News In Brief

By , David Mutch, and Peter E. Nordahl

The US

President Clinton was set to veto Congress's GOP-backed, $16 billion spending-cuts package, setting the stage for negotiations between the White House and Republican lawmakers. While both share the goal of $16 billion in savings, the disagreement is over which programs to cut. Clinton objects to only a narrow segment of the cuts, but both sides believe he can sustain a veto. GOP leaders indicated that the battle over plans to eliminate the deficit by 2002 will stretch into fall. Interior Secretary Babbitt said hundreds of small national parks will close if the cuts go through. (Story, Page 3.)

Clinton will unofficially kick off his reelection campaign Sunday when he gives a commencement address at Dartmouth College. House Speaker Gingrich, who says he will not seek the presidency, will travel to New Hampshire Friday, trailed by 200 journalists, C-SPAN, and helicopters. The GOP candidates are expected to stay out of Gingrich's way. Republicans, meanwhile, are raking in huge corporate campaign contributions, the Associated Press reported.

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After striking compromises, the Senate was expected to pass Clinton's new antiterrorism package yesterday. The president dropped his objections to GOP-backed limits on appeals by death-row inmates, and Republicans adopted two Clinton amendments: expanding the limits of wiretapping and allowing the use of the military in terrorist cases involving chemical and biological weapons. Meanwhile, the federal judge weighing evidence against Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols said he denied bail because the weight of evidence against Nichols was so great.

The House Judiciary Committee was expected to approve a Constitutional amendment banning flag desecration. Forty-nine state legislatures have passed the amendment, which Clinton opposes on the grounds of freedom of expression.

Senator Packwood is to meet with the Senate Ethics Committee in closed session June 27 to discuss charges of unwanted sexual advances toward women.

Denver Mayor Wellington Webb won reelection to a second term, defeating councilwoman Mary DeGroot after a campaign marked by racial divisiveness.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that regulations that hold down cable TV rates are acceptable. The regulations reportedly have saved customers $3.5 billion since 1993. The cable industry renewed calls for Congress to lift the price controls. The same court upheld regulations to restrict children's exposure to indecent programs on cable channels leased to local groups. "Sesame Street," meanwhile, laid off 12 percent of its work force and expects a $2.5 million operating deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1, the New York Times reported.

The birth rate for unmarried women has surged since 1980, with the rate for white women nearly doubling. The overall rate is up more than 50 percent, the National Center for Health Statistics said. Meanwhile, the health of America's youth is declining as a result of pregnancy, violence, and drug and alcohol abuse, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported. Positive relationships with parents help youths resist drugs and alcohol, the report said.

Nine female CIA employees said a proposed $990,000 settlement of their sex-discrimination complaint is too weak to guarantee protection from the unfair practices they claim stunted their careers. Against the advice of their original lawyers, they are expected to ask a federal judge Friday to kill the settlement.

The Federal Reserve needs to be alert to the risks of recession in its policy decisions, according to Alan Blinder, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. He cited the recent sharp slowdown in the economy but added that a recession still could be avoided.

Philip Morris Inc. will remove cigarette ads the Justice Department contended had been placed in sports stadiums and arenas to circumvent a 24-year-old ban on TV cigarette advertising. The government said in court papers that the company's signs had appeared in TV sports coverage in 33 such locations.

The World

Bosnian Serbs freed 108 UN hostages at the border town of Novi Sad yesterday. Serbia's president promised the remaining 148 captive UN peacekeepers would be released this week. US Defense Secretary Perry told Congress that US troops might be sent to help extract UN peacekeepers only as a last resort. He said pulling the peacekeepers out, however, would lead to "humanitarian disaster." A Bosnian Serb spokesman said Serbs aren't holding an American pilot shot down last week. Germany sent 30 air force personnel on a reconnaissance mission to Italy ahead of a possible deployment of Tornado jets. Russia said it backs the deployment of a NATO force in Bosnia as long as it remains under UN command. Heavy fighting erupted yesterday in Sarajevo. (Story, Page 1.)

