News In Brief

THE US

President Clinton released his $1.64 trillion budget plan for the next fiscal year. The president is projecting a budget surplus by 2002 and tax cuts of over $100 billion over the next seven years. But the president's plan has little chance of being passed by Congress. And nearly two-thirds of the projected savings wouldn't come until the final two years - after a second Clinton term would be over. Meanwhile, Senator Dole and House Speaker Gingrich are set to meet with Clinton on a bill to fund government programs through the rest of the current fiscal year.

Dole was expected to capture almost all the votes needed to wrap up the Republican nomination in the "rust belt" primaries. Gingrich says Dole has won one of the earliest contested nominations in history.

Ending a three-week-long teachers' strike, The Board of the Oakland, Calif., Education Assembly and the city school board voted unanimously to approve a tentative contract agreement. The school district says it's committed to reducing class size and making $3.5 million in administrative cuts, two key teach-er demands. Neither side will say how much of a raise teachers will get. The pact is retroactive to July of last year and will last until 1999. Teachers and students are expected back in school today.

The Supreme Court barred use of the 20-year-old Resource and Recovery Law to sue to recover money spent on cleaning up hazardous waste on private property. Also, the court ruled that workers can sue their employers for misrepresenting the future prospects of health care and other benefits.

A barge carrying about 714,000 gallons of oil ran aground outside the Houston ship channel, spilling a five-mile-long ribbon of oil into Galveston Bay. Two of the barge's 12 tanks ruptured, leaking 176,400 gallons of No. 2 crude oil. The other tanks are still intact. Cleanup efforts are hampered by strong winds, rough seas, and heavy oil.

A jury convicted John Salvi III of murdering two women in a 1994 shooting spree at two women's health clinics in Brookline, Mass. Salvi was given the mandatory sentence of life in prison with no parole. He was also convicted of five charges of assault with intent to murder.

The Environmental Protection Agency approved expanded use of ethanol, a corn-based gasoline additive. The rule will allow use of a 10 percent ethanol blend, rather than reducing that amount to 7 percent. The decision is expected to increase ethanol sales by 100 million gallons per year.

Philip Morris regularly controls nicotine levels in its cigarettes, three former employees told the government. Their claims contradict the company's sworn testimony to Congress and appear to support the Justice Department's probe of fraud and perjury in the tobacco industry.

After coming under fire from Republicans, Clinton's own party is accusing him of playing politics with his opposition to the liability reform bill. Two Democratic senators hint that Clinton's opposition is driven by the nation's trial lawyers. Congress could vote on the bill this week.

High winds may delay NASA's third shuttle docking mission with the Russian space station Mir. Shuttle weather officer Ed Priselac says there is only a 20 percent chance of favorable conditions for Atlantis to lift off at 3:35 a.m. tomorrow.

MCI will match AT&T's offer to try out the Internet for free. MCI will offer five free on-line hours per month, in addition to the unlimited access for $19.95 it has offered since its service began. MCI also intends to triple its internetMCI network capacity.

Boeing will boost production of new jetliners 46 percent by the middle of next year. It will produce 27 jetliners per month, up from 18-1/2 currently.

THE WORLD

After nearly four years, Sarajevo and its suburbs were reunited with the handover of the Bosnian Serb-held district of Grbavica to Bosnia's Muslim-Croat Federation. Bosnians carrying their flag streamed into Grbavica, the last of five suburbs to be transferred under the Dayton accord. Also, police in Vienna and Munich, Germany, arrested two Bosnian war-crimes suspects in the 1992 killings of Serbs at a Bosnian detention center.

China will not give up its claim to Taiwan in exchange for renewing its most-favored nation trading status with the US, Beijing said. The US has used trade before to try to change Chinese policy. Also, in an annual meeting, US and Taiwan officials met in Washington to discuss possible arms sales to Taipei.

Israel will deport Islamic militants if the legal system permits, Prime Minister Peres said. And Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the Army can demolish homes of Palestinians suspected of involvement in the recent suicide bombings. Also, breaking a secrecy policy, the Israeli military disclosed by name that Maj. Gen. Danny Yatom will take over the Mossad spy agency.

A blaze, followed by a stampede at a Manila discotheque, killed some 150 people and injured many. The discotheque had only one exit. Most of the occupants were students celebrating the end of the school year. It is the world's worst nightclub blaze since a fire in Southgate, Ky., killed 164 people in 1977.

Russia's June presidential elections must be delayed unless the vote to revive the former Soviet Union is repealed, several members of the Russian parliament's upper house said. And Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze called for an emergency summit of former Soviet republics to discuss the decision of the parliament's lower house. Any attempt to pursue the vote will be opposed by the US and international community, Secretary of State Christopher said in Kiev, Ukraine.

South African President Mandela was granted a divorce, ending a 38-year marriage. The judge said Winnie Mandela, who contested Mandela's divorce request, failed to counter his most serious accusations: that she had an affair and, since separating in 1992, that they had a marriage in name only.

Despite US complaints, King Juan Carlos awarded Spain's top foreign news-reporting prize to the Brazilian series "Trafficking in Children." Ana Beatriz Magna de Silva alleged in her seven-part series that organs of adopted Latin American children are sold in Western nations - allegations that sparked violent attacks on US citizens in Latin America.

Flexibility is necessary to reach consensus on a total nuclear test-ban, UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali told negotiators at the 38-nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva. China and Russia have not made a commitment to a US-led proposal to ban even the smallest tests.

UN and Iraqi negotiators adjourned oil-for-food talks in New York until next month. Disagreement over methods of distributing aid to Iraqi Kurds is blocking a final agreement, officials from both sides said.

EU agriculture ministers extended their eight-year-old ban on hormone-treated beef despite US charges that the policy violates world trade rules. But EU scientists recently concluded that hormones widely used in the US are not dangerous.

The Tunis summit on Rwanda and Burundi made progress, former US President Carter said. The Carter Center arranged the summit attended by presidents of Zaire, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda. They agreed on steps to encourage 2 million Hutus to return home.

ETCETERAS

For me it comes down to who relates more to me. I can picture Bill Clinton next door cutting the grass."

Jim Konkel, a self-described "moderate fence sitter" from Birmingham, Mich., on who he'll vote for in fall elections.

A vivid blue chunk of rock that British geologist Anna Grayson bought from a hillside stall in Morocco has been declared a new mineral, but its qualities, which include the ability to change color, are baffling British scientists. They are still investigating the rock's chemistry at London's Natural History Museum.

No koalas will be shot in Australia. The government there has quashed a proposal to cull up to 2,000 koalas on a wildlife sanctuary island, a plan that sparked an outcry from animal lovers. Instead some of the marsupials will be relocated to the mainland.

The National Basketball Association has suspended Chicago Bulls' Dennis Rodman six games without pay, a loss of $200,000, and fined him $20,000. The NBA's leading rebounder head-butted a referee during Saturday's game in New Jersey.

Best Bets for the Road

Thinking of purchasing some new wheels? A survey by Intellichoice Inc. of 1996 cars found these ones have the best value.

1. Subcompact under $12,500: Saturn SC1

2. Subcompact over $12,500: Honda Civic LX

3. Compact under $17,000: Saturn SL series

4. Compact over $17,000: Infiniti G20

5. Midsize under $20,000: Chevrolet Lumina

6. Midsize over $20,000: Toyota Camry LE/XLE

7. Large: Buick LeSabre Custom

8. Sport: Mitsubishi 3,000 GT series

9. Base Sport: Ford Mustang GT convertible

10. Luxury: Mercedez-Benz E320

Intellichoice Inc., and the Associated Press

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