News In Brief

THE US

A balanced-budget blueprint headed for certain passage in the House and Senate. The compromise resolution would trim spending by $702 billion over six years, cut taxes by $122 billion, and produce a $5 billion surplus in 2002. It doesn't carry the full force of law and won't be sent to President Clinton for a signature. But the resolution establishes parameters for later tax and spending bills. Also, Senate majority whip Trent Lott of Mississippi is expected to succeed Senator Dole, who was to depart Capitol Hill yesterday.

Clinton plans to visit today the site of a Mount Zion AME church in Greeleyville, S.C., destroyed in a suspicious fire in June 1995. It's one of 30 southern black churches set ablaze in the last 18 months. The National Council of Churches announced a $2 million fund-raising campaign to rebuild burned churches. And Satanic markings were found on a North Carolina sanctuary before it was burned, federal investigators said. They suspect a young arsonist may have burned the church as an antireligious statement.

The House passed a bill that would allocate federal funding for special education programs based on state populations. Supporters say the bill will prevent states from boosting their share of funds by overloading special education programs. Also, Senate Democrats rejected a Republican version of a health insurance bill that included a compromise on medical savings accounts.

ValuJet airlines had problems ensuring vital maintenance to its planes despite intense inspections launched last February by the Federal Aviation Administration. Problems were still occurring on April 1, a FAA draft report shows. Also, investigators suspended a month-long search for the wreckage of a ValuJet DC-9 that crashed in Florida's Everglades. Recovered cockpit parts didn't showed any fire or smoke damage, refuting a theory that a fire started in the cockpit.

The Senate voted along party lines to deny key witness David Hale immunity for his Whitewater testimony. Also, Whitewater independent council Kenneth Starr reportedly began investigating how the White House obtained confidential FBI files on top Republicans. And Rep. William Clinger, a Pennsylvania Republican, said his House Government Reform Committee will hold hearings as early as next week on the FBI files scandal.

The producer price index prices fell by 0.1 percent in May, reflecting a slowdown in energy costs. Financial markets welcomed the news because wholesale prices had been racing ahead at worrisome levels during the past two months. The markets have been concerned about rapid economic growth prompting higher interest rates.

Negotiations resumed for the first time since May 21 between the "freemen" antigovernment group and outside negotiators, including a lawyer for the Ku Klux Klan. Meanwhile, two girls who left the Jordan, Mont., compound last week said little food and water was left.

Sgt. William Kreutzer was found guilty of premeditated murder in the killing of an officer at Fort Bragg, N.C., a military jury ruled. Kreutzer was also convicted of 18 counts of attempted murder.

Reputed leaders of the nation's strongest mafia family, the Genovese, were arrested in New York on charges that include illegal gambling and murder. The 17 arrests resulted from a 3-1/2-year probe into the crime family, WCBS TV reported.

The liquor industry ended a nearly 30-year self-imposed ban on TV advertising. Seagrams aired a series of 30-second ads for whiskey on an NBC station in Texas. A voluntary liquor industry code "placed its spirits products at a competitive disadvantage to beer and wine," it said.

Police used tear gas to subdue some overzealous hockey fans after the Colorado Avalanche won the state's first Stanley Cup. About 80,000 people turned downtown Denver into a gigantic party. The team defeated the Florida Panthers 1-0 in triple overtime in Miami.

THE WORLD

Russian troops began withdrawing from Shatoi, Chechnya, following a signed peace accord aimed at ending the 18-month war in the breakaway republic. Under the agreement, Chechen rebels must disarm, and Russian troops must be out of the republic by Aug. 30. Local elections will be postponed until then. That's a victory for the rebels, who said free elections were impossible as long as Moscow had troops in Chechnya. But two series of blasts shook a convoy carrying Chechen rebels and peace negotiators back to Grozny, Chechnya's capital. At least six people were injured. It was not clear what impact the explosions would have on the peace accord.

