News In Brief

THE US

The FBI completed its search in the rubble of Oklahoma City's federal building. The site was turned over to the General Services Administration, which oversees federal property. An FBI spokesman said the building "is no longer a crime scene." Whatever evidence the FBI found will be sent to the FBI lab in Washington. A federal judge, meanwhile, denied bail to bombing suspect Terry Nichols, saying Nichols could be a danger to others and might flee.

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The Republican-led Congress returns from a 10-day recess today under pressure from President Clinton to quickly pass a bill dealing with foreign and domestic threats. Senator Dole threatened yesterday to block a floor vote on the legislation unless Democrats stop tacking on amendments. The Senate is to resume work on the bill today.

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The road to the White House brought three GOP contenders to Miami Beach last weekend, but it was a noncandidate - House Speaker Gingrich - who received the biggest ovation at a GOP fund-raiser. Gingrich said he wouldn't run for president in 1996, but he did receive the state GOP's National Statesman of the Year award, upstaging Senator Gramm, Governor Wilson, and former Governor Alexander. Senator Dole didn't attend the event.

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Elizabeth Dole promised to sell more than $15,000 in Walt Disney Co. stock after learning that a company subsidiary distributed "Priest," a movie her presidential candidate husband called a symptom of Hollywood's values crisis.

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A meeting of Ross Perot's backers is expected to draw top GOP leaders, presidential hopefuls, and possibly the president himself. The United We Stand America organization is to meet in Dallas Aug. 11-13. In the past week, Senator Dole, Senator Gramm, former Governor Alexander, and commentator Pat Buchanan have all accepted Perot's invitation, a spokesman said. Perot told the New York Times that the other Republican contenders had accepted as well.

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AFL-CIO President Kirkland, under siege by major elements of the labor federation, said he may drop plans to seek reelection if he "could find trustworthy successors." Kirkland said he had been contemplating retirement until other union officials pressured him to step down. (Story, Page 1.)

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Seventy-eight percent of Americans would support having US ground troops help rescue UN hostages in Bosnia, a Newsweek magazine poll said. Only 11 percent said they would oppose sending troops under any circumstances.

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The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued a hurricane warning for the Florida Gulf Coast . The storm's maximum sustained winds were near 75 miles per hour. Forecasters said Allison's center could make landfall sometime this morning. Allison is the first hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season, which began Thursday.

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NRA officials told the Boston Sunday Globe that the IRS has launched a wide-ranging review of the group's tax-exempt status. An NRA spokesman said NRA board members believe the audit is politically motivated.

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The Congressional Accountability Project, led by Ralph Nader, said it will press ahead with an ethics complaint against House majority leader Armey, despite his admission of breaking a House rule by letting an outside group circulate a letter on his congressional stationery.

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A nationwide consortium of utilities is moving ahead with plans to build a radioactive-waste dump on the Mescalero Apache reservation in New Mexico, a spokesman said. The Justice Department, meanwhile, is proposing putting federal magistrate courts on Indian reservations to help tribes fight crime. Some Indian leaders said the plan infringes on their sovereignty.

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More than 42,000 book-industry professionals gathered in Chicago last weekend to consider two of the fastest-developing trends in the business: electronic or "new media" digital books and a growing interest in religious and spiritual books. Some 300 companies displayed electronic books and media products. American Bookseller Association officials set aside exhibit space for 45 religious publishers but were quickly oversubscribed. ABA officials said a broad spectrum of faiths and sectarian perspectives was represented.

THE WORLD

Five people were killed and 10 wounded, including two children, when a shell hit a government-held suburb of Sarajevo yesterday. Serb gunners were suspected. NATO and EU officials have agreed to form a new rapid-deployment force of up to 9,000 troops to deter attacks on UN peacekeepers in Bosnia. US President Clinton backed away from the idea of US troops helping UN forces redeploy. The US offered air support but committed no ground troops. Bosnian Serbs released 121 peacekeepers but continued to hold more than 250 others. At press time, NATO had not located the US pilot shot down over Bosnia on Friday.