An Iraqi court said two Americans imprisoned for eight years for entering Iraq illegally should stay in jail, Iraq's government newspaper reported yesterday. It said the court of cassation had reaffirmed the sentences imposed by a criminal court, which convicted William Barloon and David Daliberti of crossing illegally from Kuwait in March. The newspaper suggested that appeals to overturn the sentences would not work. (Story, Page 1.)

Gunfire and explosions rocked Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, yesterday. Witnesses said troops of the Tutsi-dominated Army pushed into the northern suburb of Kamenge with armored vehicles. They reported fierce fighting with militiamen of the Hutu majority.

A day after Japan worked out a resolution to mark the 50th anniversary of World War II, South Koreans burned effigies to protest what they called an increasing military threat from their neighbor. Japan's resolution expressed remorse but stopped short of apologizing. North Korea, meanwhile, threatened to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods if drawn-out talks with the US break down. Such reprocessing would create more weapons-grade plutonium. US experts say the North already may have enough plutonium for at least one nuclear bomb.

Israel said it may take extra time to conclude the next major agreement with the PLO. The two sides face a July 1 deadline for agreeing on Palestinian elections and an Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank. German Chancellor Kohl arrived in Jericho yesterday for talks with PLO Chairman Arafat. While there, he announced an aid package for Arafat's Palestinian Authority Egyptians, meanwhile, were to select one-third of the members of their Parliament's upper house yesterday in elections seen as a gauge of more-crucial balloting in the fall.

Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui left for the US yesterday, a diplomatic coup for his country. Lee is the first Taiwanese president to come to the US. His six-day visit is styled as a private trip to his alma mater, Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. China has threatened the Clinton administration with dire consequences for letting Lee in.

Rebel leaders in southern Mexico trekked back to the negotiating table yesterday, but they hadn't decided whether to accept a government proposal to pull back troops. The two sides are parrying over the position of 25,000 federal troops. Zapatista supporters voted over the weekend to ask leaders to study the pullback further while continuing talks on reducing tensions and setting ground rules for more talks.

President Kuchma ended his long-running standoff with parliament yesterday over how to divvy up power in Ukraine, saying he would sign a constitutional agreement. Kuchma will have full control over the government and all its appointments, as well as local councils in Ukraine. In return, he said he would approve a new constitution no later than a year from now.

Etcetera

Egyptian archaeologists working in the Western Desert have found mummies with golden masks at the remote oasis of al-Hayz. Three of the mummies, late examples from the Greco-Roman period, are in excellent shape and will be displayed in museums, the Egyptian government said yesterday.

It's not snazzy and it does not rhyme. But Los Angeles County thinks its new slogan - chosen over such suggestions as "You Can Shake Us But You Can't Break Us," Floods, Fire, and Fun," and "L.A.: Come Sequester Yourself" - will improve its tarnished image. The county's choice: "Together, we're the best. Los Angeles."

NASA astronaut Norman Thagard, aboard the Russian space station Mir, has broken the US space endurance record of 84 days, 1 hour, and 18 minutes, set by three Skylab astronauts in 1974. And he isn't due back on Earth until early July.

Singapore unveiled its refurbished, high-tech cable-TV network yesterday. It said it will not allow irresponsible reporting, sex, or violence on the 30-channel service.

Top 10 TV Shows, May 29-June 4

Rank/Show/Network/Rating

1. "PrimeTime Live," ABC, 13.8, 13.2 million homes

1. "Roseanne," ABC, 13.8, 13.2 million homes

3. "Grace Under Fire," ABC, 13.6, 13.0 million homes

4. "Home Improvement," ABC, 12.4, 11.8 million homes

4. "60 Minutes," CBS, 12.4, 11.8 million homes

6. "20/20," ABC, 12.3, 11.7 million homes

7. "NBA Playoff: San Antonio-Houston," NBC, 12.1, 11.5 million homes

8."NBA Playoff: Indiana-Orlando," NBC, 11.5, 11.0 million homes

9. "NBA Playoff: Houston- San Antonio," NBC, 11.3, 10.8 million homes

10. "Thunder Alley," ABC, 11.1, 10.6 million homes

(Rating equals percentage of American homes with TVs.)

- A.C. Nielsen Co.

"With this, the voices of 21 million people in Taiwan will be heard around the world."

- A Taiwanese commentator on President Lee's historic visit to the US

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