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News Briefs, part 1

Microsoft, Justice Dept. Lash Back At Critics of Settlement

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

Software giant Microsoft Corp. and the Justice Department lashed back at critics of the proposed antitrust settlement between them Tuesday, arguing that District Court Judge Stanley Sporkin should ignore the "eleventh hour" critiques.

Last week, a California law firm, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, petitioned the court to accept a lengthy friend-of-the-court brief criticizing the pending consent decree on behalf of unidentified clients. In addition, I.D.E. Corp., a computer firm in Billerica, Mass., which had submitted a letter during the public hearing period, filed a supplemental brief continuing to oppose the settlement.

Sporkin noted in a memo that since there had been few public comments submitted on the proposed settlement, he would consider listening to latecomers at a hearing on Friday. "Responsible comments on the proposed decree could prove helpful to the Court in making its determination" of whether to approve the settlement, he wrote.

Tuesday, the Justice Department and Microsoft countered that these last-minute submissions were not "responsible" and so should be disregarded. "The claim that Microsoft and the (Justice Department) will suffer no prejudice by being "sandbagged' with such a 100-page submission on the eve of the upcoming hearing is ludicrous," stated the Microsoft filing.

Incidents of Tuberculosis Increasing, Report Says

Newsday

Tuberculosis is on the increase all over the world, and at least 3 million people will die of TB this year, according to a startling report to be released Wednesday by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Worldwide, the number of TB cases climbed from 7.5 million in 1990 to nearly 9 million expected this year. In projections larger than those published elsewhere, the scientists said that more than 10 million people will be coming down with tuberculosis annually by the year 2000, and that 3.5 million of them will die of the disease.

Driving this global surge in tuberculosis - a disease policy-makers once thought would be eradicated by 2000 - are the AIDS epidemic, refugee migrations, immigration, poverty and inadequate public health efforts, the experts say.

"The major obstacle to making more rapid progress remains the limited financial resources available for global tuberculosis control," wrote WHO's Mario Raviglione and Arata Kochi and the CDC's Dixie Snider.

GOP Wants to Instill Family Values' Through Tax Cuts

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON

Congressional Republicans finally got to the heart of their revolution - middle-class tax relief - and left little doubt Tuesday that they view it as much a tool for a conservative cultural renewal as a strategy for economic recovery.

As the House Ways and Means Committee opened the first hearings on a $500-per-child tax credit that many GOP lawmakers consider the centerpiece of their "Contract With America," its sponsors insisted that its passage is critical to help protect traditional American families from a further erosion in living standards.

Putting money back in the hands of families with young children, Republicans predict, would make it possible for more mothers to stay home - and for more middle-class kids to be raised by their parents instead of by day-care providers. The need to strengthen family ties, GOP lawmakers stress, is the motivating force behind their tax agenda.

"I remember when I was a boy coming home and smelling the bread my mother was baking in the oven," recalled Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., an original sponsor of the tax credit. "I think it's important for us to go back to the days when we could have a family where children could come home to that again, where a mother doesn't have to put her children in day care in order to go to work to help make ends meet."