News In Brief

The US

Though acquitted on criminal charges, O.J. Simpson faces three civil lawsuits over the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Meanwhile, the debate continues over whether race or evidence influenced jurors. One juror, Lionel Cryer, told the Los Angeles Times that it was science - not race - that impelled the panel to acquit Simpson. Cryer said the jury was divided 10 to 2 in favor of acquittal before asking to rehear testimony from limo driver Allan Park. (Stories, Pag es 1, 4, and 20.)

Republicans criticized President Clinton for vetoing a bill that called for Congress to spend about $200 million less on its staff and operations for fiscal year '96 compared with '95. Clinton said he rejected the bill out of frustration with Congress's slow deliberation on federal-spending measures. Although the new fiscal year began Sunday, only two of 13 budget bills have passed Congress.

Hurricane Opal has become the strongest storm of the season, packing 150 m.p.h. winds and heavy rains. Opal took aim at the northeast Gulf Coast yesterday, as it rushed toward the Florida Panhandle. A Florida emergency official said Opal has the potential to be the most destructive storm to hit the state since Andrew. At least 10 people died and 20 others were missing in Mexico after Opal passed over the Yucatan Peninsula earlier this week.

An official at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in 1973 proposed marketing cigarettes to underage smokers as a cure for the ''stress ... awkwardness, boredom'' of being a teenager, The Washington Post reported. The paper said it obtained a copy of an internal memorandum a company official drafted. The document lays out a clear strategy for attracting the youth market, defined as approximately 21-years-old and under.

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators, the government's main economic forecasting gauge, rose 0.2 percent in August. The modest advance wiped out an identical loss the previous month. New orders received by US factories increased for the first time in three months during August, as auto plants reopened to churn out '96 models.

The FBI may be narrowing its search for the Unabomber. The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that the agency has asked for transcripts for fewer than 10 former students at three Chicago-area high schools. The FBI said the Unabomber may have attended school there in the 1970s.

Another woman will take up Shannon Faulkner's battle to get into The Citadel. A judge ruled that Nancy Mellette may enter a lawsuit that Faulkner started 2-1/2 years ago against the all-male academy. Mellette is a senior at a North Carolina military preparatory academy. Her father is a Citadel graduate, and her brother is a senior Citadel cadet.

The percentage of female presidents at the nation's colleges and universities has more than tripled in the last two decades, from 5 percent to 16 percent, according to a survey by the American Council on Education. Of 2,903 colleges surveyed, women now head 453.

Reinforcements were expected to join the battle against a fast-moving wildfire that has charred about 500 acres and destroyed 40 buildings in Inverness, Calif. The fire broke out Tuesday near Mt. Vision at Point Reyes National Seashore, about 35 miles north of San Francisco. Authorities said it was apparently started by a campfire that got out of control.

Searchers continued to look for the four-member crew of a Navy helicopter that crashed Tuesday 40 to 60 miles off the coast of Cape Henry, Va. Fragments of the aircraft were sighted a few hours after it was reported missing. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

AT&T is getting positioned to provide one-stop voice, video, and computer-data service via a new satellite system. The telecommunications giant submitted a filing to the FCC to launch up to 12 satellites. General Electric and Lockheed Martin are among a handful of companies also vying for the satellite slots.

Efforts in states to make it easier to renew driver's licenses may be misguided, a nationwide study says. The report shows screening programs help reduce fatal crashes among the elderly.

The World

The sect leader charged with murder in the nerve-gas attack on Tokyo's subways confessed to the crime and other killings, Japan's public television network NHK said yesterday. Shoko Asahara's lawyer said his client was forced into a confession and it therefore would not have any value as evidence in court. Asahara and other leaders of the Aum Shinri Kyo sect are accused of plotting to spread sarin nerve gas on several subway lines in central Tokyo on March 20. Twelve people were killed and thousands mor e fell ill.

French mercenary Bob Denard ended a coup attempt in the Comoro Islands yesterday, handing over President Said Mohamed Djohar unharmed to the French embassy. Some 900 French troops had seized two airports and secured the area around the embassy. France, the former colonial power in the islands, said it sent the troops at the request of Comorian Prime Minister Mohammed Caabi el-Yachroutu, who along with the head of the Comorian armed forces, took refuge in the embassy when the coup began.

