News In Brief

THE US

Senate Republicans chose Mississippi's Trent Lott as the new majority leader to succeed the newly retired Bob Dole. Dole's first stop on his full-time campaign trail? Toledo, Ohio.

Progress was made toward an agreement with the "freemen" in Montana that could lead to the end of the standoff as early as today, a source said. Eleven members of the antigovernment group were meeting in a barn on the compound. Earlier, leader Edwin Clark was flown to Billings, Mont., to confer with a jailed member.

A federal court blocked the government from enforcing a new law aimed at curbing indecency on the Internet. The computer network is protected by the First Amendment, the judges ruled, granting a preliminary injunction while two cases challenging the law wend their way through the courts. The government promised to appeal to the Supreme Court.

House GOP leaders searched for votes to pass their balanced-budget plan after unexpected resistance from freshman Republicans and conservatives blocked its passage, at least temporarily. They objected to the plan because it allowed a temporary deficit increase. Also, the House passed an $11.9 billion foreign aid budget after approving an amendment that ties funds for Mexico to greater efforts fighting drug trafficking.

Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski's trial reportedly will be held in Sacramento, Calif. home of two of the Unabomber's victims. Kaczynski will likely be transferred soon to Sacramento from Billings, Mont., the "Sacramento Bee" quotes unnamed federal sources as saying. Kaczynski has not yet been indicted or charged with the bombings.

The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to require cellular phone companies to upgrade networks with technology that would enable 911 dispatchers to locate emergency callers within 400 feet. Unlike regular phones, a cellular caller's location is not automatically sent to dispatchers. The changes would take place over five years.

US District Judge George Howard Jr. denied requests for videotapes of President Clinton's Whitewater testimony. While the media might use the tapes responsibly, Howard said he was concerned that individuals might edit the tapes to suit their own purposes.

The National Transportation Safety Board is concerned about the safety of the 250,000 Americans who ship out on older commercial fishing vessels. The ships are often not required to have fire-resistant construction or install smoke detectors. The board's recommendations include a prompt phasing-in of safety standards for older vessels.

Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in May, fueling concerns that the Federal Reserve may soon raise interest rates.

US-made weapons often end up in enemy hands, despite US efforts to limit sales to allies, a World Policy Institute report said. Last year the US subsidized $7.6 billion in arms exports, an 8.6 percent increase over 1994. The last five times the US sent troops into harm's way, they faced US-produced weapons or military technology, the report says.

South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond and Virginia Sen. John Warner easily fended off Republican primary challengers Tuesday. Also, Maine's former Gov. Joseph Brennan won the Democratic nomination to face Republican nominee Susan Collins in the fall. In Arkansas, Attorney General Winston Bryant defeated Sen. Lu Hardin for the Democratic nomination. Republicans meet Saturday to choose a replacement for Lt. Gov. Mike Huckabee, who will succeed Gov. Jim Guy Tucker.

Three men questioned in arson fires at two black churches in Greenville, Texas, were released for lack of evidence, and a bank offered $500,000 in rewards for information on 32 fires at southern black churches in 18 months.

THE WORLD

If NATO forces remain in Bosnia past the December deadline, US forces should do the same to prevent an outbreak of war, US Defense Secretary Perry said. Also, Balkan arms control talks in Oslo were put on hold for a week after Bosnia's Muslim-led government objected to naming the Bosnian Serb territory "Republika Srpska" in the document.

Chechnya's Moscow-backed government decided to hold parliamentary elections June 16. The move undermines last week's pact between the Kremlin and the rebels. Postponing elections was a key rebel demand.

China ordered the closure of recently opened unauthorized compact disc manufactures in a bid to avert trade sanctions over copyright piracy, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. But the measures aren't enough to avoid punitive tariffs, acting US trade representative Charlene Barshefsky said. Final negotiations between US and Chinese officials are set to resume today in Beijing. Above, a Chinese woman walks past a poster for the movie Broken Arrow at a Beijing theater. China threatened to ban Hollywood movies if a trade war erupts.

Iraq refused to allow UN weapons experts onto three suspected military sites. The UN Security Council is considering new action against Iraq. Baghdad has said it will only allow diplomats and not military experts at the sites. Iraq's cooperation is crucial to the lifting of trade sanctions imposed by the UN.

Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda's center-left government won a vote of confidence in parliament. Also, police filed a case alleging former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and seven others bribed the leader of a regional party in an effort to head off a no-confidence motion in 1993.

Turkish forces clashed with Kurdish rebels in the Hakkari Province, leaving 72 Kurds and six soldiers dead. It was one of the highest one-day death counts in Turkey's three-month offensive against the rebels.

Two hardline Protestant parties vowed not to work with former US Sen. George Mitchell on Northern Ireland peace talks. The Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionists, said Mitchell was a "dictator." Earlier, after 15 hours of backroom haggling, the Ulster Unionists - the largest Protestant party - agreed to let Mitchell chair the talks.

A fatal bomb blast in a Moscow subway killed four people and raised concerns about security ahead of Sunday's presidential elections. The city's mayor called it a terrorist act aimed at disrupting the vote. No one has claimed responsibility.

Over 70 percent of the Bangladeshi electorate voted in the country's second parliamentary election in four months. Exit polls predicted a hung parliament. The voting was relatively peaceful, police said. Final results were expected Friday.

