News In Brief

THE US

A surprise move in currency markets by the US, Japan, and Germany on Tuesday sent the dollar to its highest level in six months. In rare unity, the three nations bought more than $1billion. The Clinton administration's new strategy of buying when the dollar is rising - not trying to bail it out when it's falling - is credited for the success.

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The Justice Department will pay $3.1 million to white separatist Randy Weaver, it said Tuesday. The compensation is for a 1992 shootout with federal agents in which Weaver's son and wife were killed. The government did not admit any wrongdoing in the affair. But the fifth government investigation of the incident began Friday. Congressional hearings start September 6. Although many antigovernment groups consider Weaver a cause celebre, he has repeatedly said he doesn't want to be a role model. "I'm not a spokesman, and I don't want to lead anyone anywhere," he said.

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Hurricane Felix moved toward the East Coast yesterday, packing 80 m.p.h. winds. Dare County, N.C., authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order Tuesday, sending 75,000 people inland for shelter.

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Senator Bradley was expected to announce yesterday that he will not run for a fourth term and will not challenge President Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

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Senator Packwood says he should not be expelled from the Senate even if the Ethics Committee finds him guilty of sexual and official misconduct charges. In an interview Tuesday, he said the only reason why senators have been expelled was treason, and the allegations against him are not comparable.

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First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to go to Beijing for the UN women's conference next month, but she has put off her decision because of Beijing's detention of Harry Wu, a Chinese-American rights activist. Meanwhile, the Clintons are vacationing in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where Chelsea will join them tomorrow.

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Neiman-Marcus, Sears-Roebuck, and Victoria's Secret were among the 16 clothing retailers and manufacturers that received subpoenas Tuesday in the widening investigation of an alleged "sweatshop" discovered Aug. 2 in El Monte, Calif.

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With Congress on recess, Democrats and Republicans will take to the airwaves over Medicare, the parties said Tuesday. Radio ads will promote each party's position on the health-care system for the elderly. In 11 key Democratic districts, Republicans will make their pitch that Medicare will be bankrupt if the rate of increase in spending is not cut by about $270 billion over seven years. Democrats have bought ads in 13 states to promote their view that the system will be sound until about 2050.

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O.J. Simpson trial prosecutor Marcia Clark was expected to ask Judge Ito to step down because of a conflict of interest. At issue is whether Ito can maintain impartiality even though his wife, a Los Angeles police captain, is said to be the target of derogatory comments by Detective Fuhrman. "I love my wife dearly, and I am wounded by criticism of her," Ito said Tuesday. His decision was expected as early as yesterday.

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Teachers say the biggest barrier to delivering America's students into the information age is the lack of teaching time, training, knowledge, and money. Teachers who were surveyed said these factors were blocking greater use of computers, on-line services, cable television, CD-Roms, laser discs, and the global computer network Internet in their classrooms.

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America's teenagers overwhelmingly say their peers have some form of racial prejudice even if they do not admit it, says a write-in survey by USA Weekend magazine.

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A word of caution to moms: A study of college students at the University of Virginia released Tuesday found that the students lie in about one of every two conversations they have with their mothers. And they apparently lie to strangers in about 77 percent of conversations.

THE WORLD

A high-ranking US diplomatic mission met Tuesday with Bosnian and Croatian leaders to discuss a US peace proposal. European Union mediator Carl Bildt was heading for Sarajevo yesterday to meet with Bosnian government leaders. Croatia appears to be massing forces around southern coastal Dubrovnik in preparation for war against Bosnian Serbs. Fighting erupted in western Bosnia Tuesday, and Croat forces are threatening to capture Serb-held Drvar. About 900 refugees, mostly Croat but some Muslim, crossed the Sava River from Bosnia Tuesday evening. Most of the remaining 15,000 Croats in the Banja Luka region of Serb-held northern Bosnia were expected to be gone within days.

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PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat said yesterday that the organization's Executive Committee endorsed a partial accord with Israel over expansion of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank. Further discussion will be needed to conclude a broader pact on the town of Hebron, Palestinian water rights, a halt to Jewish settlement activities, and other issues. Ballistics experts have matched the bullet that killed a Palestinian in the West Bank on Sunday to a Jewish settler's rifle. The suspect was arrested Monday. An Israeli soldier has been courtmartialed and jailed for refusing to evict illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

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Kashmiris took part in an unprecedented general strike yesterday against militants fighting for Kashmir's independence, closing communities to protest the execution of a Norwegian hostage. No word emerged on the fate of four other Western captives the rebel group threatened to kill unless India released 15 jailed Kashmiri insurgents by midnight Tuesday. Meanwhile, families of the two British hostages urged India yesterday to rescue the men by force after the deadline passed.

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China has begun a military exercise in which it plans to test-fire guilded missiles and live artillery shells into waters off Taiwan. China's government expelled to Hong Kong eight Greenpeace activists yesterday, a day after they staged a demonstration against Chinese nuclear tests.

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With imports soaring, Japan's surplus in merchandise trade dropped 23 percent in July from a year earlier to $9.34 billion. Its trade surplus with the US fell 31 percent, to $3.87 billion, from $5.62 billion in July 1994. Exports to the US shrank for the first time in 32 months. Auto exports accounted for much of the decline, plunging 31 percent to $1.76 billion.

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A day after overthrowing the government, coup leaders in Sao Tome and Principe, an island nation in Western Africa, proposed talks with political parties yesterday and invited the imprisoned president to help form a ruling junta. The president refused. The junta will rule for 90 days; a general election will follow. Portugal has offered the president political asylum.

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An arms embargo on Rwanda will be suspended so the government can better defend itself against militants blamed for last year's massacre of half a million people. The UN Security Council agreed on a draft resolution on the issue Tuesday; a council vote was expected yesterday.

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The governor of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero Tuesday fired several top members of his cabinet accused of trying to cover up the police slaying of 17 leftist peasants in June. On Monday, the government's Human Rights Commission issued a report saying police indiscriminately killed the peasants.

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Delayed a day by the wrath of Hurricane Felix, Bermudians were scheduled to go to the polls yesterday to decide whether to seek independence from their colonizer, Britain.

ETCETERA

This is where the party is"

- Boat owner Art Kirchner, on why he was staying at the Hatteras Island, N.C., marina

despite the impending approach of Hurricane Felix.

Wind-up radios? This month, a Cape Town factory starts producing inventor Trevor Baylis's radios, which are powered by wind-up generators. The company is 49 percent owned by a group of disabled people who will form most of the factory's 150 employees.

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Just call it a "virtual wedding." When Bobbi Kamil and John Ittelson said "I do" in Eugene, Ore., it was beamed by satellite to a half-dozen reception sites around the country. The couple wanted to make sure their families and friends witnessed the ceremony.

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Russia's borders are notoriously porous, but police were stunned recently when they caught smugglers trying to spirit a dismantled plane across the frontier to China. An Antonov-2 biplane was loaded onto two trucks and marked as scrap destined for a Chinese customer.

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The Grateful Dead canceled its fall tour after the passing of the band's leader, Jerry Garcia, last week.

Top 10 Video Rentals

1. "Disclosure,'' (Warner)

2. "Dumb and Dumber," (New Line)

3. "Star Trek Generations," (Paramount)

4. "Nell," (Fox)

5. "I.Q.," (Paramount)

6. "Interview With the Vampire," (Warner)

7. "Boys on the Side," (Warner)

8. "Murder in the First," (Warner)

9. "Legends of the Fall," (Columbia TriStar)

10. "Ready to Wear," (Miramax)

- Billboard Publications Inc.

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