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News Briefs I

Forbes Ends Presidential Bid, Grudgingly Endorses Dole

The Baltimore Sun

As supporters chanted "Steve 2000," an upbeat Steve Forbes ended his Republican presidential campaign here Thursday with a pledge to keep promoting the flat tax idea he had pushed so fervently.

In withdrawing from the race, he endorsed Sen. Bob Dole, the likely Republican nominee. But Forbes did so perfunctorily, at least at first, describing the Senate majority leader, in essence, as the lesser of two evils in a general election matchup with President Clinton.

"I ran in this race not to be someone but to do something," said the millionaire publishing heir, surrounded by friends and family, including his wife, Sabina, and their five daughters, who wiped tears from their eyes. "Our journey has just begun."

Forbes, who declined to rule out a second run for public office, set a record in his first try. He said he spent somewhere between $25 million and $40 million of his personal fortune - estimated in excess of $400 million - more than any presidential primary candidate in history.

In light of his failure to win, "it was obviously too much or not enough," he joked. But, he added, "despite my Scottish blood, I do not begrudge the money, even if perhaps, sometimes, my kids, looking to the future, did."

When he began his campaign six months ago, Forbes noted, few in politics or the news media took him seriously. But what he lacked in experience or national reputation he made up for with his wealth, which allowed him to push his candidacy, and attack his opponents, by flooding the airwaves of the early primary and caucus states with campaign ads.

Panel Splits Immigration Bill

The Washington Post

In a victory for the U.S. business community and its pro-immigration allies, a Senate panel Thursday voted to split a controversial immigration reform bill in a move that complicates congressional efforts to cut back on legal immigrants.

By a 12 to 6 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment sponsored by Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., that divides the bill's provisions on legal and illegal immigration into two separate pieces of legislation.

The action, taken over the objections of the bill's sponsor, Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., dealt a major blow to proposals aimed at reducing legal immigration for employment and family reunification. While unlikely to survive in the committee, the measures appear headed for a divisive debate among Republicans on the Senate floor.

The vote to split the bill was applauded by business leaders and a coalition of religious, ethnic and pro-immigration groups, but criticized by advocates of lower immigration. Clinton administration officials expressed concern that the end result could be to weaken protections for American workers.

Nine Companies Charged with Fraud

Los Angeles Times

In the government's first crackdown on fraudulent advertising on the Internet, the Federal Trade Commission has charged nine businesses with making false claims on the global computer network, officials said Thursday.

Eight of the companies have settled the FTC charges and agreed to stop the alleged fraud or face fines of up to $10,000 per violation, FTC officials said.

Four companies were charged with making false claims about lucrative earnings that consumers could collect by setting up businesses at home.

In advertisements on the Internet, the companies said consumers could earn thousands of dollars each month after buying work-at-home programs priced between $9.95 and $147. But the companies could not substantiate those rosy income projections, FTC officials said.