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A Chechen military spokes-man dismissed a Russian claim that its forces had taken the rebel base of Vedeno, southeast of Grozny. Heavy fighting in the area has continued since Saturday. In Tajikistan, two Russian security-force soldiers and seven rebels were killed in a clash.

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Chinese officials managed to prevent any major commemoration of the June 4, 1989, crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square, when the military killed hundreds of unarmed demonstrators. Chen Ziming, accused of planning the 1989 demonstrations, held a hunger strike yesterday. Officials have detained dozens of activists in the weeks leading up to the anniversary. The US renewed China's most-favored-nation trade status over the objections of human-rights groups.

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Japanese prosecutors are to meet today to prepare an indictment of the leader and other top members of the sect suspected in the March 20 nerve-gas attack on Tokyo's subway. They will be charged with murder, Japanese media reported. Meanwhile, US-Japan talks on increasing airline routes through Tokyo to other Asian nations broke down. Japan wants a new treaty, saying the 1952 one is obsolete. Prime Minister Murayama's divided coalition must decide this week on whether and how to draft an apology to other Asian nations on Japan's World War II aggression.

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US officials showed public optimism for the first time over drawn-out talks with North Korea on Pyongyang's nuclear program. Contacts resume today in Kuala Lumpur. (Story, Page 1.) In South Korea, hundreds of students rioted in Seoul after they were prevented from marching to protest a crackdown on labor-union activities.

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Rescue teams headed home from Neftegorsk after losing hope of finding more survivors from the earthquake that flattened the Sakhalin Island town in Russia's Far East a week ago. Deaths are expected to exceed 1,600, half of the town's population. More than 400 trapped people were rescued.

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India asked Sri Lanka to arrest and extradite Velupillai Prabhakaran, head of the Tamil Tigers, for the murder of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. The leader said he would commit suicide rather than submit to arrest. Tamil rebels yesterday bombed and sank an International Red Cross boat, north of Sri Lanka, used to carry aid to rebel-held areas.

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Iraq said it will account for missing biological material sought by the UN only after the UN certifies that it has complied with disarmament demands on chemical and ballistic weapons.

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Clinton sent a letter to Chilean President Frei expressing satisfaction in the conviction of two military officers for the 1976 murder in Washington of Orlando Letelier, an exiled Chilean diplomat, and an American aide. Activists had pressed for justice for two decades.

ETCETERA

There are people dying for him to do it. But I don't know whether he will be in or not - and I don't think he knows either."

- GOP party activist William Bennett on whether House Speaker Gingrich will run for president in 1996

The Pentagon unveiled a $10 million saucer-shaped reconnaissance plane it says will be able to detect a basketball on the ground from 45,000 feet. The pilotless craft, called DarkStar, has yet to be flight-tested.

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Woodpeckers have delayed the launch of Discovery until July. NASA technicians are having to repair 135 holes the birds made in fuel-tank insulation.

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Rebecca Marier graduated at the top of her West Point class of 988 cadets - the first woman to do so in the 193-year history of the US military academy.

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Madame Chiang Kai-shek, widow of the former Nationalist Chinese leader, will be honored at a Capitol Hill reception for her activities during World War II.

Top 10 Hardcover Fiction

1. "The Rainmaker," John Grisham (Doubleday)

2. "The Apocalypse Watch," Robert Ludlum (Bantam)

3. "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster)

4. "The Celestine Prophesy," James Redfield (Warner)

5. "Ladder of Years," Anne Tyler (Knopf)

6. "The Bridges of Madison County," Robert James Waller (Warner)

7. "Once Upon a More Enlightened Time," James Finn Garner (Macmillan)

8. "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories," James Finn Garner (Macmillan)

9. "Moo," Jane Smiley (Knopf)

10. "Mind Prey," John Sandford (Putnam)

- Publishers Weekly

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