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News Briefs

Tax Credits to Aid Parochial Schools

THE BALTIMORE SUN -- WASHINGTON

The Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for states to grant tax credits as a way of channeling money to parochial schools without a direct public subsidy.

Without comment, the court turned aside an Arizona case that has been watched closely for signals of the court’s current view of parochial school aid, and perhaps for a hint of what the court might do on school vouchers.

In another significant school case, from Tennessee, the court refused to protect public school teachers from having to take a drug test, even when there is no evidence of drug abuse among a school’s faculty.

Though the court has upheld drug testing programs for students, this was the first time it has faced a challenge to compulsory drug screening for teachers.

The court took those actions on opening day of a new term. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who underwent colon cancer surgery 17 days ago, surprised observers by taking her seat on the bench and participating actively through two hours of hearings.

NATO-led Peacekeepers in Kosovo Grow Increasingly More Frustrated

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- KOSOVO POLJE, YUGOSLAVIA

NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo displayed deepening frustration Monday with recalcitrant Serbs and ethnic Albanians who have nearly shut down the province’s main east-west route for over a week.

Canadian Maj. Roland Lavoie, a spokesman for the NATO-led KFOR troops, warned that peacekeepers had given the protesters ample time to resolve their problems and indicated that soldiers might remove barricades that have choked the flow of people and supplies across Kosovo.

“KFOR fully accepts that peaceful protests are an integral part of democratic society,” Lavoie said. “However, we cannot let a minority continually disrupt the daily lives of the majority.”

Lavoie issued no timetable but hinted that peacekeepers will not tolerate the blockades much longer.

“If they persist in their disruptive behavior, KFOR will have to take appropriate action to restore freedom of movement throughout Kosovo,” he said.

Medical Advances Give Nuclear Workers a Chance to Survive

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- TOKYO

Advances in medical treatment for radiation victims give hope that one or more of three workers irradiated last week in Japan’s worst civilian nuclear disaster could survive, doctors said Monday.

Two of the men received more than lethal doses of radiation Thursday after being bombarded with neutrons during an uncontrolled nuclear fission reaction at a uranium processing plant, and they remained critically ill Monday. But their condition was stable enough that doctors announced plans to give them both transfusions of bone marrow cells using new, non-invasive techniques pioneered on cancer patients.

Both Hisashi Ouchi, 35, and Masato Shinohara, 39, were continuing to suffer from a disastrous decrease in their ability to produce blood cells, among other problems. But in an improvement on traditional bone marrow transplants, which were tried with little success on victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, Japanese doctors planned to give Shinohara a transfusion of blood cells from the umbilical cord of a newborn, a technique that avoids the rejection problems common with bone marrow transplants.