Workers began a two-day sit-in strike at the Gdansk Shipyard, cradle of Poland's Solidarity labor movement, to protest government plans to close the yard. Warsaw says it is unable to cover the yard's debt, estimated at $140 million. The closure will mean layoffs for 7,300 workers.

Storms and heavy security deterred planned protests by Nigerians to mark the third anniversary of an annulled presidential vote that pointed to victory for presidential claimant Moshood Abiola. The military government came under inter- national fire when they annulled elections and detained Abiola.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir reshuffled his top military commanders, local media reported. He also renewed an amnesty offer to rebels in the south. Meanwhile, 10 leading opposition leaders in a statement demanded Bashir's resignation.

THE WORLD

If NATO forces remain in Bosnia past the December deadline, US forces should do the same to prevent an outbreak of war, US Defense Secretary Perry said. Also, Balkan arms control talks in Oslo were put on hold for a week after Bosnia's Muslim-led government objected to naming the Bosnian Serb territory "Republika Srpska" in the document.

Chechnya's Moscow-backed government decided to hold parliamentary elections June 16. The move undermines last week's pact between the Kremlin and the rebels. Postponing elections was a key rebel demand.

China ordered the closure of recently opened unauthorized compact disc manufactures in a bid to avert trade sanctions over copyright piracy, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. But the measures aren't enough to avoid punitive tariffs, acting US trade representative Charlene Barshefsky said. Final negotiations between US and Chinese officials are set to resume today in Beijing. Above, a Chinese woman walks past a poster for the movie Broken Arrow at a Beijing theater. China threatened to ban Hollywood movies if a trade war erupts.

Iraq refused to allow UN weapons experts onto three suspected military sites. The UN Security Council is considering new action against Iraq. Baghdad has said it will only allow diplomats and not military experts at the sites. Iraq's cooperation is crucial to the lifting of trade sanctions imposed by the UN.

Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda's center-left government won a vote of confidence in parliament. Also, police filed a case alleging former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and seven others bribed the leader of a regional party in an effort to head off a no-confidence motion in 1993.

Turkish forces clashed with Kurdish rebels in the Hakkari Province, leaving 72 Kurds and six soldiers dead. It was one of the highest one-day death counts in Turkey's three-month offensive against the rebels.

Two hardline Protestant parties vowed not to work with former US Sen. George Mitchell on Northern Ireland peace talks. The Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionists, said Mitchell was a "dictator." Earlier, after 15 hours of backroom haggling, the Ulster Unionists - the largest Protestant party - agreed to let Mitchell chair the talks.

A fatal bomb blast in a Moscow subway killed four people and raised concerns about security ahead of Sunday's presidential elections. The city's mayor called it a terrorist act aimed at disrupting the vote. No one has claimed responsibility.

Over 70 percent of the Bangladeshi electorate voted in the country's second parliamentary election in four months. Exit polls predicted a hung parliament. The voting was relatively peaceful, police said. Final results were expected Friday.

Workers began a two-day sit-in strike at the Gdansk Shipyard, cradle of Poland's Solidarity labor movement, to protest government plans to close the yard. Warsaw says it is unable to cover the yard's debt, estimated at $140 million. The closure will mean layoffs for 7,300 workers.

Storms and heavy security deterred planned protests by Nigerians to mark the third anniversary of an annulled presidential vote that pointed to victory for presidential claimant Moshood Abiola. The military government came under inter- national fire when they annulled elections and detained Abiola.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir reshuffled his top military commanders, local media reported. He also renewed an amnesty offer to rebels in the south. Meanwhile, 10 leading opposition leaders in a statement demanded Bashir's resignation.

ETCETERAS

Baltimore Oriole shortstop Cal Ripken is poised to prove he's a record-breaker in any league. He plans to play his 2,216th straight game tomorrow, breaking the world record held by Sachio Kinugasa of Japan and establishing himself as baseball's all-time iron man.

A US astronomer says he's discovered strong evidence of planets located "nearby." Analysis of more than 60 years of observation suggests two Jupiter-sized planets are orbiting Lalande 21185, the fourth-nearest star to the sun. They are unlikely to support life, astronomers say.

The sun is really heating up. Oxygen particles streaming from the star are 212 million degrees F - hotter than any temperature previously measured, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory researcher John Kohl reported. Measurements are being taken in the corona, the sun's hottest, outermost layer. And temperatures have not reached a peak.

THE DAY'S LIST

Where to Hang Your Hat

Money magazine ranked the 300 largest US metropolitan areas by asking readers what they care about. Low crime and clean water and air topped the list. Numbers in parentheses show 1995 rankings.

1. Madison, Wis. (16)

2. Punta Gorda, Fla. (61)

3. Rochester, Minn. (2)

4. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (6)

5. Ann Arbor, Mich. (33)

6. Fort Myers/Cape Coral, Fla. (34)

7. Gainesville, Fla. (1)

8. Austin, Texas (35)

9. Seattle (4)

10. Lakeland, Fla. (41)

11. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. (11)

12. Orlando, Fla. (17)

13. San Francisco (24)

14. Fargo, N.D. (30)

15. Naples, Fla. (10)

- Money Magazine/AP

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