News In Brief

By , Shelby Siems, and Peter E. Nordahl

The US

The Senate voted yesterday 61-38 to cut $16.4 billion from current federal spending, but President Clinton promised to veto the measure because it would take money from schools and job training. The House passed the bill last week, 235-189, a margin that, like the Senate vote, was short of the two-thirds needed to defeat a veto. Meanwhile, the Senate also planned to approve a GOP plan for balancing the budget in seven years. It would kill or reshape hundreds of programs, claiming savings of some $1 trillion.

A defense blueprint ready for House floor debate seeks to end a 10-year slide in military spending while requiring the military to discharge servicemen with AIDS and bar abortions at overseas military hospitals. The House National Security committee on Wednesday recommended the $267 billion defense spending bill -- $9.5 billion above Clinton's request.

Recommended: Default

In an abrupt change of pace, House Republicans said they are delaying final action until next month on a bill that would cut foreign aid and restructure the State Department. A House International Relations Committee spokesman said it was a matter of too little time to deal with too many amendments.

Federal prosecutors brought assault and firearms charges yesterday against White House trespasser Leland Modjeski. Authorities believe Modjeski may have been trying to hurt himself rather than the president when he jumped a White House fence Tuesday night carrying an unloaded revolver.

In economic news, sales of existing homes sank 6.4 percent in April to the lowest level in nearly three years as consumers grew more cautious amid signs of slower economic growth. And the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits shot up by 13,000 last week to the highest level in 10 months.

Taking the offensive again, the National Rifle Association warned members of an impending ''police state'' and urged them to attend town meetings with lawmakers to denounce Clinton's policies. The group is sending postcards to lawmakers in its drive to repeal the assault-weapons ban. A gun-control advocate responded by calling NRA leaders ''fear mongers'' and ''extremists.''

FBI Director Freeh said foreign control of telecommunications networks presents ''substantial and unacceptable'' risks to law enforcement, intelligence, and national security. Freeh raised his concerns in a letter to the House Commerce Committee as it began considering a bill that would rewrite telecommunications laws.

CIA Director Deutch said he wants to create an agency combining the intelligence offices that interpret spy photos. Photo analysis is now spread among the CIA and Pentagon departments.

''See-no-evil'' export policies have put American-supplied weapons at the center of most of the world's ethnic and territorial conflicts, according to a survey by the New School of Social Research. One or more parties obtained US weaponry or military technology in the period leading to the outbreak of armed conflict in 45 of 50 cases.

A Senate panel yesterday approved the nomination of former Governor Carlin to be the next US archivist, despite objections about his qualifications.

O. J. Simpson's lawyers think they've found a way for their client to tell his story without opening himself up to hostile prosecution questions. They say jurors should be allowed to hear a taped statement Simpson gave police just hours after the double murder. That's because a prosecution witness referred to the statement in testimony Wednesday. The defense and prosecution were directed to present arguments on the subject yesterday.

The World

NATO warplanes bombed an ammunition depot near the Bosnian Serb headquarters of Pale yesterday. NATO was making good on a UN threat to punish the Serbs for shelling Sarajevo and for failing to comply with an ultimatum to return four pieces of heavy weaponry to UN-guarded collection sites. Serbs hit Sarajevo Wednesday with phosphorous bombs in violation of international treaties. The US said it was fully behind the NATO air raid.

Israeli officials welcomed an announcement by US Secretary of State Christopher that the Jewish state and Syria had agreed on a framework for security arrangements for the Golan Heights after an Israeli troop withdrawal. Prime Minister Rabin said the understanding would allow ''free negotiations'' on security aspects of the peace deal. The tough issues, however, such as the pullout timetable and the nature of peace still must be resolved, he said. (Story, Page 1.)

Peace talks between Russians and Chechen rebels broke down after four hours yesterday without agreement, and the separatists accused Kremlin troops of launching new attacks. Chechnya's negotiator said the Chechen side would meet the Russians again as soon as Russia was ready for further action. No date has been set for a fresh round of talks. (Story, Page 5.)

Northern Ireland Secretary Mayhew and Sinn Fein leader Adams met behind closed doors during a Washington conference to promote investment in Northern Ireland. Mayhew said the meeting was civil but he regretted not getting a commitment on the question of IRA disarmament. The Clinton administration signed a compact with Britain and the Irish Republic to boost tourism in Northern Ireland.

US efforts to persuade North Korea to accept light water nuclear reactors from South Korea have so far been unsuccessful, North Korea's top negotiator said. Talks are to resume today.

Japanese and US officials both claimed they won support from other countries in their battle over car trade, but the two sides appeared to have made no headway in resolving their dispute. Japan, meanwhile, said it will retaliate if the US imposes sanctions in a struggle over airline routes, raising the threat of another trade battle. Japan, trying to force the US to change a 1952 aviation treaty it says unfairly favors US airlines, is withholding approval of 11 new routes for Federal Express through Japanese airports to East Asia.

Political activists circulated new challenges to China's communist leaders yesterday, defying a police dragnet against dissent ahead of the sixth anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Despite the detention of at least 10 dissidents, activists distributed a new edition of the 1993 pro-democracy Peace Charter and a Christian group's open letter decrying the plight of a growing underclass.

The ANC and Inkatha Freedom Party broke a year-old deadlock in talks and agreed to meet again. Inkatha is pressing for virtual autonomy in KwaZulu-Natal.

Tensions rose after Brazilian President Cardoso sent hundreds of soldiers Wednesday to take over four refineries in Sao Paulo and Parana, industrial states hobbled by a 22-day oil-workers strike. In Pakistan, a strike called by the ethnic Mohajir National Movement brought Islamabad to a virtual standstill as militants fought gun battles with police.

Haiti's electoral council released its final list of candidates, just one day after the UN said the June vote may be delayed if the ballot wasn't determined.

Etcetera

The Collegium for African American Research, a new association of European academics, is delving into the study of black American life and its contribution to US culture. Poet Jean Toomer, abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, and playwright August Wilson are among those who made important contributions to US culture, the scholars have found.

Preparations for the Sydney Olympics in 2000 are a ''financial mess,'' with costs threatening to spiral out of control and construction of several key facilities behind schedule. The New South Wales minister for the Olympics said the costs for the athletes' yet-to-be-built village alone could total $432 million.

A bust of former Vice President Agnew was unveiled and placed outside the US Senate chamber along with the other vice presidents. Agnew, who has rarely been seen in Washington since his bitter 1973 resignation, was in attendance.

Dracula fans descended on Romania to lay wreaths of garlic at his Transylvania shrine and explore what lies behind the vampire myth. An international Dracula congress met in Bucharest.

An insurance industry research group says utility vehicles top its list of stolen cars. The Highway Loss Data Institute says the Mitsubishi Montero and Toyota Land Cruiser had the highest theft rates between 1992 and '94.

Top 10 Cars of 1995

Ranking based on number of problems per 100 cars

Number of Problems

1. Honda Prelude 48

2. Infiniti J30 48

3. Lexus SC 300/400 49

4. Acura Legend 50

5. Lexus LS 400 51

6. Geo Prizm 56

7. Infiniti G20 62

8. Volvo 940 62

9. Honda Accord 63

10. Cadillac Deville/

Concours 64

-- J. D. Power and Associates

''We've got a long way to come back. But it's too early to make any snap judgments.''

Acting Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig

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