News In Brief
In making their last pitches to voters in the Super Tuesday presidential primaries, the front-running candidates seemed to be casting an eye toward the general election in November. Texas Gov. George W. Bush criticized Al Gore's approach to improving education, while the vice president recalled the budget deficits that accumulated under previous Republican administrations. Voters, meanwhile, were predicted to turn out in record numbers in several states.
The Nasdaq Composite Index passed 5000 for the first time, but had retreated below that mark as the Monitor went to press. The Nasdaq has outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other stock-market indicators since late last year as investors have enthusiastically bought high-tech, Internet, and biotechnology stocks.
Gasoline prices, already averaging about $1.50 per gallon for unleaded, may peak at $1.75 to $1.80 this summer, the Energy Department said. The prediction has tourism officials worried that motorists won't pay to drive long distances, possibly making the vacation season a disappointment.
The Treasury Department will buy back part of the national debt for the first time in 70 years, it announced. The operation, which officials said was kept small to test market response, will cover $1 billion and be limited to 30-year bonds issued between 1985 and 1990. The Treasury hopes to buy back as much as $30 billion of the $5.7 trillion national debt this year, Secretary Lawrence Summers said in January.
A New York federal jury found three white police officers guilty of trying to conceal the alleged role of one of them in the 1997 attack on Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant. Each of the officers faces as many as five years in prison for obstruction of justice. Attorneys for the defendants said they'd appeal.
New York prosecutors said they've made a deal with a British lawyer believed to be the last defendant in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal - allegedly the largest bank swindle in history. David Sandy, who was accused of tampering with evidence in the case, has agreed not to practice law for 18 months, prosecutors said. BCCI, which once had operations in about 70 countries, allegedly ran a Ponzi scheme in which money was moved from one place to another as needed while bank operators siphoned off as much as possible. When the bank was closed in 1991, depositors lost an estimated $10 billion.
The number of passengers boarding domestic flights is expected to increase almost 53 percent by 2011, resulting in 880 million travelers that year, the Federal Aviation Administration projected in its annual forecast. The report assumed that recent fuel prices moderate and the capacity of airports and the air-traffic control system grows. The FAA also predicted that air fares would continue to fall by about 1.3 percent per year.
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