News In Brief

The US

Democrats and Republicans sparred over the National Rifle Association's role in hearings on the raid in Waco, Texas, yesterday. Democrats are angry that the GOP allowed the group an organizational role in the hearings. Republicans deny that the NRA has ''hijacked'' the sessions. The GOP also tried to shift the focus away from David Koresh's misdeeds and onto the mistakes of federal agents. On Wednesday, teenager Kiri Jewell testified to Koresh's sexual relations with many underage Branch Davidian members, and that many compound residents were ''prepared to die.'' Top law enforcement officials were expected to address the planning of the botched raid on the Branch Davidian compound. (Clinton, Page 1; Opinion, Page 19.)

In congressional hearings on Whitewater, Democrats portrayed the days after White House aide Vincent Foster's death as muddled by sadness and confusion. But GOP Senators questioned whether there was intentional obstruction. They pointed to testimony from three police investigators who spoke yesterday. The police said that on the night of Foster's death, the White House agreed to close his office but didn't tell them later that the office was searched by presidential staff that night.

The University of California's regents met yesterday to consider abolishing minority preferences in admissions. Governor Wilson, a presidential candidate, ordered the move. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said he would disrupt the meeting. Wilson said Jackson would be arrested. The move comes as President Clinton declared affirmative-action programs necessary to end discrimination. (Affirmative Action, Page 3.)

After a House vote to block Clinton's Mexican economic bailout, the administration said it would fight to protect the $20 billion plan. $12.5 billion has already been spent, but the House proposal would stop payment on the balance. The Senate has yet to act on the measure.

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The House was expected to vote yesterday on whether to continue subsidizing mink-coat fashion shows overseas. The US currently gives $1.9 million to a special mink council.

''ER'' and ''NYPD Blue'' are the top Emmy nominated TV shows. The nominations, announced yesterday, also included ''Chicago Hope,'' ''Law & Order,'' and ''The X-Files.'' Among networks, CBS and NBC tied for the lead with 85 nominations each.

Harry Wu was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Chinese-American human rights advocate was detained in China on espionage charges. The White House, meanwhile, is reportedly considering President Bush as a special envoy to try to defuse the crisis in US-Chinese relations.

A ban on taxpayer-supported abortions passed the House Wednesday. The exception is if a mother's life is in danger. The ban was in effect for a decade until Clinton lifted it in 1993.

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee took care of their home states in a military construction bill, adding $461 million to what the Pentagon requested. The practice is a long-standing tradition. The total military budget was $2 billion higher than this year's spending.

The nation's three on-line services said Wednesday they want congressional help in a government probe of Microsoft Corp. At issue is Microsoft's inclusion of a chance to sign up for Microsoft Network - an on-line service - with its Windows 95 operating system. Competitors charge that there are antitrust violations because of Microsoft's dominance in the operating systems market. Microsoft asked a federal judge to block the Justice Department's probe, which it called a ''fishing expedition.''

Teen smoking is on the rise, the government reported Wednesday. Occasional or regular cigarette use has jumped to 18.6 percent among eighth-graders - an increase of nearly one-third over the last three years. (Teens, Page 20.)

Bond and stock markets plunged after Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan assured Congress Wednesday that the economy could soon resume moderate growth with low inflation.

Astronauts packed up Shuttle Discovery for its return to earth after an eight day trip. Landing was to be at 7:54 this morning.

The World

Relief workers are moving to a government-held town in northern Bosnia to prepare for a mass exodus from Zepa, which fell to Bosnian Serb troops Wednesday. US allies have not accepted a US proposal made yesterday that NATO respond to further Serb attacks on UN safe areas by launching a large-scale air assault that would not stop even if hostages were taken. The capture of Zepa widens Serb control over a strategic swath of land between Sarajevo and the Serbian border. The UN ''safe area'' of Gorazde is the only remaining Muslim enclave in the region. (Story, Page 5.)

Israel and the PLO bridged gaps in the peace talks yesterday. They reached a decision on Israeli troop withdrawal and who will control the water in a Palestinian-ruled West Bank. Israel reportedly agreed to give the Palestinians more water. But a full agreement has not been reached on the two major logjams in the negotiations. The two side hope to sign an accord by Tuesday.

