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President Clinton's nominee for surgeon general, Dr. Henry Foster, faced a second and possibly final round yesterday in his confirmation battle in the Senate. The White House stepped up efforts to secure the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster, after losing a first vote 57-43 on Wednesday, but prospects appeared dim. Foster has been bitterly opposed because he performed 39 abortions in his 38-year career.
The federal deficit increased by just under $39 billion in May, 21.5 percent more than for the same month a year ago. But for the first eight months of the fiscal year, the shortfall was 19.1 percent less than for the same period in 1994, the Treasury Department said. The deficit for the eight months ending May 31 was $133.2 billion, compared with $164.7 billion for the comparable period last year.
In a new sign of weakness in the job market, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits jumped 20,000 last week to 395,000, the highest level in a year and a half, the Labor Department said. The closely watched four-week moving average of new weekly jobless claims made its ninth straight advance, jumping by 3,750 to 381,000, the highest since October 1992.
The first spending bill passed by the House this year showed that the budget-cutting knife loses some of its edge when it comes to pet military projects back home. The $11.2 billion military construction bill passed Wednesday includes $500 million in projects not requested by the Pentagon or by Clinton.
The Base Closure and Realignment Commission was to begin voting yesterday on a hit-list of 177 military bases and installations across the US. It will decide whether to close, scale back, or realign those facilities - or whether to make additions to the list. The final list will be sent to Clinton by July 1.
Senate conservatives, led by Senator Gramm, denounced welfare legislation approved by the Senate Finance Committee, complaining that it does not deserve to be called reform. The conservatives want restrictions they say are needed to discourage out-of-wedlock births. (Story, Page 1.)
The Justice Department widened its probe of Microsoft's plans for a new on-line network, the New York Times reported. Microsoft intends to place the access software for its service, Microsoft Network, on the company's new operating system. The Justice Department is looking into whether this type of packaging gives Microsoft an unfair advantage over its rivals.
The Air Force directed a special panel to examine how its own investigators determine and report the causes of major crashes. It was responding to charges by a former safety official that the service has a poor record of safety probes because officers want to avoid embarrassment and hide culpability.
Sprint Corp. yesterday announced the signing of a $4.1 billion joint venture agreement with Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom to provide telecommunications services around the world. The European telecoms will purchase 20 percent of Sprint, including 86.2 million shares of newly issued Sprint stock. The deal will better equip the telecoms to compete if their markets are deregulated.
NASA said a leak in the space shuttle "Atlantis" is fixed, clearing the way for today's launch. But weather forecasters expect only a 20 percent chance of good weather for liftoff. If Atlantis takes off today, it will dock with Mir on Monday. (Story, Page 3.)
Former United Way chief William Aramony has been sentenced to seven years in prison for looting the national charity.
A relieved Japan struggled to make sense yesterday of a 16-hour hijacking. Police stormed the hijacked plane at dawn yesterday, rescuing all 364 hostages aboard and seizing the man who reportedly threatened to blow up the aircraft unless a sect leader accused of masterminding the nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway was freed from jail. Police said no explosives were found and the man apparently was acting alone.
Hours before last-ditch talks to resolve an auto dispute got under way in Geneva yesterday, Japanese officials voiced hopes that a settlement would be reached to avert US sanctions. Trade Minister Hashimoto was quoted as saying there would be room for talks to avert a trade war if the Clinton administration would change its goals. Washington has threatened to impose $5.9 billion in tariffs on Japanese luxury cars if no deal is reached by June 28 on increasing access to Japan's auto market.