News In Brief

By , Suman Bandrapalli, Abraham McLaughlin, and Peter Nordahl

The US

The House was set to pass the overall budget bill yesterday, and a Senate vote was expected today or Monday. Last minute negotiations that further solidified prospects of passage included: an agreement to postpone debate over how to cut farm subsidies by $13.4 billion over seven years; and Senator Dole restoring $8 billion to Medicaid to satisfy senators concerned their states were being shortchanged. President Clinton reiterated his vow to veto the bill, saying the plan hurts the poor, the environment, and education. (Story, Page 1.)

The federal deficit declined for the third straight year to $164 billion, Clinton said Wednesday, citing the number as proof that his economic plan is working. He also decried Republican refusal to raise the $4.9 trillion debt limit - a move that could make the US default on its loan obligations. The GOP says it wants to be assured of federal budget cuts - by passing its 7-year deficit-reduction plan - before raising the debt ceiling.

Recommended: Presidential libraries: from Boston to Honolulu ... or maybe Chicago

Would Harry Truman have sent US troops to Bosnia? That was the question Clinton posed Wednesday in Independence, Mo., at a fund-raiser for the former president's library. Speakers hailed Truman's quick, no-apologies decisionmaking. Clinton's answer to what Truman would do: He would say ''prepare for the future, as I did,'' and send the troops. (Troops, Page 1.)

John Sweeney's father drove a bus. His mother was a maid. He was elected AFL-CIO president Wednesday and promises to revive the flagging union in part by recruiting young and minority workers. (Story, Page 3.)

Joe Camel is taking a vacation. The controversial cartoon character that acts as cigarette pitchman is reportedly being removed from billboard advertising through the end of the year. ''We decided he needed a short break to keep him fresh,'' an R.J. Reynolds company spokesman said.

The Senate Whitewater committee will call Susan Thomases, a longtime friend of Hillary Clinton, and Margaret Williams, Mrs. Clinton's chief of staff, to testify again. The panel will also subpoena 49 more telephone records and other White House documents. And three handwriting experts said Wednesday a torn-up note attributed to former White House counsel Vincent Foster was not written by him.

Walt Disney Company decided to release ''Powder'' - a movie about a teen with magical powers - despite bad publicity generated by the disclosure that the film's writer-director, Victor Salva, is a convicted child molester. Disney said it didn't know about his past when it hired him but proceeded once his past came to light.

The position of women in business may depend on if they work for small or large company. Nearly half of 895 CEOs of small and mid sized firms polled recently said their next CEO would be a woman, a recent survey by George S. May International found.

The California Supreme Court rejected an appeal seeking to block distribution of a $92 million bequest to be split among The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston; Stanford University; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Distribution of the funds is expected before the end of the year. The three institutions had reached agreement in January 1993 over a trust set up by the will of Bella Mabury. The bulk of her estate was to go to the Christian Science Church, owner of this newspaper, provided it published the book ''Destiny of the Mother Church'' by Bliss Knapp, a former church officer who was Mabury's bother-in-law. The settlement agreement ended a dispute over whether the church had complied with the terms of the trust. Several Mabury heirs objected to the settlement, which gives 53 percent of the funds to the church. After a trial court approved the settlement in December 1993, the heirs filed a number of appeals.

The Atlanta Braves headed into last night's fourth World Series game in Cleveland with a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Indians.

The World

Russian President Yeltsin was admitted to the hospital yesterday in Moscow with what his aides said was heart trouble. It's the second time in four months he has been hospitalized with that diagnosis. Also, the Russian military said yesterday it would retaliate against Chechen militants for killing at least 18 Russian soldiers and capturing eight in an ambush. The incident occurred Tuesday after a Russian tank hit a car with Chechen passengers. (Story, Page 6.) And authorities are investigating a violent commando attack on an airport in Sleptsovsk, Ingushetia, prompted by a false report that rebels seized it.

Rebel Serbs in Croatia agreed in principle to return Eastern Slavonia to Croatia yesterday, but differences remained on the length of the transition period. Diplomats say a complete agreement is necessary to avert war and boost the peace process. Meanwhile, a US diplomat urged the Serbs for unconditional access to 2,000 missing Bosnian Muslims believed to be held at a northern Bosnia prison camp. (US troops, Page 1.)

