News In Brief

The US

There were picnics and parades in much of the country this weekend, but in Detroit a Labor Day strike turned violent. On Sunday 3,000 strikers formed a human wall around a printing plant and delayed production of the Detroit News and Free Press. Some clashed with riot police. They are seeking higher wages and new work rules. Also, a Time-CNN poll found that two-thirds of Americans say unions are still needed.

Candidate Bill Clinton considered Colin Powell as a running mate in 1992 and twice asked him to be secretary of state. President Bush also wanted Powell to be CIA director. Powell declined all the offers. And as his autobiography hits stores next week, it is still unclear if he will turn down the many calls for him to make a White House run. The book, which will be excerpted in Time Sept. 11, reveals some conservative principles that would enable him to run as an independent or moderate Republican: low taxes, faith in free enterprise, and new scrutiny of entitlements.

Congress reconvenes today. On the docket: a defense bill with controversial spending on the ''star wars'' missile-defense system and the B-2 bomber; Clinton's veto of the Bosnian arms embargo bill; and taming the budget. A critical budget-balancing issue is Medicare spending. The GOP will likely divulge details of its plan to cut Medicare spending by $270 billion over 7 years. (Story, Page 1.)

Hearings on the incident at Ruby Ridge begin tomorrow. Senator Spector, who will chair them, said Sunday he may use subpoenas and immunity offers to compel federal agents to testify. At issue: whether US agents acted too cavalierly in the 1992 Idaho standoff and subsequently covered up their mistakes. The first to testify: Randy Weaver, the white separatist whose wife and son were killed. (Story, Page 1.)

V-J Day anniversary celebrations wrapped up in Hawaii yesterday. One attempt at reconciliation came at a meeting of US and Japanese soldiers. In one room, a retired US Navy chaplain went up to a Japanese couple and asked for forgiveness for hating the Japanese. They smiled and assented. And a former Japanese fighter pilot, wearing a ''USS Yorktown'' cap, apologized for Pearl Harbor. The Yorktown was one of the few US ships that ''got away'' from the attack.

Some Japanese groups are pressuring George Bush to cancel a speech at a Tokyo rally next week because the sponsoring group has close ties to Reverend Moon, head of the Unification church. The church has been accused of manipulative recruitment and brainwashing its members. A Bush spokesman says the group has ties to the church but is separate from it. Meanwhile, Bush will become the first US ex-president to meet Vietnam's Communist leaders when he goes there next week.

Senator Pell was expected to say today that he will not run again. The six-term Rhode Island Democrat chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until last year and founded the Pell grant student-loan program. His retirement would bring to seven the number of Democratic incumbents who have said they will not seek reelection next year. One Republican has said so.

Rep. Mel Reynolds will resign, he said Friday. The Chicago Democrat faces four years in jail for having sex with a minor.

The government is not doing enough to catch Social Security cheats, the congressional watchdog, GAO, says in a new report. The US is being scammed out of millions of dollars each year. One fraud source: middlemen who help non-English-speaking immigrants get benefits. The number of legal immigrants getting disability payments has increased sixfold in 10 years, while nonimmigrants have increased twofold.

The anti-Castro group that organized a protest-flotilla that sailed toward Cuba Saturday says it will stage another protest Oct. 22, when Castro speaks to the UN in New York. Saturday's 25-boat flotilla turned back when it encountered rough seas and after one craft sank.

The motor-voter law has reportedly driven 5 million Americans onto voter registration rolls in the eight months since it was enacted. The New York Times says most new registrants are avoiding party labels and saying they are independents.

The World

The Bosnian Serbs are beginning to open supply routes and will move their heavy weapons from around Sarajevo in compliance with UN demands, Bosnian leader Karadzic told former US president Jimmy Carter yesterday. NATO was threatening to resume airstrikes if the Serbs didn't comply with a Monday night deadline to remove the heavy weapons. US envoy Richard Holbrooke arrived in Athens yesterday for talks with the Greek prime minister and foreign minister about efforts to end the war. Greece has good ties with Serbia. (Story, Page 1.)

Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to address the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women today, and delegates will begin debating a proposed platform. Topics include: easing women's poverty, health care, education, and job opportunities. The gathering opened yesterday with the UN's call for gender justice. Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto defended Islam and called for an end to female infanticide. South Africa's Winnie Mandela, arriving late for the welcoming ceremony, reportedly was turned away in an altercation with doorkeepers. China has been criticized for surveillance and heavy-handed policing. (Story, Page 1.)

Japan began trials yesterday for the first of more than a hundred members of a doomsday group on charges related to subway gas attacks, murder, and kidnappings. The trial of Shoko Asahara, the guru who heads Aum Shinri Kyo, was set for Oct. 26.

Iraq may have used chemical weapons during the Gulf war, newly released Pentagon documents reportedly show. Meanwhile, U.S. News & World Report said Iraq's President Hussein has been negotiating with Mauritania, in northern Africa, for political asylum. Twelve ships carrying US military equipment have arrived in the Gulf in recent weeks. And UN arms inspector Rolf Ekeus said yesterday there was little prospect trade sanctions against Iraq would be lifted soon.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres voiced disappointment yesterday at what he said was Syrian President Hafez al-Assad's ''pessimistic tone'' on peace moves and his refusal to enter into high-level talks. Also, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin made a surprise visit yesterday to the West Bank town of Hebron, reportedly to examine security options. And the militant Palestinian group Hamas is losing popular support and will form a party to oppose Israel's existence politically, the group said Sunday.

France was expected to begin nuclear testing in the South Pacific yesterday. The French military seized a third protest vessel Sunday after it violated boundaries around the site. Nine legislators from five nations set sail for the site Sunday for protests. Meanwhile, a bomb exploded in a Paris market Sunday. Paris police say they dismantled another bomb yesterday.

Rebels exploded two bombs near two banks in Srinagar, India, yesterday, killing at least 10 people and injuring dozens. The Hizbul Mujahedeen, the most well-armed separatist group in India, claimed responsibility. The assassination of Punjabi leader Beant Singh in a bomb blast last week in Chandigarh will make it more difficult for India to bow to the demands of rebels holding four Western hostages in Kashmir, authorities said yesterday.

Colombian President Ernesto Samper, whose election campaign is suspected of taking drug money, helped collect donations, his former campaign manager reportedly told prosecutors, according to the weekly newsmagazine Cambio 16.

Britain and Northern Ireland held talks in Dublin yesterday to defuse a crisis over the decommissioning of IRA guerrilla arms.

Etcetera

The discovery of a stand of virgin forest that has seen no woodsman's ax since the days of the Pilgrims may prevent a Massachusetts ski area from adding a new trail. The Wachusetts Mountain Ski Area near Boston leases the land from the state, which may block the new trail.

If you'd invested $10,000 with Warren Buffett in 1956, and stayed with him through the years, you'd have $95 million today, according to a just-published biography of the top investor titled ''Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist.'' His advice to investors: Approach the stock market as if just 20 investments per lifetime are allowed - pick good stocks and stay with them.

Volumes of Controversy

From 1982 to 1995 a survey tracked attempts to ban books from student reading lists. These titles were challenged the most:

1. ''Of Mice and Men,'' John Steinbeck

2. ''The Catcher in the Rye,'' J.D. Salinger

3. ''Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,'' Alvin Schwartz

4. ''The Chocolate War,'' Robert Cormier

5. ''Many Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,'' Alvin Schwartz

6. ''The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,'' Mark Twain

7. ''I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,'' Maya Angelou

8. ''Go Ask Alice,'' anonymous

9. ''Bridge to Terabithia,'' Katherine Paterson

10. ''The Witches,'' Roald Dahl

- People for the American Way in Washington, D.C.

'' There is a very different attitude than before. Before the predominant attitude was, 'This is mine. I paid for it....' Now they accept the program will have to be changed.''

- Gail Wilensky, an organizer of GOP Medicare forums, on senior citizens' view of the health-care program.

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