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A precise transcript of EgyptAir 990's voice-recorder tape was at least five days away, officials said. The National Transportation Safety Board said its voice-recorder group and translators were to begin work yesterday on "a literal, factual transcript of all conversations and sounds." They were to be assisted by representatives from Boeing Co., the Federal Aviation Administration, and Egypt, which has objected to transferring the case to the FBI before its own experts can analyze the tape.

House and Senate votes on a massive $390 billion budget bill

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were expected to end this year's session of Congress by the weekend, although Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle said Senate action could spill over until after Thanksgiving because of objections of Midwestern senators to provisions on dairy prices. Democrats said they had secured funds for 50,000 more police officers, for additional teachers to reduce school-class size, for dues long owed to the UN, and for the Wye River Mideast peace accord. Republicans said they won a 0.38 percent across-the-board cut in federal programs - and had helped balance the budget while assuring that the Social Security trust fund went untouched.

Roman Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved rules designed to control theologians and what they teach at 235 Catholic colleges in the US. The vote caps debate on Pope John Paul II's 1990 proposal for theology professors to receive mandates from local bishops. Theologians are to be approved by the bishops - and colleges are to be strongly encouraged to hire presidents and a majority of faculty, staff, and board members who are "Catholics committed to the Church."

Vice President Al Gore and fellow Democrat Bill Bradley are running about even as New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary approaches, but both trail Republican Sen. John McCain, a new poll indicated. In the Quinnipiac College survey of 367 likely Democratic voters, Gore topped Bradley 44 to 41 percent, well within the poll's 5.1 percent margin of error. A larger survey of 1,098 registered voters found McCain beating Gore 53 to 34 percent - and Bradley 43 to 36 percent. It showed Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) leading Gore 46 to 41 percent, but trailing Bradley 46 to 41 percent.

A 40-foot stack of logs assembled for a Texas A&M pep rally collapsed, killing at least four students and injuring 25 others, officials in College Station said. A pre-game bonfire to help get students fired up for a football game against archrival Texas has been a tradition since 1909. Logs for the structure, which would have topped 60 feet when finished, are reportedly stacked by cranes, tractors, and crews of students who receive safety training.

A measure that would turn an old nuclear-missile silo into a museum at the entrance to South Dakota's Badlands was OK'd by the House. The legislation, already passed by the Senate and expected to be signed by President Clinton, authorizes $5 million to establish a Minuteman Missile National Historic Site near Ellsworth Air Force Base.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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