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News Briefs II

Netscape Charges Microsoft With Antitrust Violations

The Washington Post

Netscape Communications Corp. has asked the Justice Department to intensify its scrutiny of possible antitrust violations by Microsoft Corp.

In an Aug. 12 letter to the Justice Department released by Netscape's counsel Tuesday, Netscape offers a laundry list of ways in which it contends "Microsoft's conduct appears to violate both the letter and spirit" of the consent decree, signed by Microsoft and the government in July 1994. The consent decree aimed to restrict behavior that the Justice Department contended was anti-competitive. By signing the decree, Microsoft did not acknowledge it had acted unlawfully - simply that it would comply with it in the future.

The eight-page letter, written by Netscape's outside legal counsel, Gary Reback of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, argues that Microsoft is unfairly offering computer hardware makers financial "inducements" for exclusively including its software for browsing the World Wide Web on their computers - or for making Netscape's software "far less accessible to users."

For instance, the letter states that Hitachi has refused to bundle Netscape's software on its laptop computers "because it says that it is prohibited from carrying the product under its license with Microsoft."

A spokeswoman for Hitachi said the company had not yet seen the letter and could not comment on any licensing arrangements with Microsoft.

Japanese Exec Released by Captors To Savor Freedom'

Los Angeles Times

A day after gaining his freedom, the Japanese executive held captive for more than a week by kidnappers said he plans to rest, enjoy his family and "savor the sweetness of freedom."

"This last week was one of the worst weeks of my life," Mamoru Konno said.

Looking tired and emotionally drained, Konno, 57, read a brief statement to dozens of reporters, many of them representing Japanese news media, at a news conference at Sanyo North America Corp.'s San Diego headquarters. He thanked reporters for "coming to help celebrate my release."

Mexican authorities, meanwhile, predicted an imminent break in their efforts to apprehend the six-member gang which is still at large.

Konno was set free early Monday morning in the La Mesa area of Tijuana, Mexico, by a gang said by the Baja California attorney general's office to consist of either all Mexicans or possibly a South American. Konno was kidnapped Aug. 10 as he left a Tijuana public park where a Sanyo employee baseball team had played an intramural game. Sanyo paid the $2 million ransom.

Through a translator, Konno said the ordeal had left him exhausted "emotionally, physically and intellectually" and he credited his family for helping him survive the nine days of captivity.

U.S. Student Enrollment to Reach Record 51.7 Million

Los Angeles Times

More students will enroll in school this fall than ever before, surpassing a peak reached 25 years ago and causing a serious strain on school budgets around the country, the Education Department said in a report Wednesday.

"When school starts this year, I would hope that most districts have analyzed their own situation and prepared for it," said Education Secretary Richard W. Riley, who released the report.

The student enrollment record of 51.7 million students nationwide this fall will continue to be broken every year for the next 10 years, amounting to a 15 percent increase by 2006, the report said.

California, which has the largest student population in the country at 5.8 million, is expected to lead the surge, adding a million more students over the next 10 years.

California, alone, will have to find seats for an additional 525,000 high school students by 2006 and build 20,000 new classrooms, according to Riley and Mamie Starr, chairwoman of the Coalition for Adequate School Housing of California.

Although California faces the largest increase, 31 other states also will see substantial growth in their student populations. Districts across the country will need 6,000 more schools and 190,000 more teachers at an estimated cost of $15.1 billion to meet the demands.

Six Finalists Chosen For World War II Memorial

The Washington Post

Six finalists, ranging from a graduate student to prominent design professionals, have been selected from more than 400 entries in the first phase of a design competition for the National World War II Memorial on the Mall.

Chosen on the basis of their "preliminary visions" for the memorial, each of the finalists received $75,000 to develop the concepts into detailed designs. Judging will take place in late October, with the winner to be announced late this year, according to the American Battle Monuments Commission.

The designs will not be made public until after the final choice is made, "to maintain the integrity of the procurement process," the ABMC said. "At this early stage I think it would be wrong for each of the entrants to view what the others had done," said Bill Lacy, professional adviser to the competition.

Intended to memorialize America's World War II veterans and acknowledge the war's importance at home as well as abroad, the memorial is to be located on 7.4 acres of the Mall, at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.