News In Brief
Silence from the Mars Polar Lander became increasingly ominous as scientists continued to try to make contact over the weekend with the $165 million spacecraft after its scheduled landing Friday near the south pole of the Red Planet. Also remaining stubbornly silent were two Deep Space probes, valued at $29.2 million. The mission - the first to Mars since the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter was lost in September due to human error - was supposed to search for signs of water and clues to the Martian climate.
The collapse of world trade negotiations in Seattle may strengthen the hand of labor and environmental groups pressing Congress to reject President Clinton's landmark trade agreement with China, analysts said. Congress must vote to grant Beijing permanent trade privileges as part of the deal that would open China's vast market potential to US businesses. The trade-talks failure was seen as a major defeat for Clinton.
Live-fire military training on Vieques Island will end immediately and the Navy facility there will be abandoned in five years unless local residents agree to allow such exercises to continue, Clinton said. Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello, who has insisted the Navy leave immediately, called the decision "unacceptable." The Navy owns two-thirds of Vieques and has conducted live-fire training there since 1941. Under the president's proposal, training without live weapons would take place a maximum of 90 days a year for another five years. Live-fire training can currently be conducted up to 180 days annually.