News In Brief

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THE US

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.

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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.

A suspicious truck was spotted near the US military housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, about two weeks before it was the target of a bomb attack, a senior US Air Force official said. A Saudi woman challenged the driver, and he drove off. Her husband reported the incident to police and provided the license plate number of the vehicle. It is not known if the incident is related to last week's bombing, in which a fuel truck was used.

Iraq's plan to sell oil for desperately needed supplies for its people hit a snag when the US said it opposes Baghdad's distribution plan for the goods. The plan "contains several provisions that make it clear Iraq is not serious" about implementing the oil-for-food deal signed in May, a US spokesman said. The UN must approve distribution plans before Iraq can begin sales.

Russian President Yeltsin made his first public appearance in days in a taped TV segment, urging Russians to vote in tomorrow's presidential runoff elections. He cancelled several appearances, raising concerns about his health. The president's aide said he merely lost his voice from too much campaigning. Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov said he wants an official report on Yeltsin's condition.

Gen. Do Muoi was reappointed as secretary general of Vietnam's Communist Party. The party appointed a new committe within the Politburo, with more members from the Army and Interior Ministry, giving it a conservative bent.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis narrowly won an election to replace the ruling Socialist party's late founder, Andreas Papandreou. Simitis had threatened to resign as prime minister if not elected chairman, which would have split the party and created a political crisis.

Centrist Leonel Fernandez, of the Dominican Liberation Party, was elected president of the Dominican Republic, the Central Election Board announced. Fernandez narrowly defeated Dominican Revolutionary Party candidate Jose Francisco Pena Gomez by 51.25 percent to 48.75 percent in runoff elections.

Mongolia's opposition Democratic Union trounced the ex-communists, who had ruled for 75 years, in parliamentary elections. The opposition captured 48 of the 76 seats. Voter turnout was 87.3 percent.

A surprise attack by Tamil Tiger rebels killed 29 Sri Lankan soldiers and left at least 35 rebels dead in the biggest battle in more than three months, a military spokesman said. The rebels are fighting for a separate state. More than 42,000 people have died in the 13-year conflict.

Turkey's Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan condemned a suicide bombing by rebel Kurds that killed seven people.

Manuel Pinto da Costa came in first in Sao Tome and Principe's elections. But da Costa, former Marxist ruler of the African island nation, only received about 40 percent of the vote, not enough to give him an outright majority. He will likely face incumbent President Miguel Trovoada, who received 25 percent of the vote, in runoff elections later this month.

ETCETERAS

"If we give our kids potato chips and hot fudge sundaes every morning,

pretty soon they'll think that's what breakfast is."

-- Vice President Al Gore, on the need for quality children's TV programming, rather than violence and commercialism.

What is believed to be the first intact skull of an ornithomimid - a 75-million-year-old, ostrich-like dinosaur - was unearthed in western Canada. The discovery of the skull with a beak supports the theory that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs, researchers say. It was found in south-central Alberta's Dinosaur Provincial Park, site of millions of dinosaur and fossil discoveries since 1911.

Shakespeare's homeland awarded President Clinton a special prize for his "plain and effective" use of language. Britain's Plain English Campaign said Clinton received so many nominations after his visit to Northern Ireland last year, they created a new award category for him: Exceptional Plain English Communicator.

Pity the poor neighbors! A rooster named Fowl Mouth crowed 80 times in 30 minutes to win the annual Rogue River Rooster Crow in Oregon. His owner got $150 for the barnyard bird's vocal prowess. The record set in 1978 is 112 crows.

THE DAY'S LIST

Money Moguls

The world's 10 richest individuals, as compiled by Forbes magazine, listed in billions of dollars with source of wealth and nationality. The world's richest woman according to Forbes is Liliane Bettencourt, heir to the cosmetics empire L'Oreal, who is worth $5 billion.

1. William Gates III: $18; computer software; US

2. Warren Buffett: $15.3; stock market; US

3. Paul Sacher: $13.1; pharmaceuticals; Switzerland

4. Lee Shau Kee: $12.7; real estate; Hong Kong

5. Tsai Wan-lin: $12.2; insurance, financial services; Taiwan

6. Li Ka-shing: $10.6; diversified; Hong Kong

7. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi: $9.2; real estate, transportation; Japan

8. Paul Allen: $7.5; computer software; US

9. Kenneth Thomson: $7.4; media, retailing, real estate; Canada

10. Tan Yu: $7; real estate; Philippines

- Forbes/AP

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