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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia HansonAbraham McLaughlin, and Peter Nordahl / September 8, 1995



The US

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Making their case for Senator Packwood's expulsion, members of the Senate Ethics Committee planned to release 10,000 pages of documents yesterday. They say the papers show a pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse of power and led them to recommend Packwood's expulsion in a 6-0 vote Wednesday. Packwood called the committee process unfair yesterday. He said he would not resign but did muse on the prospect of life as an ex-senator. Expulsion would require 67 votes and could come next week. (Story, Pages 1 and 3.)

Charging that Randy Weaver was not ''some innocent guy in the woods minding his own business,'' federal agents began defending themselves yesterday against charges by Weaver - a white separatist whose wife and son were killed in a 1992 shootout - that they acted on ''death warrants'' against the Weaver family. Top ATF agents were expected to testify yesterday that although killing Weaver's wife and son was wrong, it was an accident. (Story, Page 4.)

Hurricane Luis roared into the open seas yesterday after leaving behind destruction in Puerto Rico, Antigua and St. Martin. The US, Jamaica, and Trinidad rushed shipments of sheeting, tents, and water to many beleaguered Carribean islands. Luis was expected to continue moving into the Atlantic, but forecasters warned Bermuda residents to be watchful.

Shuttle Endeavour blasted into space yesterday after a month of technical delays. The five-man crew will spend 11 days in space and release two probes.

Six Atlanta police officers were arrested for stealing cash during drug searches and taking protection money from drug dealers yesterday. In one search, two officers allegedly told a Vietnamese man it was illegal to have more than $5,000 in cash, then stuffed $7,264 into their shirts.

Abolishing the Commerce Department was the planned topic of a Senate Government Affairs Committee vote yesterday. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown said Wednesday that closing the agency would not save the money intended. He advocates expanding it to include all the government's trade promotion offices. GOP critics say it is a bloated conglomerate that spends $4 billion on programs that duplicate other offices.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans think O.J Simpson is guilty - a number almost unchanged in two months of defense testimony, according to a Field poll. And 24 percent think he is innocent. Among blacks, however, two-thirds say he is innocent. Separately, with the jury absent, Detective Mark Fuhrman took the stand Wednesday but refused to answer most questions, pleading the fifth amendment. Tapes that have come to light recently contradicted his earlier testimony. The defense was expected to rest its case as early as yesterday.

US worker productivity rose at an annual rate of 4.8 percent from April through June, the biggest improvement in nine years. Meanwhile, first-time claims for jobless benefits fell by 10,000 last week, the first decline in five weeks, according to the Labor Department. Many analysts had expected a small rise.

Big donors to Speaker Gingrich's GOPAC may be questioned by the Federal Elections Commission, a judge ruled Wednesday. GOPAC was formed to help defeat Democrats and has been criticized for its secrecy.

Want to be a temp? Your wages may not keep up with inflation. The Labor Department said Wednesday that hourly earnings for temporary workers averaged $7.74 last November, up 2 percent from $7.59 in October 1989. During that time, the Consumer Price Index - an inflation gauge - rose nearly 21 percent.

The World

Streets in Papeete, Tahiti, were relatively quiet yesterday following fierce protests that broke out Wednesday after France detonated a nuclear test in the South Pacific Tuesday. Anti-nuclear and pro-independence activists rampaged through the city and inflicted an estimated $11 million in damage on the airport. Rioters threw a firebomb through the window of the territorial assembly and set fires throughout the area. French troops were brought in to help quell the disturbance. Meanwhile, French President Jacques Chirac snubbed an invitation for a state visit to Japan following Japan's criticism of the blast. He found himself increasing isolated yesterday by foreign governments and the French press.

Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is expected to attend preliminary peace talks with foreign ministers of Bosnia and Croatia in Geneva today. Meanwhile, major explosions rocked the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale yesterday as NATO intensified its bombing of Serb targets. Russia warned yesterday that it may reconsider relations with the West if NATO attacks continue.

PLO-Israeli talks resumed yesterday over the future of Hebron - the only West Bank city where Jewish settlers live among Palestinians. Israeli Foreign Minister Peres called Hebron ''the hardest issue'' blocking Palestinian autonomy Wednesday. For the first time, Prime Minister Rabin said Israeli troops will withdraw from parts of Hebron. Meanwhile, Palestinians held angry street protests against Jewish settlers in the West Bank Wednesday.