News In Brief
The Democratic Party spent $35 million on television advertising during the summer, outspending its Republican opponents by $10 million, the Associated Press reported. Almost 70 percent of the ads praised presidential candidate Al Gore or criticized his rival, George W. Bush, as part of the Democrat's 17-state campaign blitz. Republican officials said they plan to save money to advertise for the final stretch of the campaign. So far, the candidates have spent about $5.5 million each on ads.
Trying to counter criticism from Democrats that his campaign had yet to offer a detailed proposal, Bush unveiled a $158 billion healthcare plan that would provide a prescription drug benefit under Medicare. The proposal would subsidize all or much of the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and help defray the cost of premiums. Forty-eight billion dollars would go to states over the next four years to help seniors pay for drugs in the short term.
Gore, meanwhile, was set to focus on his budget plan, claiming that voters are ready to hear specifics. He said his proposal would cut the national debt to $500 billion by 2010 and erase it altogether by 2012. Gore has argued that Bush's $1.3 trillion tax-cut proposal would initiate a new era of deficit spending.
Although classes got under way for many students across the country, public schoolteachers in at least two cities were poised to walk picket lines. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers voted to strike, which in Pennsylvania is legal under certain conditions. The union wants smaller classes, stronger early-childhood education, a new reading program, and enhanced school security. Meanwhile, members of the Buffalo Teachers Federation were considering walking out today, although New York law forbids public employees from participating in strikes and imposes fines on offenders. The teachers' last contract expired in June of last year.
As some 150 heads of state began arriving in New York for the UN Millennium Summit, police said five people were arrested for creating disturbances. At least three of them were Iranian and allegedly were throwing yellow paint, apparently to send a message to the Iranian delegation. Yellow can symbolize disapproval, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran said. City and federal authorities have mounted extensive security preparations for the summit.
Northern Texas entered its 66th day without rain Monday, and Dallas hit 111 degrees F. - an all-time high for Sept. 4. That also was the highest temperature recorded in the city for any date in September, the National Weather Service said. The previous Sept. 4 record was 108, set in 1980; the highest ever was 113, set in June of the same year. The conditions fueled a fire north of Dallas that burned nine houses and three barns.
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