News In Brief

By , David Mutch, and Peter E. Nordahl

The US

President Clinton made two stops in Montana during a swing through the West. He defended his land-use policies and renewed his call for more civility in the nation's political rhetoric. During a televised ''town hall'' meeting, he was to make the case for increased fees and restrictions on grazing, mining, and logging on federal land in a region known for its antigovernment feelings. In 1992, he was the first Democrat to carry Montana since President Johnson.

Personal income and spending both rose only 0.3 percent in April, further signs the economy is slowing, the Commerce Department said. It also said factory orders fell 1.9 percent to $293.96 billion, the biggest tumble in nine months. Jobless claims rose by 9,000 last week to 389,000, the highest level since January 1994, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average climbed to 376,000, the highest level since October, 1992. Manufacturing activity stalled in May as growth in the nation's factories skidded to a halt, a survey by the National Association of Purchasing Management showed.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Taking Hollywood to task for movies and music promoting casual sex and graphic sex, presidential hopeful Dole urged the entertainment industry to clean up its act to ''help our nation maintain the innocence of our children.''

Interior Secretary Babbitt approved transfer of federal land in the Mojave Desert to California for the nation's first state-licensed, low-level radioactive waste dump. A court suit is pending over the 10-year-old issue.

A joint House-Senate committee is working on a budget bill that would allow oil drilling in a nonwilderness section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Alaska's two senators want to rename the area to make it easier to introduce oil exploration to the northeast coast of the state.

The US government can't bar its employees from accepting travel expenses for unofficial speeches about agency business, the District of Columbia US appeals court said. The overturned rule allowed federal employees to take free trips to give speeches ''only by toeing the agency line.''

More than 1 in 5 Americans unknowingly drink tap water laced with lead, radiation, or other contaminants, a study by two environmental groups said, and the problem is growing. They predicted increased health problems if a House bill weakening the 1972 Clean Water Act passes.

The Mississippi River, 10 feet above flood stage, was expected to start falling today, as was the Missouri River. Residents continued to clean up after flooding in Missouri and Illinois.

A black couple in Florida, who demanded a new trial after being told that an all-white jury made racist jokes during deliberations in their suit against an insurance company, settled out of court. Meanwhile, Los Angeles County's presiding judge, pointing to juror problems in the O.J. Simpson trial, said the jury system is on the brink of collapse.

Eastman Kodak said it has lost $6 billion since 1975 through documented anticompetitive practices by Japan and Fuji Photo Film Co. Kodak has filed an unfair trade practices petition with the US government. K-mart, meanwhile, will close 72 of its 2,300 stores, cutting 5,800 jobs in a restructuring move. It will also open 150 new stores. Two former American Honda Motor Co. executives were convicted of accepting bribes in return for providing sought-after cars and dealerships to dealers.

A broad international conventional arms agreement denying sales to ''pariah countries'' may be sealed by year's end, a US official said.

A black man was charged with arson in the burning of Randolph County High School in Alabama. A white principal had threatened to cancel a prom if mixed-race couples attended, prompting a racial incident.

Teenagers are more likely to be victims of violent crime than seniors, a Justice Department survey said. It said 12 to15-year-olds face a 1 in 8 chance of being a crime victim, but those 65 or older only a 1 in 179 chance. The mayor of San Francisco, meanwhile, proposed keeping youths under 18 off the streets late at night.

The World

Bosnian Serbs stepped up their defiance of the West yesterday, holding a civilian UN official hostage and shooting at UN peacekeepers near Sarajevo. Serbs and Bosnian government forces battled for control of all but one of the nine UN observation posts vacated by retreating or kidnapped peacekeepers. Britain and France announced that they were creating a rapid-reaction strike force to protect peacekeepers. Germany sought support from opposition lawmakers for sending German warplanes to help UN troops reposition themselves in Bosnia. US President Clinton also readied Americans for the possibility that US soldiers may enter Bosnia to help the UN forces move to safer positions. Congress demanded more details, and Republicans warned Clinton against going ahead without their approval. European and NATO defense ministers are to meet in Paris Saturday to discuss the hostage standoff. (Story, Page 1.)