Tamil rebels killed 36 villagers in northeastern Sri Lanka yesterday, a military spokesman said. About 425 rebels have been killed and more than 500 injured in eight days of fierce fighting in the Army's new offensive on the rebel stronghold of Jaffna. The rebels run Jaffna as a virtual mini-state with their own courts, police, and civil administration.

''A very negative signal,'' said PLO Chairman Arafat yesterday of Congress's vote to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Newspapers in the Arab world slammed the US decision and said it would jeopardize the Middle East peace process.

Zapatista guerrillas went on alert and may suspend peace talks with the Mexican government, a rebel commander said Wednesday. Tensions have increased since the arrest of a guerrilla leader. In a further blow, opposition leader Sen. Heberto Castillo resigned from the Chiapas peace commission to protest the guerrilla's arrest. And in Las Margaritas, opposition leaders, accusing the ruling PRI of stealing the election, took over the town hall and held government leaders hostage.

US Asst. Sec. of State Robin Raphel will likely find heightened tensions when she begins a visit Sunday to South Asia. In Afghanistan, the Islamic Taliban militia is poised to launch an assault on Kabul. India and Pakistan reportedly are taking different sides among the factions. The decision by the US Congress Tuesday to sell Pakistan arms worth $368 million has displeased India.

South Korean prosecutors hunting ex-president Roh's alleged hidden slush funds yesterday said they found more money linked to Roh, bringing the uncovered amount to $129 million.

China sent soldiers, grain, and money to help nearly 41,000 families whose homes were destroyed or left uninhabitable by an earthquake Tuesday that killed 45 people and injured 350, officials in southwest China's Yunnan Province said. Meanwhile, in central and eastern China, drought has made it difficult for more than 2 million people to find enough drinking water.

Estonia's parliament yesterday voted to back a new government formed by Prime Minister Tiit Vaehi. His previous administration collapsed amid scandal.

Italian Premier Lamberto Dini, facing a possible no-confidence vote yesterday, promised to step down as soon as parliament approves his 1996 budget and an equal-access media law for politicians. His statement was geared to tip the scales in his favor when parliament voted later in the day.

Etcetera

The excitement is back at the Tokyo Motor Show, which opens tomorrow. From a beetle-shaped electric car by Nissan to a wedge-shaped aluminum sports car by Honda, Japan's auto industry is showing a return to its innovative ways. US automaker offerings include cars with right-hand steering wheels.

Israel's peacemaking with the Arabs is creating a valuable byproduct at home - an economic boom. The payoff has not been in new business with Israel's neighbors but in new trade relations with multinational companies as well as Asian and third-world countries that once shunned Israel.

The discovery of three frozen mummies, including two women apparently sacrificed 500 years ago, provides rare insights into Peru's Inca empire, archaeologists said Wednesday. The remains were found last week on a peak in the Peruvian Andes.

Many of the world's often-divided churches united in a ceremony Wednesday in Florence, Italy, to pray for peace and condemn religious wars as an absurdity.

Reagan's Lasting Legacy

Six years after Ronald Reagan left the Oval Office he remains a powerful influence among conservatives - including 1996 presidential candidates.

Bob Dole: ''If that's what you want, I'll be another Ronald Reagan'' (to a GOP meeting last summer).

Phil Gramm: ''I was a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution. And as president I want to finish the Reagan revolution'' ( to a business group this week).

Lamar Alexander: ''Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan, before he was elected to any public office ... said that in America freedom is our greatest value'' (announcing his candidacy).

Colin Powell: ''President Reagan was like a father to me'' (in a David Frost interview).

Morry Taylor: ''I'll do what Reagan did'' (to protect US industries).

Pat Buchanan: ''We shall see who deserves the chair of Ronald Reagan'' (kicking off his campaign in Iowa).

- Associated Press

'' If Harry Truman were president, would he expect the United States as the leader in NATO to be a part of the force in Bosnia? I think you know what the answer is. The answer is yes.''

- President Clinton at a Truman Library fund-raiser Wednesday, on his proposal to send US troops to Bosnia.

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