News In Brief

By , David Mutch, and Peter E. Nordahl

The US

A bill to deregulate cable TV rates and impose sweeping new restraints on violence and smut on television and computer services was set for a final vote yesterday in the Senate. Among other provisions, the massive bill would let local and long-distance telephone and cable companies get into each other's businesses and free the largest electric utilities to provide an array of telecommunications services. As an amendment to the bill, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to crack down on pornography on the Internet and commercial on-line services.

The House Judiciary Committee, drafting antiterrorism legislation, struck two blows to gun-control opponents. The committee approved a new definition of terrorism that includes the use of firearms and adopted a ban on so-called cop-killer bullets capable of piercing body armor. Both occurred over the objections of GOP gun-control foes, and it was not clear whether the bullet ban would stick.

Recommended: Can immigration reform pass? Five senators to watch.

After a nationwide manhunt, agents investigating the Oklahoma City bombing found the man they called John Doe 2 but concluded that he was not involved, the Justice Department said. The FBI is still trying to determine if a second man helped rent a truck believed to have carried the bomb. Federal investigators have evidence linking the two main suspects in the case to the robbery of an Arkansas gun dealer last November and speculate that this may explain how the bombing was financed, the New York Times reported.

The four senators seeking the GOP nomination are all financially comfortable, according to financial disclosure statements required from members of Congress. The one House member running for president, Congressman Dornan, has fewer assets than do his Senate colleagues but no debt. As majority leader, Senator Dole has a slightly larger congressional salary than his colleagues have - $148,400 compared with their $133,600.

A sharp drop in May auto production caused the nation's third straight decline in industrial output for the first time since the 1991 recession. The Federal Reserve said industrial production fell 0.2 percent last month on top of a 0.5 percent drop in April and 0.2 percent in March.

A new poll by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press found that Americans are paying almost twice as much attention to the congressional debate over Medicare spending as they are to the O. J. Simpson murder trial or Senator Dole's attacks on Hollywood. The only story that beat out Medicare was the Oklahoma City bombing.

Forty-seven percent of the nation's small businesses cite taxes as their biggest problem, and 57 percent say they think taxes will remain their largest foe in the coming decade, a survey by Inc. Magazine and USA Today found. (Story, Page 3.)

Finding Cuban President Castro an inviting campaign target, three GOP presidential candidates endorsed legislation to tighten sanctions against Cuba. Senators Dole, Gramm, and Specter also criticized shifts in US policy toward Cuba. The administration opposed aspects of the initial draft of the legislation, but some of the more controversial provisions were later deleted.

Stephen Yokich took over yesterday as president of the United Auto Workers at a pivotal point in the union's history. Yokich succeeds Owen Bieber, who is retiring after 12 years as president. The labor movement is battling to rebuild after more than a decade on the defensive with many workers reluctant to align themselves with unions.

Vietnam reacted in low key yesterday to the prospect that it may finally get full relations with the US, apparently seeking not to put pressure on Clinton for swift action. Vietnam was reacting to Secretary of State Christopher's recommendation to Clinton that he establish full diplomatic relations with Hanoi.

The defense in the O. J. Simpson murder trial began cross-examination of a coroner, who offered an approximate time of the killings based on medical factors. Los Angeles TV station KCAL announced plans to return to regular programming at the request of viewers.

The World

Government troops attacked Bosnian Serbs north of Sarajevo, but an army source said after the fighting died down that it was just a test of Serb reactions. A major offensive to end Serb control of Sarajevo - where food warehouses are empty - is still expected. French President Chirac received US President Clinton's backing for the 10,000-man rapid-reaction force that France, Britain, and other nations are sending to Bosnia, but it is not yet known what the US Congress will choose to do. The Serbs are still holding at least 26 peacekeepers and say they won't be released until the UN frees four Bosnian-Serb soldiers.

Group of Seven leaders opened their meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, saying they will try to restore the credibility of the UN and NATO in Bosnia. The US and Japan have agreed to resume talks on their auto-trade dispute June 22 in Geneva, but Clinton said he will still raise the issue in Halifax. The leaders will try to beef up the IMF's crisis resources and focus on proposals to streamline the UN's economic and social organizations. UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali sent the leaders a letter proposing they issue bonds worth $1.4 billion to help ease the UN's fiscal crisis. (Stories, Pages 6 and 8.)

The furor over France's decision to resume nuclear testing in the South Pacific is expected to play a prominent role at the G-7 summit. Clinton said US irritation over the tests should not obscure the harmony of the alliance. Prime Minister Murayama of Japan, the only nation to have suffered nuclear attack, said he will protest the decision. South Pacific nations have threatened to cancel $147 million in French arms sales. (Story, Page 3.)

A top Israeli peace negotiator offered the PLO the prospect of Palestinian elections within four months in exchange for a partial deal on Israeli redeployment in the West Bank. A July 1 target date for an agreement had been set, but Israel said a complete agreement by then is not possible. (Story, Page 1.)

An Iraqi TV station run by Saddam Hussein's eldest son denied reports that Iraqi army units were fighting each other near Baghdad, but US intelligence confirmed a firefight.

At least 17 people were killed and dozens were trapped after an earthquake flattened buildings yesterday in Egion, Greece.

A special parliamentary election in Northern Ireland yesterday was seen as the first electoral test of Anglo-Irish peace plans. All signs indicated that voters in the predominantly Protestant region would express their disapproval of the peace plan.

An explosion at a pharmaceutical plant in northern Japan killed one worker and injured five. The cause was unknown. Meanwhile, after a month of police interrogation, sect leader Shoko Asahara reportedly admitted that a sect member was strangled. He has not confessed to the March 20 gas attack on Tokyo's subway.

The commander of US Pacific forces yesterday voiced concern over rising tensions in the South China Sea as the Philippines announced it had blasted another Chinese marker in the area's disputed Spratly Islands.

Chile's president pressed for strict compliance with a court order calling for the jailing of a former secret-police chief for the 1976 murder in the US of exiled socialist leader Orlando Letelier.

Russia's upper house reversed itself and approved a compromise election law, clearing the way for parliamentary elections in December as planned. Meanwhile, Chechen rebel leader Dudayev denied involvement in the attack on the Russian town of Budyonnovsk. (Story, Page 6.)

Etcetera

A kaleidoscope of comets greeted scientists peering through the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers reported that millions of comets surround the solar system like a halo of snowballs. They range in size from 4 to 8 miles across and circle the Solar System in a belt stretching out more than 4 billion miles from the sun.

For the second straight year, the Houston Rockets are the champions of the National Basketball Association. They swept the Orlando Magic four games to none. Fans celebrated in the streets.

Top 10 Television Shows, June 5-11

Rank/Show/Network/Rating

1. "Friends," NBC, 15.8, 15.1 million homes

2. "Turning Point: Baby Oh Baby," ABC, 15.4, 14.7 million homes

3. "NBA Finals Game 1," NBC, 14.7, 14.0 million homes

4. "Seinfeld," NBC, 14.3, 13.6 million homes

5. "ER," NBC, 14.1, 13.4 million homes

5. "NBA Finals Game 3," NBC, 14.1, 13.4 million homes

7. "PrimeTime Live," ABC, 14.0, 13.3 million homes

8. "Home Improvement," ABC, 13.7, 13.1 million homes

9. "20-20," ABC, 13.6, 13.0 million homes

10. "Roseanne," ABC, 12.8, 12.2 million homes

(Rating equals percentage of American homes with TVs.)

- A.C. Nielsen Co.

" The struggle is not over. It simply assumes new forms."

- Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev on possible revenge attacks against Russia

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