News In Brief

The White House underwent a security clampdown as the Monitor went to press, following an incident in which a man carrying a gun just outside the grounds was shot by security personnel. An official for the Park Police said the man - whom news reports identified as being 17 - had non-life-threatening injuries, but that it may have been a suicide attempt. CNN reported the man had resisted authorities and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. President Bush, who was working in the executive mansion at the time, was reported safe.

Bush said he wanted to give Israel's newly elected prime minister, the hawkish Ariel Sharon, a chance to form a unity government and promote peace in the Middle East. He pledged that the US would continue to reach out to the region, addressing concerns that his administration was taking a standoffish approach to the peace process. (Related story, page 1; editorial, page 10.)

California's energy supply appeared to hinge on the outcome of a court hearing, scheduled for yesterday afternoon, on whether wholesalers had to sell electricity to the state. The suppliers had been required to do so by a federal directive; as that expired at midnight Tuesday, a US district judge in Sacramento issued a temporary restraining order instructing Reliant Energy Services Inc. of Houston to continue the sales. Several other wholesalers then voluntarily agreed to do the same - pending the outcome of the court hearing. Meanwhile, the state Department of Water Resources announced it had signed long-term deals to provide for 5,000 megawatts, enough to power 5 million homes.

The US violated the North American Free Trade Agreement by barring all Mexican trucks from most of its highways, an international panel ruled unanimously. But it said the US did have the right to require that each vehicle meet US safety standards. NAFTA called for Mexican trucks to have full access to all US highways by January 2000, but the Clinton administration - which cited safety concerns and was under pressure from unions - refused to implement the provisions. The Transportation Department has said that 35 percent of Mexican trucks that entered the US last year were put out of service for significant safety violations. (Editorial, page 10.)

Senators confirmed the last member of Bush's Cabinet: Robert Zoellick as US trade representative. The 98-to-0 vote came 18 days after Bush took office.

Sexual content on television has risen sharply in just two years, a new study found. The California-based Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported such material in 68 percent of 1999-2000 programs studied, compared with 56 percent in 1997-98. Only 10 percent of programs were found to emphasize sexual risks and responsibilities, which was virtually unchanged from the earlier sampling. But shows featuring teenagers were found more likely to include such issues.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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