News In Brief

By , Abraham McLaughlin, and Peter Nordahl

The US

The two-pronged congressional investigation into the Whitewater scandal continued yesterday. Jean Lewis, senior criminal investigator with the Kansas City office of the Resolution Trust Corp., told the House banking committee that Clinton administration officials - from the Treasury and the Justice Departments - made ''a concerted effort to obstruct, hamper, and manipulate'' an investigation of the failed Arkansas thrift whose director was a business partner with President Clinton. The Senate Whitewater committee was told by Susan Thomases, a New York lawyer and friend of Mrs. Clinton, that she - Ms. Thomases - gave no advice to limit a search of White House lawyer Vincent Foster after his suicide.

Republicans on the House ethics committee have agreed to let their staff research the possible use of an outside counsel to examine whether Speaker Newt Gingrich turned a taxpayer-subsidized college course into a profitable book. Also at issue is whether the course was actually a political fund-raising tool for Gingrich, as compared to an educational service. On Monday the speaker had to dodge union-led demonstrators at a town-hall meeting on Medicare reform.

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President Clinton unveiled a series of executive orders he said would shore up environmental safeguards against budget-cutting proposals by the GOP that he says would roll back air and water safeguards to pre-1970 days. Clinton could announce today proposals to curb smoking by young people and also a decision on whether the federal government should move towards regulating tobacco as an addictive drug.

Senator Packwood allegedly grabbed and kissed a minor, a girl working in his office as an intern in 1983, the ''Oregonian'' newspaper reported. He is under investigation by the Senate ethics committee on charges he made unwanted sexual advances to 17 women.

IBM and Toshiba plan to build a $1.1 billion computer-chip manufacturing plant in Manassas, Va., the Japanese company confirmed Monday. The plant reportedly will be a 50-50 venture and is slated to begin production in the fall of 1997.

The productivity of the American workplace rose 3 percent at an annual rate from April through June, a slight improvement over the first quarter's 2.5 percent, the Labor Department said. But hourly pay for workers advanced just 0.2 percent, slower than the 1 percent gain in the first quarter.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. fired Mark Whitacre Monday over allegations that he stole at least $2.5 million. Mr. Whitacre, who joined ADM in 1989 and appeared headed for the company's presidency, blew the whistle on his own company for alleged price fixing, cooperating with government agents.

Senator Dole is apparently looking at bolstering child-care help as part of his welfare-reform package. The move aimed to win more support for his measure from Democrats and moderate Republicans. Conservative Senator Gramm argued the Dole proposal does not go far enough to prevent out-of-wedlock births.

Beverly Heard, Congressman Reynolds's chief accuser in his sexual-assault trial, continued her testimony yesterday. She described several money-for-sex encounters she had with Reynolds, an Illinois Democrat, when she was still a minor. The congressman faces up to 86 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Lori Fortier, the wife of a man linked to the Oklahoma City bombing, was scheduled to appear before a federal grand jury at Tinker Air Force Base yesterday. Her lawyer said she had been granted immunity. Stephen Jones, attorney for suspect Timothy McVeigh, says a severed leg found in the rubble raises the possibility the real bomber died in the blast.

B-2 stealth bombers are coming off the assembly line late and with some serious technical problems, a General Accounting Office report said.

O.J. Simpson's defense team is reveling over a ruling it says can help it prove that retired Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman is a lying racist who had reason to frame Simpson for murder. A North Carolina appeals court ruled that a screenwriting professor may be subpoened to testify at the trial about interviews she had with Fuhrman that could contain racist remarks.

The World

The UN reported yesterday that victorious Croats were shelling some of the 120,000 Serb refugees fleeing the Krajina region - the area captured by Croat forces last weekend. In what may be the largest refugee exodus since Yugoslavia began splintering in 1991, the refugees are attempting to reach the safety Serb-held areas in Bosnia. But many were stuck between the Croatian Army to the north and the Bosnian Army advancing from the south. The two armies could clash, with Croatian Serbs getting help from a now-advancing Serb-dominated Yugoslav Army column. (Stories, Pages 6, 8; Editorial, Page 20.)

