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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia Hanson and Yvonne Zipp / July 2, 1996



THE US

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The Supreme Court ruled the government can be held liable for a 1989 rule change that plunged savings-and-loans into financial trouble. The court also left intact a ruling that threatens all affirmative-action programs at state-run colleges in three southern states.

President Clinton defended Defense Secretary William Perry after Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania publicly questioned whether Perry was suitable for the post. He raised the question in the wake of the terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans. Meanwhile, White House aide George Stephanopoulos accused Republicans of a "smear campaign" in connection with a new book of sensational allegations by Gary Aldrich. The former FBI agent wrote "Unlimited Access, an FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House," after processing background checks at the White House for five years. He admitted some of his information came from second- and third-hand sources, some of whom have publicly disputed his account.

Medicare beneficiaries are paying more for outpatient services at hospitals, and the bills are expected to go up, The New York Times reported. In recent years, hospitals have been charging more than what Medicare considers reasonable. Beneficiaries make up the difference, sometimes paying 49 percent of outpatient costs, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said. That cost could rise to 68 percent by the year 2000.

Economic reports were mixed as the Federal Reserve meets today and tomorrow to consider a change in interest rates. Consumer spending rose 0.8 percent in May, the steepest advance in three months. And manufacturing activity rose to 54.3 percent - the highest since February 1995. But construction spending declined 0.9 percent in May, the first drop in three months.

Federal authorities found bottles stuffed with paper and pews covered with gasoline at a black church in Maysville, N.C., that went up in flames. Investigators also determined arson as the cause of a fire that severely damaged a mostly white Catholic church in Bonner Springs, Kan.

Nearly 3 of every 100 American adults were in prison or on probation or parole in 1995, according to the Justice Department. At year's end, 3 million people were on probation, up 4 percent from a year earlier; 700,000 were on parole, up 1 percent; and nearly 1.6 million were inmates, up 6 percent. Since 1980, the number of Americans under correctional supervision has almost tripled to 5.36 million, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics study.

Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Bucharest, Romania, the first stop on an 11-day, seven-country tour of Central and Eastern Europe. The trip has been billed as a display of US support for emerging democracies.

More than a dozen fires erupted in southern California during record-breaking weekend heat that soared beyond 112 degrees in Los Angeles. Some 30 buildings were destroyed by the fires, and 13,000 acres burned. About 800 residents of Idyllwild left their homes after a 7,600 acre fire burned within two miles of the mountain resort.

California's legislature was to continue negotiating a $63 billion budget. The state entered a new fiscal year without a spending plan after it failed to reach agreement over the weekend. The main hurdle is education spending. Gov. Pete Wilson wants $670 million to reduce class size in grades one through three. Democrats want the reduction in only the first and second grades.

A majority of Americans oppose giving homosexuals a legal right to marry by 57 percent to 30 percent, an Associated Press poll shows. Two-thirds of men oppose gay marriage compared with 49 percent of women. Opposition also falls below 50 percent among adults under age 45.

Vice President Al Gore told 500 entertainment industry professionals at the Variety ShowBiz Expo in Los Angeles they need to produce better children's TV. He bashed the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" for its violence and "Barbie's Dream House" for its commercialism.

THE WORLD

The international community moved closer to reimposing sanctions on Bosnian Serbs in response to its leaders' political maneuvering. Radovan Karadzic wrote international mediators that he was stepping down as the Bosnian Serb leader and handing his powers over to vice president Biljana Plavsic. Plavsic said Ka- radzic retained the title, but not the power. Deputy international mediator Michael Steiner called for action as rumors circulated that Karadzic's office would confirm he resigned. At a UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, a witness said Bosnian-Serb snipers killed hundreds of civilians in Sarajevo, targeting water and bread lines and killing children.