has done little to assuage opponents of the flag, who are organizing a protest at this year's Spoleto arts festival in Charleston and are urging college athletes to boycott basketball playoff tournaments scheduled in Greenville and Myrtle Beach.

The Army said it has dropped efforts to dismiss an Arizona lawmaker from a reserve unit because he said during a legislative debate in 1999 that he is homosexual. A spokesman said the Army changed its stance after state Rep. Steve May (R) agreed not to reenlist once his current term expires in May. A military panel had recommended in September that May be honorably discharged for violating the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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