News In Brief

THE US

The government's use of tear gas in its raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, was a major topic of continuing congressional hearings. Former Treasury Secretary Bentsen said Friday that he did not approve the raid or the tear-gas use. The agency that conducted the raid, ATF, is under Treasury control. Also, a social worker said Davidian leader Koresh was an extremely intelligent but very frightening man who exacted total allegiance from his followers.

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President Clinton spent three hours with Whitewater investigator Kenneth Starr on Saturday, answering questions under oath. The investigation centers on whether money was funneled to Clinton's Arkansas gubernatorial campaigns from banks linked to the failed Whitewater investment. In Congress, meanwhile, Justice Department officials testified Friday about the days following White House aide Vincent Foster's suicide. They said that then-White House counsel Nussbaum blocked access to Foster's Whitewater-related papers after initially saying he would allow it.

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Clinton scolded Speaker Gingrich Saturday for delaying creation of a commission on political reform. The two agreed to form the bi-partisan panel in a New Hampshire discussion last month. A Gingrich aide called the charge a "cheap shot" and said the commission should not be rushed lest it fail.

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The "Good Ol' Boys" gathering is just one example of ATF racism, black agents of the firearms-enforcement agency said. The allegedly racist yearly meeting in Tennessee is the topic of a Congressional probe. The agents said Friday that they have encountered many racist remarks during their careers. ATF director McGaw said he has worked to end discrimination.

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California's universities will lose all federal research grants if they abolish affirmative-action programs for hiring, a federal official said Saturday. The University of California regents voted Friday to abolish the race- and gender-preference programs in the nation's second largest university system.

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Some $9 billion is expected to be cut from this year's federal budget. Clinton is expected to approve the $16.3 billion recision bill that Congress passed Friday. The measure cut housing and job-training programs most severely and limited abortion aid to the poor. It also includes $7.2 billion in new spending for California and other disaster-stricken states, as well as antiterrorism programs and aid to Jordan.

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A Senate spat over hearings on Senator Packwood erupted Friday and could escalate this week. Democrat Boxer said she would "not be deterred" in trying to force hearings on Packwood's alleged long-time sexual harassment. Ethics Committee chairman McConnell has refused to pursue Packwood hearings. Some GOP members threatened to investigate Senator Kennedy for the 1969 drowning of a woman in the car he was driving and Senator Daschle for influencing an investigation for a friend.

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The government withdrew a subpoena for documents from Microsoft Corp. on Saturday. The surprise move appeared to halt the Justice Department's investigation of the software giant's proposed on-line service. But it is still unclear whether the government will sue Microsoft for antitrust violations.

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Susan Smith was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder Saturday for killing her two young sons. The jury deliberated for 2-1/2 hours. She faces the death penalty but could get life imprisonment. Sentencing begins today.

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O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran says the defense plans to wrap up its case by the first week of August.

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Conservative scientists and doctors challenged Gingrich on his denigration of antismoking efforts. The group of 40 said it betrays conservative ideals and urged Republicans to stop taking campaign money from tobacco companies.

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Another Japanese-US trade feud was averted Friday. Under the new arrangement, Federal Express will get seven new routes to Japan that continue into the rest of Asia.

THE WORLD

The UN ordered the first combat unit from the allies Rapid Reaction Force into Sarajevo yesterday. The deployment of mostly British soldiers is in response to Serb attacks that killed two French peacekeepers Saturday. Western allies threatened to retaliate against Serbs in the "safe area" of Gorazde Saturday, and Islamic countries pledged to boost arms shipments to Bosnian Muslims Friday. Meanwhile, the besieged enclave of Zepa was under heavy Serb attack Sunday. Although the Serbs claimed last week that Zepa had fallen, Muslim forces have refused to surrender, leaving the fate of about 16,000 civilians in doubt.

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Exit polls in Japan's upper house elections yesterday suggested Socialist Prime Minister Murayama squeaked into the lead with an unconvincing victory. Early indicators showed a poor showing for the governing coalition, which had hoped to win more than half of the 126 upper house seats. The polls indicated a strong performance by the main opposition New Frontier Party, which was projected to win about 40 seats. The Communist Party was projected to win eight seats.

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Sino-American relations threatened to plunge further Sunday as China attacked a new US bill calling on President Clinton to press Beijing for reform on human rights. China called on Washington to stop congressional passage of the bill or face further damage to relations that have cooled dramatically in the last few weeks. Meanwhile, China has test-fired four missiles in the East China Sea since Friday.

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Israel and the PLO will miss a Tuesday signing deadline for a deal on expanding Palestinian West Bank self-rule, PLO chief negotiator Ahmed Korei said. Israeli officials warned that a window of opportunity might be lost if a deal is not concluded by the end of July. Israel said Thursday it would free up to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners at the signing of an accord.

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In South Korea, relatives of people missing in a collapsed Seoul shopping mall continued a protest early yesterday, setting fire to police vehicles and exploding about 100 gas canisters.

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Britain and the IRA's political wing, Sinn Fein, have ended months of deadlock and held a secret top-level meeting aimed at boosting Northern Ireland's quest for a lasting peace. Political commentators saw the meeting as a major step forward.

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Bangladeshis battled to stem erosion caused by recent flooding Saturday in an attempt to keep the city of Chandpur from falling into the River Dakatia. Flooding has killed 200 people.

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French President Jacques Chirac has suffered a 10 percent drop in domestic popularity, from 54 to 44 percent, because of his decision to resume nuclear testing in the South Pacific, according to a French polling institute.

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Bolivia's Congress extended a 90-day state of siege prohibiting political gatherings. The government is concerned a crackdown on coca growers could lead to unrest. Labor unions called a strike in protest.

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Kashmiri militants holding five Western hostages, including an American, said Sunday that one of their captives was in serious condition following a gunbattle last Friday with Indian security forces. They claim Indian forces have raided their hideout repeatedly.

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Tanzania's ruling party elected Science and Technology Minister Mkapa as its presidential candidate in the nation's first multiparty

elections.

ETCETERA

It's hard to make a decision when there's nobody with new ideas. To be honest, I wish they would all lose."

- Japanese voter Shigeru Ouchi after casting his ballot in Tokyo yesterday

Miguel Indurain of Spain won the Tour de France for a record fifth time yesterday, finishing the 20th and final stage more than four minutes ahead of his nearest rival.

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Detractors call them the mutant sausages of the cat world. To their fans they are the felines of the future. The munchkin, a new breed, was introduced at the International Cat Show in Anaheim, Calif. It has short legs and is half the size of normal cats.

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The pyramids at Giza will soon be more viewable. The Egyptian government plans to spend $12 million to safeguard the 4,500-year-old Pharaonic treasures from Cairo's encroaching urban sprawl. Bulldozers have already razed old buildings that blocked the view.

Car Scorecard

In an annual survey gauging consumer satisfaction after one year of ownership, the following cars came out on top:

1. Lexus

2. Infiniti

3. Saturn

4. Acura

4. Volvo

6. Audi

7. Cadillac

8. Honda

9. Mercedes-Benz

10. Toyota

The following rated tops in customer satisfaction for sales and delivery:

1. Saturn

2. Infiniti

3. Cadillac

3. Lexus

5. Volvo

6. Mercedes-Benz

7. Audi

8. Lincoln

9. BMW

10. Jaguar

- J.D. Powers & Associates

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