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The judge in the Microsoft anti-trust case is prepared to appoint a mediator to facilitate voluntary settlement talks, according to transcripts made available Monday of discussions with lawyers on all sides of the government's suit. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson also has urged government lawyers to agree on remedies before the penalty phase of the case begins, probably early in the new year.

A comprehensive Pentagon study of racial attitudes in the military reveals that minorities take a less positive view of the service climate than do whites. Three-quarters of minorities surveyed said they'd experiencing "racially offensive behavior," and blacks often thought they faced a steeper road to advancement than whites. Still, a summary of the survey noted that efforts to promote good relations and equal opportunity are bearing fruit. The report is based on input from 44,000 active-duty personnel.

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Pointing to $4.2 billion in estimated employer costs, business groups countered the Clinton administration's proposed new rules aimed at protecting workers from repetitive-motion injuries A spokesman for the US Chamber of Commerce said the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration should be prepared for a court battle if it persists in pushing through ergonomic changes for the workplace.

Bill Bradley repeated assertions that he would not fill out next year's Democratic ticket as vice presidential nominee, if rival Al Gore were to ask. Bradley told ABC's "Good Morning America" he wouldn't have entered the race if he didn't see himself becoming president.

To gain the approval of federal regulators for their $81 billion merger, Exxon and Mobil are prepared to relinquish control of 2,400 of 15,700 service stations, The Wall Street Journal reported. The oil giants would either sell stations they own or sever ties with independent stations that carry their brands.

Angered by a strip-search, inmates at California's High Desert State Prison attacked guards in the worst incident of violence in the state system since 1995. Eleven guards at the maximum-security Susanville facility were hospitalized and about 10 inmates were treated for injuries after the melee. Officials ordered the search after finding weapons on two inmates who had been fighting.

The CIA does not need to divulge how much it spent on national intelligence in fiscal 1999, a federal court in Washington ruled. President Clinton has not opposed release of the figures in earlier years of his administration, but Judge Thomas Hogan said that was not a determining factor in rejecting a request by the Federation of American Scientists for divulging the 1999 data.

The two largest Civil War pre-servation groups will merge in an effort to save the historic battlefields in 11 states from suburban sprawl, they announced. The Civil War Trust and the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites will be fused into a 40,000-member entity called the Civil War Preservation Trust.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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