News In Brief

THE US

Testifying from the White House via videotape, President Clinton was expected to deny David Hale's allegations that he and former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker pressed Hale to make illegal loans to Susan McDougal. Clinton was called as a witness for the defense at the Little Rock, Ark., trial of Tucker and former business partners James and Susan McDougal.

After signing into law a $160 billion spending bill, Clinton blocked three controversial provisions he said would harm the environment. The Clinton administration said the environmental "riders" would have cleared the way for more timber cutting in Alaska's Tsongass National Forest; undermined protection of the Mojave National Preserve, California's newly created desert park; and threatened endangered species programs. The spending measure provides money for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

Israeli Prime Minister Peres was in Washington to sign a memorandum on missile defense cooperation. He also planned to meet with Defense Secretary Perry and possibly Secretary of State Christopher before joining Clinton to speak at the annual conference of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee lobby group.

Millions of dollars the US pays Vietnam to search for the remains of US servicemen is unaccounted for, and the government doesn't track how the money is being spent, the San Jose Mercury News reported. More than a third of the $11.2 million paid to Vietnam in 1995 couldn't be accounted for in the fund, which the Department of Defense oversees, the paper said. Vietnamese officials have repeatedly refused to discuss how the funds are spent. Since 1992, the US has paid Vietnam $33.6 million for the program.

A plan to merge San Francisco's two major dailies reportedly is near completion. It calls for the Hearst Corp. to close its evening Examiner in exchange for a minority interest and editorial control of the Chronicle.

The Pentagon ordered military services to install new navigation equipment on their passenger planes. The decision was made in response to the plane crash in Croatia that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others. Also, The New York Times reported that the US Air Force told pilots not to land at Croatia's Dubrovnik airport in anything but clear weather. But Air Force commanders in Europe decided to ignore that rule.

Ten pipe bombs and bomb-making materials were seized in Georgia after the arrest of two leaders of a small militia group that federal officials said was preparing for a government invasion. A top federal law official discounted early reports that the bombs were to be used to disrupt the Olympics in Atlanta.

US officials met with representatives from Canada and Mexico regarding their complaints about a new US law that seeks to tighten economic sanctions against Cuba.

Federal officials are investigating whether an arson fire at a predominantly black Baptist church in Florence, N.C., was racially motivated. Agents are also looking for possible connections to other fires in Southern black churches.

Alabama's prison commissioner, Ron Jones, was fired. He had won praise earlier from tough-on-crime lawmakers for reviving chain gangs. He was fired by Gov. Fob James after announcing plans to put female prisoners in leg irons.

Cora Masters Barry, the wife of Washington Mayor Marion Barry, denied her husband has relapsed into drug use. Her husband checked into a retreat to head off a possible lapse in his recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, she told a TV station.

Legendary folk singer Pete Seeger Received Harvard University's annual Arts First award in ceremonies at the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Mass.

THE WORLD

Thousands of refugees continued their return to southern Lebanon in bumper-to-bumper convoys, two days after Israel announced an "understanding" with Lebanon and Syria against attacking civilians on both sides of the Lebanon-Israel border. UN officials said Hizbullah guerrillas and Israeli troops were abiding by the accord. Also, Syrian President Assad agreed to back the accord only after Israeli Prime Minister Peres threatened to send ground troops to expand the offensive, Israeli newspapers reported.

A lone gunman barricaded himself in a cottage in Port Arthur with several hostages after killing at least 33 people and injuring 18 others in Australia's worst shooting massacre. He shot people at random in buses at a tourist site some 500 people were visiting, a food shop, and on the streets of the Tasmanian island state, eyewitnesses said.

US troops set up a dozen checkpoints in Bosnia to prevent ethnic clashes as Bosnian Muslim refugees tried to use Eid al-Adha - the feast of sacrifice - to revisit areas they were forced to flee during Bosnia's 43-month war. Earlier, after Muslims and Croats announced mass crossings into Serb-held territory to visit graveyards - customary during the festival - Bosnian Serbs warned of retaliation.

Some 60 percent of Indians voted as 150 of 543 constituencies went to the polls in the first phase of parliamentary elections. Surveys showed no party is likely to win a majority, and experts predict a coalition government. Also, two small separatist groups from Kashmir and Punjab claimed responsibility for a bomb explosion in a bus that killed 15 people and injured 24 near the capital, New Delhi.

A powerful bomb exploded on a bus near Lahore, Pakistan, killing 40 people and injuring 26, police said. Other sources said at least 60 people were killed. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, the latest in a string of bombings in recent weeks.

Russian President Yeltsin is making gains in opinion polls for the June 16 election following the death of Chechen rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudayev. But Communist Gennady Zyuganov was still ahead with 25 percent to Yeltsin's 23 percent in an opinion poll by the Vox Populi group.

Western Samoans returned Prime Minister Tofilau Eti to power, preliminary election results showed. Tofilau's Human Rights Protection Party retained 26 seats in the 49-member legislature. The opposition Samoa National Development Party won 13 seats. The remaining 10 seats went to independent candidates. The nation gained independence from New Zealand in 1962.

The Colombian Supreme Court reportedly plans to recommend the suspension of Attorney General Orlando Vasquez. Vasquez allegedly used a phony witness in an investigation against Prosecutor General Alfonso Valdivieso in what opponents say was an effort to have Valdivieso removed from office, a court spokesman said.

A US warship rescued seven Japanese fishermen after they abandoned their blazing vessel in waters off Okinawa, US Navy officials said. The fishermen were picked up from a small life craft by the USS O'Brien.

French actress Brigitte Bardot came under fire from anti-racism groups for criticizing the Islamic ritual of slaughtering sheep at Eid al-Adha, which commemorates Abraham's lamb sacrifice. Bardot, an animal-rights activist, also wrote in the newspaper Le Figaro: "My homeland, my earth, is again invaded, with the blessing of successive governments, by an overpopulation of foreigners, notably Muslim."

ETCETERAS

This flame is a beacon that beckons the best in all of us." -- President Clinton on the Olympic torch now being carried across the US by a relay of 10,000 runners on its way to the Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Rafer Johnson, 1960 Olympic decathlon champion, carried the Olympic torch from the Los Angeles Coliseum Saturday. He was the first runner in a 10,000-member relay that will bear the flame across the US to Atlanta, site of the 1996 summer games.

A new telephone device called the Bouncer lets anyone with Caller ID (1) answer the call; (2) send it to an answering machine; or (3), after two rings, hang up. And callers who are bounced won't be able to tell. All they'll hear will be an innocent click.

Ten days after his acid tongue cost him his job, right-wing talk-show host Bob Grant was hired by a rival New York City radio station. Grant, who was dumped by WABC in a flap over his comment on the death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, signed with WOR.

Olympic gold-medal gymnasts Nadia Comaneci of Romania and Bart Conner of the United States were married in Bucharest.

THE DAY'S LIST

Mind Your Manners, Miami

Here are the top 10 most-mannerly cities for 1996 according to etiquette expert Marjabelle Young Stewart. Her annual survey is based on about 10,000 letters and faxes from executives and others who have taken her etiquette courses.

1. Charleston, S.C.

2. Seattle

3. Memphis

3. Nashville

5. Mobile, Ala.

6. Cleveland

7. Champaign, Ill.

8. New Orleans

9. San Diego

10. Denver

- Associated Press

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