Youths angered by the police killing of an Islamic radical suspected in France's terror bombings torched 20 vehicles Tuesday night in continuing unrest. Scattered violence and vandalism began last Friday when Algerian Khaled Kelkal was slain in a gun battle with police. Kelkal's fingerprints were found Aug. 26 on a bomb that failed to explode along high-speed train tracks outside Lyon.

The editor in chief of one of Algeria's leading newspapers was shot to death in an attack attributed to Muslim extremists, police sources said. Omar Ouartilan was editor of the independent daily El Khabar. He was the 54th journalist to be killed in Algeria's three-year Islamic insurgency by extremist groups trying to topple the military-installed government. Muslim extremists accuse journalists of collaborating with the government.

Assistant US Secretary of State Holbrooke said yesterday the Bosnian government had made a ''serious proposal'' for a cease-fire in its war with rebel Serbs. Holbrooke said he was leaving for Belgrade to discuss the proposal with Serbian President Milosevic and would return to Sarajevo with a reply today. He did not give details of the proposal and warned that the differences between the two sides remained large. NATO defense ministers, meanwhile, meet in Williamsburg, Va., today to try to agree on deta ils for a multinational force to police an eventual peace settlement in Bosnia.

Moscow is reportedly backing out of a US-Russian peacekeeping exercise the Pentagon had touted as a landmark in military cooperation. Russia is angry about last month's US-led NATO bombing of the Bosnian Serb military and about NATO's steps toward expanding eastward. ''Peacekeeper '95'' would be the first time Russian combat troops trained in the continental US.

Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, considered a top contender for the Russian presidency, said he will not run in 1996. Chernomyrdin is one of Russia's most popular politicians; his declaration may have been prompted by rumors that President Yeltsin was going to fire him.

A Frankfurt court authorized Nicholas Leeson's extradition to Singapore. Mr. Leeson is the futures trader apparently responsible for the collapse of Barings, Britain's oldest investment bank. The court approved extradition on 11 of 12 charges of fraud, forgery, and breach of trust, the British news agency Press Association reported.

Britain's latest deal with China on Hong Kong was hailed as a breakthrough by some and denounced as a British kowtow by others. Critics say in failing to confront China's threat to dismantle Hong Kong's legislature, Britain sacrificed the colony's interests for smooth trading ties with China. The agreement, signed Tuesday, clears the way for China to establish direct contact with Hong Kong civil servants and move the transition into high gear.

Etcetera

Titleholder Garry Kasparov powered his way to victory over challenger Viswanathan Anand in the 14th game of the Professional Chess Association world championship in New York Tuesday. Following his fourth win in five games, Kasparov led the match by an overwhelming 8.5 to 5.5 points. To win, 10.5 points are needed.

Failed modems, quirky computers, and busy lines turned Telecom '95, the world's largest telecommunications show, into a fiasco for many of the participants. AT&T had the slogan ''Do 15 minutes work in three minutes.'' But instead, many exhibitors at the Geneva show couldn't even access their voice-mail. Wire services were unable to send stories electronically for the first 36 hours.

A coalition of animal rights groups has asked organizers of the 1996 Olympics not to release live birds during the opening ceremonies at next summer's games in Atlanta. In a petition submitted to the organizing committee, about 200 groups, led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the birds could be harmed during the ceremonies.

Billionaires in Abundance

Forbes magazine annually compiles a list of the 400 richest Americans. Here are the top 10 billionaires:

1. Gates, William Henry III $14.8

2. Buffett, Warren Edward 11.8

3. Kluge, John Werner 6.7

4. Allen, Paul G. 6.1

5. Redstone, Sumner Murray 4.8

6. DeVos, Richard Marvin 4.3

7. Van Andel, Jay 4.3

8. Newhouse, Samuel I. Jr. 4.3

9. Newhouse, Donald Edward 4.3

10. Walton, Helen 4.3

- AP

'' A reasonable and prudent person, based on the historical background, would expect that there may very well be retaliation against the United States ... for this case.''

- Deputy FBI Director Weldon Kennedy, on the conviction of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine others.

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