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News Briefs I

Clinton Proposes $2 Billion Plan To Fund Computers in Schools

Los Angeles Times

The Clinton administration is proposing to spend $2 billion over the next seven years, including $300 million in 1997, on its recently announced program to connect all public schools by computer, President Clinton announced Thursday.

Offering new details of a showcase technology initiative, the White House said it wants to shift money from other federal programs to prod states and private groups to put their own funds into an undertaking that could better prepare young people for a changing workplace.

"We're not just talking about an option that would be nice for schools to have," Clinton told an audience in this blue-collar city. "We have dramatic proof of the power of technology to expand opportunity. We have to harness that power, and spread it throughout the country."

Officials acknowledged that the $2 billion program represents only a fraction of what it would cost to interconnect all U.S. schools and libraries in the way that some experts have envisioned. One recent study suggests that a computer network encompassing all schools would cost somewhere between $11 billion and $40 billion.

Kasparov Enters Game Five Against Computer at a Standstill


The tension for world chess champion Garry Kasparov was agonizing as he prepared for Friday's fifth game against the world's most powerful supercomputer.

The computer - IBM's Deep Blue - has fought him to a standstill after four games with each side winning once and drawing the last two games, for a score of of 2-2.

The games have had an impact on Kasparov. He appeared exhausted after Wednesday's 50-move, 4-hour game. At one point toward the end of the drawn game, his hand shook slightly when he moved a piece into position.

Kasparov will play Friday with disadvantageous black pieces, giving the computer the first move and thus an edge. Kasparov is worried about losing to a computer - and losing the $400,000 prize money. If the computer wins, the prize money will go to IBM's research fund. But, the computer, of course, feels no tension, no fear or intimidation. And it doesn't care about the money.

Buchanan Adviser Steps Down


A co-chairman of conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan's Republican presidential campaign took a leave of absence Thursday after an ethics watchdog group linked the adviser to white supremacists and armed citizen militias.

Larry Pratt, executive director of the 150,000-member Gun Owners of America, staged a news conference to deny having racist views and to denounce the independent Center for Public Integrity's allegations as "a scurrilous attack designed to derail the success of the Buchanan campaign."

But Pratt said because "the smear against me has been made a national issue," he was "temporarily" departing as one of four campaign co-chairmen to spare the candidate from controversy.