A US patrol encountered suspected war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic in Serb-controlled Bosnia but left empty-handed after a two-hour confrontation. Also, part of the 60,000 member NATO peacekeeping force will remain in Bosnia after December's pullout deadline, Gen. Sir Michael Walker, commander of IFOR ground troops, said.

Israeli Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu vowed "to take care of" Hizbullah guerrillas when he forms his government. The threat was in response to a Hizbullah attack in which five Israeli soldiers were killed. Also, Israel's Army chief said he would not hesitate to strike at guerrillas hiding in southern Lebanese villages, even if it meant civilians would be hurt.

Northern Irish Protestants prevented US Sen. George Mitchell from overseeing peace talks in Belfast. The groups argued that Mitchell is biased toward Catholic nationalists. Britain said he can not attend unless a consensus is reached.

Nearly 600,000 women die each year during pregnancy and childbirth in one of the "most neglected tragedies of our times," a new UNICEF study says. That's 20 percent higher than earlier estimates. The report also says many of the deaths are preventable.

China revoked the licenses of two compact disc manufacturers and said it hoped for progress at talks in Beijing this week aimed at averting a multibillion dollar trade war with the US.

Hong Kong crushed a riot by Vietnamese boat people - throwing more than 100 of them in prison after about 200 masked Vietnamese detainees tried to storm the camp fence. It was the second riot this month.

More than 2,500 candidates from 81 parties compete for 300 seats in Bangladesh's parliamentary elections today. The elections are the second in four months. Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party won February's elections by default after an opposition boycott. But she resigned under opposition pressure March 30, two weeks after her term began.

Tamil Tiger rebels killed 14 civilians in a raid on a Sinhalese village in north-central Sri Lanka, the army said. Also, rebels attacked three Navy gunboats, sinking one of them and killing two sailors. More than 42,000 people have been killed since 1983 in the rebels' fight for an independent state.

Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo met with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrtien for five days of trade talks likely to focus on frictions with the US. Both NAFTA partners oppose the Helms-Burton Law - which penalizes foreign companies that do business with Cuba - and are considering action against the law at the World Trade Organization. Also, putting Chile on the fast track for admission into NAFTA (a move the US opposes) will likely be discussed.

Gunmen from western Uganda killed about 30 people in an incursion into eastern Zaire, Zaire's UN ambassador told the Security Council. He urged the council to meet as soon as possible and adopt measures to ensure peace in the border region.

ETCETERAS

''I was hot. I was smoking it. I was having a good time."

-- President Clinton, bragging after achieving a lifelong dream of breaking 80 in golf by shooting 79 at a golf course at Coronado Island, near San Diego. His game included one double bogie, five bogies, 11 pars, and one birdie.

George Strait was the big winner at the TNN Music City News Country Awards. He picked up three trophies for best album, best single, and best video. Best male vocalist Alan Jackson said he was going to celebrate winning for the fifth straight year with "a piece of lemon pie and a glass of milk." Lorrie Morgan was voted best female vocalist. The awards are voted on by country music fans.

Is vinegar a key component for life? Radio astronomers at the University of Illinois think so. They found an organic molecule, also called acetic acid, of the substance in a stellar cloud 25,000 light years away. Combined with a form of ammonia, vinegar creates glysine - the simplest of amino acids, which are considered the building blocks of life.

THE DAY'S LIST

Prime Time Programming for Kids

Before sitting down to watch TV with your kids, you might want to consider this list of the least and most family-friendly TV shows compiled by Media Research Center, an Alexandria- based media watchdog group.

MOST

1. "Touched by an Angel"

2. "Second Noah," ABC

3. "Kirk," WB

4. "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," CBS

5. "Home Improvement," ABC

6. "Lois & Clark: the Adventures of Superman," ABC

LEAST

1."Married ... With Children," Fox

2. "Friends," NBC

3. "Roseanne," ABC'

4. "Melrose Place," Fox

5. "Central Park West,"CBS

6. "The Dana Carvey Show," (canceled), ABC

7. "Cybill," CBS

8. "Beverly Hills, 90210," Fox

9. "Martin," Fox

- Associated Press

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