News In Brief

The US

Ross Perot told Congress he would call off his third-party campaign if lawmakers quickly enacted a balanced-budget amendment, laws banning lobbyist gifts, and campaign-finance reform. Critics, including some disaffected United We Stand members, said Perot was leveraging the new party's policies for personal gain. Also, the White House and Senator Dole said they are already moving forward on such an agenda.

Orders for durable goods - long-lasting items like refrigerators and cars - shot up 4.9 percent in August to post the biggest increase in a year, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Analysts had expected only a moderate gain.

European countries at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York appealed to the US and other debtor nations Tuesday to pay their debts to the cash-strapped organization. Its regular budget was depleted in August. It has since been running on peacekeeping funds. The US is the biggest debtor nation and owes the UN some $1.2 billion.

An agreement to avoid a ''train wreck'' when the budget deadline runs out seemed closer as Congress and the White House continued talks. House leaders planned to introduce a stopgap six-week spending bill today that would extend government operations long enough for a full budget compromise to be struck. (Story, Page 1.)

The Supreme Court agreed to hear several cases in its upcoming session yesterday. They include whether a federal appeals court wronged two police officers convicted in the beating of motorist Rodney King; whether the military can impose the death penalty; and whether the 1990 census should be adjusted to compensate for minorities missed in the original count.

As the GOP's 1996 budget got closer to a final draft, several high-profile programs were denied funding. Clinton's prized Americorps lost funding prospects in a full Senate vote Tuesday. A Senate panel voted to cut student loans by about $10 billion. And closing the $22 million-per-year Congressional Office of Technology Assessment was part of Congress's attempt to pare $200 million from its own budget. Despite all the cuts, many programs passed unscathed. (Story, Page 1.)

''I have never been for a tax cut for the rich or anyone else,'' Senator Simpson, a Republican, said Tuesday. He and Senators D'Amato and Hatch may have been swayed by Democrats' assertions the GOP is cutting Medicare in order to give a tax break to the rich. The three questioned the wisdom of such a tax break as Medicare faces $270 billion in trims.

The remains of 18 US servicemen killed in Vietnam and Laos during the Vietnam War were to be flown home yesterday. The Pentagon said the remains will be returned from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, to the mainland for burial.

A former Intel Corp. employee accused of giving computer secrets to a rival company said he was trying to make amends for his earlier theft of the technology of a competing firm, Advanced Micro Devices, according to FBI court documents. The evidence released Tuesday was filed in a federal court in Phoenix to support criminal charges against William Gaede.

Some 4,000 illegal immigrant workers were picked up in an INS sweep of six Southwestern states from Alabama to Tennessee, the immigration service said Tuesday. It was the largest raid in the region in a decade. The effort will continue because officials believe the 4,000 is just a ''drop in the bucket'' compared to the total number.

Mark Whiteacre, the Archer-Daniels Midland executive-turned -whistleblower, has agreed to plead guilty to tax fraud and income tax evasion, the New York Times said yesterday. He will likely help the government prosecute his former employer in a price-fixing scheme.

Some 5,600 drivers have complained to US highway officials that their GM Anti-Lock brakes don't work properly and may not stop their vehicles in time to avoid crashes.

The World

Bosnia's factions have agreed to a formula for sharing power once the war ends, building on an agreement Sept. 8 that divided the state between the Muslim-Croat federation and the Bosnian Serb republic. But a cease-fire is needed and disagreement continues about how strong the central government should be. The latest deal obliges the two entities to create a joint government with a presidency, parliament, and constitutional court after general elections are held. (Story, Page 1.) In Zagreb, the UN said at least 250,000 people have been uprooted from their homes in the former Yugoslavia in the past three months.

Libya ordered about 1,500 more Palestinians out of the country, a UN official said. A representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Cairo said Libya asked the commission to set up tents for the Palestinians at the Egyptian border, where he said he has already seen tents erected by the Libyan army. Muammar Gaddafi began expelling Palestinians last month, saying it was in protest against the PLO's peace deal with Israel. But Libya has tasted signs of the Islamic rebellion and experts see a l ink with the expulsions.

Angola received pledges of almost $1 billion in aid to help it recover from 20 years of civil war. The European Union-sponsored conference in Brussels brought together more than 400 potential donors. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali said that the world's poorest nations are worse off today than five years ago, blaming both internal problems and a shortage of development aid.

France will halt production of anti-personnel land mines, boosting the campaign for a worldwide ban on these killers.

North and South Korea opened a third round of talks in Beijing on food aid for the flood-stricken North, whose top delegate said damage had reached $15 billion. Because many fields are covered with gravel after heavy rains began in July, damage could remain for up to eight years, Chon Guhn Chul said.

The Russian coast guard fired on two Japanese fishing boats yesterday in waters north of Japan, according to Japanese authorities. The boats were reportedly towed to the Russian island of Sakhalin. The Russians said the boats were unmarked and had been poaching.

Portuguese voters go to the polls Sunday. Opinion polls show the country going narrowly for the opposition Socialists, turning out the Social Democrats and Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva after a decade in power. But undecided voters could alter the outcome.

Chinese officials refused to accept a letter from Hong Kong journalists yesterday appealing for the release of Xi Yang, a colleague serving a 12-year sentence on charges of stealing state secrets. Xi, a reporter for a Chinese-language daily, was detained two years ago under China's wide-ranging secrecy laws.

Australia's union movement chose its first woman leader yesterday. Jennie George, a former teacher and the daughter of Russian migrants, was endorsed as president-elect of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the most powerful position in the country's labor movement.

Japanese Prime Minister Murayama said yesterday that he would not interfere with a Justice Ministry move to outlaw the Aum doomsday group accused of the gas attack on Tokyo subways. The move is based on Japan's controversial 1952 Subversive Activities Prevention Act.

A suspect in the killing of a Roman Catholic cardinal in Mexico denied the government charge that he admitted shooting the prelate. Edgar Nicolas Mariscal said he was forced to sign a confession. Meanwhile, the government said President Ernesto Zedillo will visit the US Oct. 9-13.

Etcetera

The USS Constitution is back in the water again following a two-year restoration. The keel of 198-year-old ''Old Ironsides'' was strengthened, and copper plating was replaced. The Navy used X-ray machines and sonic testing to locate rotting timbers that needed replacing.

Levi Strauss got a ''steal'' on some publicity until one city stepped in. The company began putting pairs of its new $55 khaki pants on bus-shelter ads in New York and San Francisco, expecting that they would be stolen. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said it was ''exactly the wrong message to be teaching people.'' The ads came down in New York yesterday.

Where Students Never Stop Studying

Parents: Wonder if your child is really studying far away at college? In a survey of 500 students at each of 309 top schools, respondents said they studied hard at the following schools.

1. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena)

2. Deep Springs College (Dyer, Nev.)

3. Reed College (Portland, Ore.)

4. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, Pa.)

5. Rhode Island School of Design (Providence)

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge)

7. Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, Calif.)

8. Maryland Institute-College of Art (Baltimore)

9. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, Ind.)

10. Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.)

- ''The Princeton Review Student Access Guide to the Best 309 Colleges,'' 1996 edition

'' There is no guarantee of success, but today's agreement moves us closer to the ultimate goal of a genuine peace.''

- President Clinton, on the accord reached by foreign ministers of Bosnia, Croatia, and Bosnian Serbs.

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