Japan denounced French plans for nuclear tests in the Mururoa Atoll yesterday, and Japanese consumer groups stepped up calls to boycott of French products. Last year, Japan imported $5.68 billion worth of French products. Japan is sensitive about the testing: It is preparing to mark the 50th anniversaries of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Meanwhile, Japan heads to the polls Sunday for elections that are likely to raise questions on the country's murky political scene. (Story, Page 1.)

Taiwan's Parliament approved legislation yesterday paving the way for inaugural presidential elections. The presidential polls, set for March 1996, represent a zenith for democratic reforms in Taiwan that began with lifting of martial law in 1987. Violent outbursts punctuated the debate. Taiwan is also concerned about China's plans for missile tests, but China said yesterday the tests were not related to possible use of force against Taiwan.

Iraq said it will meet UN demands to destroy five machines that could be used to make ballistic-missile parts. The Security Council has said it will not consider easing its five-year-old economic embargo against Baghdad until Iraq fully cooperates with UN weapons inspectors.

In the worst ethnic violence in Pakistan this month, at least 30 people were killed in Karachi as violence spread to all four districts. More than 200 people were killed this month in political and ethnic violence.

Tamil rebels ambushed a military patrol and attacked a police commando base, killing 10 soldiers, in the first major rebel attacks in eastern Sri Lanka in a week. The clash took place at Sittandy, 130 miles from Columbo. The rebels launched a suspected poison gas attack on a police post in Batticaloa, military sources said Thursday.

Former US President Carter arrived in Sudan Wednesday to try to convince the warring sides in the country's civil war to extend a cease-fire scheduled to expire July 28. About a million people have died in the 12-year-old conflict that pits the Christian and animist south against the Muslim government in the north.

A bag containing $5,000 was swallowed by an X-ray machine conveyor in Manila's international airport Tuesday. The bag's final destination was supposed to be Vietnam, where it's owner was to discuss a multimillion-dollar dam project. The disappearance follows that of five other cash-laden bags in the airport's X-ray machines over the past weeks.

Kidnappers of five Western tourists renewed threats Thursday to kill the captives unless Indian troops called off a search for them in the Himalayans.

Etcetera

A veggie vandal had it in for a gardener in Malton, England. So the gardener, Alan Boyes, videotaped Derek Fothergill slashing zucchinis. ''I regret it, but at the time I enjoyed it,'' the produce pillager said as he paid a $45 fine. The two have a long-simmering dispute.

Jesse James is buried here, said a forensic science professor leading the exhumation of a disputed burial site in Kearney, Mo. ''There is no question in my mind this is Jesse James,'' James Starr said.

She's a Dumbo dadaist. A pachyderm Picasso. Renee the elephant has been painting at a zoo in Toledo, Ohio, for about a decade. With a slap of a paintbrush and encouragement from her trainer, Renee draws a line here, a circle there.

Top 10 Television Shows, July 10-16

Rank/Show/Network/Rating

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

2. ''Seinfeld,'' NBC, 14.3, 13.6 million homes

3. ''Major League Baseball All-Star Game,'' ABC, 13.9, 13.3 million homes

4. ''ER,'' NBC, 13.7, 13.1 million homes

5. ''PrimeTime Live,'' ABC, 12.6, 12.0 million homes

6. ''Home Improvement,'' ABC, 12.0, 11.5 million homes

7. ''Grace Under Fire,'' ABC, 11.9, 11.4 million homes

7. ''NBC Monday Night Movies: Regarding Henry,'' NBC, 11.9, 11.4 million homes

9. ''CBS Sunday Movie: War of the Roses,'' CBS, 11.6, 11.1 million homes

10. ''Roseanne,'' ABC, 11.5, 11.0 million homes

10. ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 11.5, 11.0 million homes

- Associated Press

'' There was never a time when we didn't expect to be killed by the feds.''

- Kiri Jewell, a teenage former Branch Davidian cult member on the 1993 government raid in Waco, Texas

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