Senators Urge Probe of Civic Group

Three Republican senators have called for a federal investigation into Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a civil liberties group they say has tried to "disenfranchise religious voters . . . thereby silencing their voices on moral issues."

In a letter to the Justice Department, Sens. Jesse Helms (N.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Paul Coverdell (Ga.) contend that Americans United may have illegally intimidated religious voters by warning churches that the distribution of Christian Coalition voter guides and other material could endanger tax exemptions.

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, charged that the letter "is a bald-faced lie" and was undertaken "at the behest of Christian Coalition president and TV preacher Pat Robertson."

He said his group is being singled out "because we have the nerve to stand up to Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition."

Gore Seeks Funds to Fight AIDS in Africa

Vice President Gore, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at his side, announced that the Clinton administration will seek an additional $100 million for prevention and treatment of AIDS in Africa.

But Gore made no mention of an AIDS-related issue that has intruded on his presidential campaign in recent weeks: a trade dispute over the availability of affordable AIDS drugs in South Africa.

"AIDS in Africa is the worst infectious disease catastrophe in the history of modern medicine," Gore said in a statement.

At the heart of the proposal is creation of a $48 million program focusing on HIV education, counseling and blood screening.

Gore, saying he aims to find the $100 million from existing funds, also proposed investments in nutrition programs and community-based care.

House Votes to Hold Nuclear Energy Aid

The House voted to withhold U.S. contributions to International Atomic Energy Agency programs helping Iran build a nuclear power plant.

The measure, passed 383-1, states that contributions to the IAEA can be released only if the secretary of state certifies that Iran is not using the money to gain expertise in nuclear weapons or acquire sensitive nuclear technology.

"Clearly, when we suspect that Iran has the requisite technology to enrich uranium to weapons-grade level, it is not a wise idea to help them in their efforts to locate more of it," said Rep. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chief sponsor.