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A California survey found Texas Gov. George W. Bush favored by 49 percent of Republicans likely to vote in the state's March 7 winner-take-all primary. In the Field poll, Steve Forbes, John McCain, and Elizabeth Dole each won 8 percent of the potential vote; Gary Bauer, Dan Quayle, and Pat Buchanan each received 3 percent. Orrin Hatch was favored by 2 percent; Alan Keyes by less than 0.5 percent. On the Democratic side, Vice President Al Gore (51 percent) held a big lead over former Sen. Bill Bradley (18 percent). When they were pitted against each other, Bush was the choice of 48 percent of respondents, Gore of 46 percent.

A federal judge struck down a voucher program in Cleveland, a day before its public schools began a new academic year. Supporters planned to appeal a ruling by District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr., whose injunction halted the program until a trial decides whether it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. The state-funded voucher program, which covers up to $2,500 in tuition costs per child for poor families so they can attend private schools, is being conducted as an experiment in Cleveland. More than 4,000 students had signed up for the vouchers.

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A county board in Los Angeles took aim at the Great Western Gun Show in apparent response to the killing of a postal worker and the wounding of five people at a Jewish community center earlier this month. The Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to give preliminary approval to an ordinance banning sales of guns and ammunition on county property. The move would effectively end the show, which attracts some 100,000 people annually. The board will take up the measure again in the next few weeks. If given final approval, it would take effect 30 days later.

A teenage murder suspect who had fled to Israel agreed to plead guilty next week in a Tel Aviv court. Nearly two years after leaving Maryland and launching an international extradition battle, Samuel Sheinbein accepted a 24-year jail sentence to be recommended by his attorneys and Israeli prosecutors. He is scheduled to enter his plea Sept. 2. Sheinbein, who will serve his sentence in Israel, pleaded innocent in the case last month. He was accused of killing of Alfredo Tello Jr. in 1997.

American troops will end their five-year mission in Haiti in December or January, defense officials said. The Pentagon had been recommending an end to the mission for some time, expressing concern about the safety of the troops and questioning the $22 million cost of keeping the mission there last year. There are about 400 US soldiers on the island.

Firefighters in northern California and Nevada battled intense wildfires. At least 1,000 people were fighting more than 100 lightning-ignited fires that charred 30,000 acres in Butte County and other areas in the northeastern corner of the state. Meanwhile, wildfires roared through a valley on the northern outskirts of Reno, Nevada, forcing the evacuation of 60 ranch homes and an exotic animal shelter. The blaze had consumed 3,500 acres of dry sage brush and juniper pine.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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