The Israeli Army set a Nov. 1 target date for starting a troop withdrawal in the West Bank. The timetable clashes with Palestinian plans to hold elections by September. The Palestinians want Israeli soldiers withdrawn before polling is held. Prime Minister Rabin and PLO leader Arafat are to meet later this month to resolve the difference. The Palestinian's main negotiator on elections rejected Israel's proposal to pull troops out of only six West Bank towns. The deal would exclude Hebron, the West Bank's second-largest Palestinian city.

Russian aircraft and heavy gunners renewed attacks on rebel positions in Chechnya yesterday, and troops were reported to be advancing on separatist fighters' bases in the southern mountains. In Tajikistan, meanwhile, four Russian Army officers were seriously wounded when gunmen attacked their truck. Several thousand Russian troops are deployed in Tajikistan to back the government of President Rakhmonov.

Dozens of angry earthquake survivors confronted regional officials yesterday, demanding money to flee to mainland Russia from Sakhalin Island. Rescue crews continued to search for survivors. Officials estimate as many as 2,000 deaths from the 7.5 magnitude quake. (Story, Page 1.)

Critics demanded to know how Mexican President Zedillo plans to pay for a development plan that calls for robust growth in an economy devastated by soaring prices and the collapse of its currency. The National Development Plan, unveiled Wednesday, forecasts a minimum of 5 percent growth a year to provide jobs for a population that will reach 100 million in five years. The plan is expected to be endorsed by Mexico's Congress.

On the nuclear front, Japan criticized China for its latest underground nuclear test two weeks ago and called on Beijing to exercise restraint now that negotiations aimed at effecting a global testing ban is nearing success. Working-level negotiators, meanwhile, met yesterday amid hopes that the US and North Korea may be closer to concluding their stalled nuclear talks. A diplomat close to the talks said some progress had been made, but a full agreement remains elusive. And a senior UN arms-control official said his latest mission to Iraq had so far failed to resolve outstanding issues related to Baghdad's suspected biological weapons development.

UN officials aborted plans to fly 250 Vietnamese home yesterday, saying the ''boat people'' changed their minds in the belief that a GOP bill in Congress may win them asylum in the West. The bill pledges $30 million to resettle up to 20,000 boat people in the US. Many analysts say the bill is unlikely to become law.

The Greek parliament approved an international treaty allowing Greece to extend its territorial waters, an act Turkey said would prompt war between the two NATO allies. Greece has not said it will actually enforce the treaty and extend its territorial waters, but it made clear it has the right to do so.

Etcetera

The tide of refugees continues to rise around the world. The US Committee for Refugees says more than 16 million refugees sought asylum in 1994. Palestinians make up the biggest number of refugees, followed by Afghans, Rwandans, Bosnians, and Liberians.

Marilyn Monroe was honored yesterday with a US stamp. Postal officials hope the issue will rival the one honoring Elvis Presley, the best-selling US stamp ever.

Parachute from a plane at 2,000 feet 331 times in 24 hours and you'll have a shot at the Guinness Book of World Records, as Jay Stokes did. He beat the old record by 30 jumps. Stokes is a chief warrant officer stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.

President Yeltsin made an impassioned defense of the Russian potato during a visit to a farm near Moscow Wednesday. Russian farmers, who once held a monopoly, are struggling with imports.

Top-Grossing Films In the US and Canada, May 26-29

1. ''Casper,'' $22.1 million

2. ''Die Hard With a Vengeance,'' $19 million

3. ''Braveheart,'' $12.9 million

4. ''Crimson Tide,'' $12.8 million

5. ''Forget Paris,'' $7.7 million

6. ''Johnny Mnemonic,'' $7.4 million

7. ''Mad Love,'' $6.8 million

8. ''While You Were Sleeping,'' $5.8 million

9. ''Tales From the Hood,'' $3.9 million

10. ''French Kiss,'' $3.4 million

Associated Press

''How are we going to be able to grow without a solid industrial base? You can't impose a certain growth rate by decree.''

Political commentator Raymundo Riva on Mexican President Zedillo's National Development Plan

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