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Copyright 2000 The Atlanta Constitution  
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

December 17, 2000, Sunday, Home Edition

SECTION: @issue; Pg. 10G

LENGTH: 615 words

HEADLINE: Top stories / World & Nation



1. Bush urges unity
Ending an extraordinary battle, George W. Bush claimed victory Wednesday night in the race to become 43rd president of the United States, solemnly promising to unite the nation, just minutes after Vice President Al Gore conceded defeat and urged the nation to rally around his rival.

2. Media union approved
Antitrust regulators gave approval to the $ 111 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner --- the largest media deal in U.S. history --- with safeguards to ensure Americans will have broad choices as the Internet evolves.

3. Netanyahu can run
As the bloodshed continued, the Israeli parliament gave preliminary approval to a bill that would allow former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to run in elections for prime minister, currently set for February. Prime Minister Ehud Barak resigned last Sunday.

4. Putin, Castro meet
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Thursday with Cuban leader Fidel Castro (right), pledging to strengthen ties. The only solid economic agreement was $ 50 million in commercial credit from Russia to Cuba --- an amount that pales in comparison with the multibillion-dollar subsidies of the Soviet era.

5. Woes in ice, snow
Bitter cold gripped the nation as winter storms spread ice and snow across the Midwest into the South, grounding planes, closing schools and government offices and sending cars skidding into each other. In Chicago, radio stations dubbed the bad weather "Blizzard 2000."

6. American freed
Pardoned by Russia after being convicted of espionage, U.S. businessman Edmond Pope flew to freedom in Germany and declared, ''It's great to be back in the real world.'' Pope, 54, the first American convicted of espionage in Russia in 40 years, had been sentenced to 20 years in jail.

7. Ship's journey ends
The Blue Marlin transport ship carried the damaged USS Cole into port in Pascagoula, Miss., ending a six-week journey from Yemen, where the warship was attacked by terrorists on Oct. 12. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed in the bombing.

8. Plant closed down
Ukraine closed the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, despite angry protests by plant workers and last-minute parliamentary calls to postpone the shutdown. Chernobyl's ruined reactor No. 4 exploded 14 years ago in the world's worst nuclear accident.

9. Plea to help poor
President Clinton bade farewell to Europe with a call for the world's nations to launch a sincere, unified effort to uplift the desperately poor. ''We have both the ability and the responsibility to make a great deal of difference,'' he said. Clinton said his European swing is his final trip as president.

10. Contraceptives OK'd
Employers may not exclude contraceptives from their health insurance plans that cover other preventive treatments, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said. This could affect those whose health insurance excludes birth control pills, diaphragms and other prescription contraceptives.

This week
> Monday: Electoral College counts the votes that will make George W. Bush officially the president-elect.
> Tuesday: The policymaking committee of the Federal Reserve Board meets to decide whether to take action on interest rates.
> Next weekend: Parliamentary elections are scheduled Saturday in Yugoslavia.

By the numbers
$ 252 million: Alex Rodriguez's 10-year contract with Texas Rangers
$ 2,000: Bonus for veteran Atlanta police officers.
$ 200,000: U.S. president's annual pay in 2000.
$ 400,000: president's annual pay in 2001.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Cuban President Fidel Castro / ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO / Associated Press

LOAD-DATE: December 17, 2000

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