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News Briefs and the Weather

Sears Catalog Will Be Missed

The Baltimore Sun

It sat in the bookcase in the living room, between Thomas B. Costain and the Bible -- part thesaurus, part encyclopedia -- plus problem-solver, inspiration, titillation, transportation, textbook and companion. It was the stuff that dreams are made of.

The Sears catalog. Soon all I'll have is the memory, for my friend the general merchandise catalog, the book whose heft and presence were a testimony to capitalism, is being discontinued. The current spring edition is the end, the company announced a few days ago. The "big book" that began in North Redwood, Minn., before the turn of the century as a series of flyers and grew to several thousand items and more than 14 million copies, has been losing more than $135 million a year in the last three years, they say.

Sears' problem is not that the catalog shopping era has passed, but that it has come. Today's mail-order sellers pick a niche and fire their flyers straight into the mailboxes of the most likely buyers. Specialty catalogs are cheaper to print and cheaper to mail than 1,600-page behemoths -- and they're easier to read.

Gibbons Confirmed as President's Science Adviser

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

The Senate Thursday confirmed John H. Gibbons as President Clinton's science and technology adviser, affirming the new president's conviction that the government must become more aggressive in promoting U.S. industrial competitiveness, science-policy experts said.

Gibbons will direct the Office of Science and Technology Policy, a small White House office that advises the president on scientific and technology questions such as global warming, AIDS research and support of science education in schools, among other key policy issues.

The selection of Gibbons shattered tradition because rather than choosing a distinguished research scientist for the job, as presidents usually have, Clinton selected a technocrat experienced in dealing with politicians.

A nuclear physicist and director of the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, Gibbons knows how government officials and scientists work and can provide Clinton with a wide array of scientific opinions, policy experts said.

Over 4,000 Gather At Marshall's Funeral

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

Thurgood Marshall "belongs to the ages" now, as one of his eulogizers put it Thursday, and so the cavernous expanse of the Washington National Cathedral filled with hymns of struggle, freedom and the headiness of the old civil rights days when color barriers were falling and battles were being won.

The 4,010 people who gathered Thursday, ranging from school children to the civil rights establishment to President Clinton, celebrated the life of a man whose mission, as lawyer and presidential adviser Vernon E. Jordan Jr. put it, was "to cleanse our tattered Constitution and our besmirched legal system of the filth of oppressive racism."

Marshall's death Sunday of heart failure at the age of 84 "obviously triggered in a number of Americans an assessment of how far we've come over the 50 years of his career," said Wade Henderson, director of the Washington office of the NAACP. "I would have to think that what we see today is only part of the vision that they had when some of these victories were first being secured. We envisioned that once you removed the barriers of legal segregation and once you dismantled the Jim Crow system that that alone would be sufficient to put African Americans on equal footing with whites. And I think the difficult lesson we've learned is that we, indeed, need a little bit more."

Weather

Cold Times Ahead

By Michael Morgan
Staff Meterologist

As a low pressure center moves offshore today, winds will shift to the northwest and temperatures will fall. Temperatures will moderate later Saturday as high pressure crests over the region. A disturbance approaching on Sunday may gives us a period of snow late Sunday into Monday.

Today: Windy with falling temperatures and clearing skies. Temperatures falling from the low 30's (0C) early in the afternoon. Winds northwest 15-20 mph (24-32 kph).

Tonight: Clear, windy, and cold. Lows 10-15F (-15 to -9C).

Saturday: Mostly sunny and cold. Winds light and variably. High 20-24F (-7 to -4C). Low 12-17F (-14 to -8C).

Sunday: Increasing clouds, with light snow possible by dark. High 30-34F (-1 to 1C). Low 25F<\p>(-4C).