US to tackle computer bug

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The Clinton administration intends to order more than a dozen federal agencies to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars in their technology budgets to fix the year 2000 computer problem, an administration official said yesterday.

Many old programs that recognise dates in two-digit formats - "97" for 1997 - will run awry as the century turns, unable to distinguish 2000 from 1900. The government may spend up to $4bn (pounds 2.5bn) to avert widespread government computer crashes from the so called "millennium crisis".

- AP, Washington