At 11:02 a.m. 50 years ago today, the US dropped its second atomic bomb, on Nagasaki, Japan. The event is often overshadowed by the Aug. 6 Hiroshima bomb, as it was then, too. The Japanese media's first mention of the Nagasaki attack came Aug. 12: ''Nagasaki Also Hit by New-Type Bomb; Damage is Expected To Be Comparatively Light,'' read a Tokyo paper. A mountain shielded downtown Nagasaki from total destruction. Today little remains to remind visitors of the bomb. Unlike Hiroshima, Nagasaki has no major monuments to the event.

The PLO and Israel agreed on a timetable yesterday for Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank. The deal says that Israel will leave some West Bank towns six months after Palestinian elections. A year after elections, Israel would give up control over most West Bank roads. The PLO had wanted a three-month withdrawal. And Israel had already agreed to pull out of some West Bank towns. An election date has not been set, but both sides are aiming for December.

Russian counterintelligence agents detained American Army Captain Jason Lynch for conducting ''unauthorized work'' in Siberia, near one of the country's most sensitive nuclear facilities, Russian authorities said yesterday. They said he may have been searching for cruise-missile guidance systems. He was released after several hours. The US Embassy in Russia said Lynch is an instructor at West Point.

Iraq told the UN yesterday that the team investigating its germ warfare capabilities must be out by the end of August. The UN team said Sunday it is unlikely to be done by then.

New Zealand will take France to the International Court of Justice over eight planned French nuclear tests next month. Australia won't join the legal action, saying it will be ineffective.

Leftist rebels in Colombia continued deadly attacks on civilians to mark President Ernesto Samper's first year in office. The rebels are resisting peace initiatives. They collect commissions on coca harvests, the plant used to make cocaine.

Cuba's armed forces has removed antiaircraft units that had been deployed along Havana's waterfront over the weekend.

The fugitive chairman of Mexico's largest airline says he paid $8 million in illegal campaign contributions to the governing party during his country's presidential elections last year, the New York Times reported yesterday.

A Salvadoran death squad has struck again, in the killing of two reputed gang members. The government recently began a crackdown on the squads that were responsible for thousands of deaths in the country's 12-year civil war that ended in 1992.

Imelda Marcos says her husband, dictator Ferdinand Marcos, bequeathed much of his allegedly ill-gotten wealth to the Filipino people. She says the amount may be big enough pay off the nation's $37 billion foreign debt.

Etcetera

NBC has made an end run around the Olympics bidding process to win the US TV rights to the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. The three other networks didn't even have a chance to bid. NBC will pay $705 million for Sydney and $545 million for Salt Lake City.

Jonathan Edwards of Britain broke his world record in the triple jump twice on Monday and captured the gold medal in the event at the World Championships in Goteborg, Sweden. The new mark is 60 feet 1/4 inch.

American archaeologists have reportedly unearthed a marketplace dating to 3000 BC at an excavation site in northeastern Syria. The expedition from St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, Mo., discovered the market in Tel Tninir., 300 miles from Damascus, Syria's capital.

Buckingham Palace opened to visitors this week for its third summer season. Palace officials said about 450,000 people were expected to tour the inside of Queen Elizabeth's London residence during the next eight weeks.

Men are about to break into the ranks of China's powder-blue contingent of flight attendants. Shanghai-based East China Airlines has selected its first eight male attendants from more than 1,000 college students who replied to its ads.

Top-Grossing Films, Aug. 4-6

(Preliminary figures)

1. ''Waterworld,'' $12.8 million

2. ''Something to Talk About,'' $11.1 million

3. ''Babe,'' $9 million

4. ''Virtuosity,'' $8.3 million

5. ''The Net,'' $7.5 million

6. ''Apollo 13,'' $6.8 million

7. ''Clueless,'' $4.7 million

8. ''Nine Months,'' $4.6 million

9. ''Operation Dumbo Drop,'' $4.2 million

10. ''Bushwacked,'' $2.6 million

- Associated Press

'' It's not a conservative country. It's a right-of-center country. For us to be able to govern effectively, we need to be able to have the input of the moderates.''

- Tony Blankley, Speaker Gingrich's spokesman, on the importance of moderates to the GOP

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