News In Brief

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THE US

President Clinton was to give videotaped testimony from the White House in defense of two Arkansas bankers. The defense hopes the testimony will prove that as governor Clinton didn't appoint one of the bankers to a state highway job in return for campaign contributions. Also, Whitewater prosecutors discussed naming Clinton as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of his former business partners James and Susan McDougal, The New Yorker magazine reported. An article by James Stewart, author of "Blood Sport," a best-selling book on the Whitewater scandal, also said the investigation "is heading toward the president himself."

A US magistrate in Phoenix, Ariz., was expect to rule on whether to release 12 "Viper Militia" members before their trial. Earlier, the government played a videotape of explosions allegedly detonated by militia members in practice sessions. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who supervised the investigation, Steve Ott, testified members took oaths to kill infiltrators and said they might retaliate against federal agents' families and jurors if their group were penetrated. Defense lawyers contended an undercover government agent led them on. The 12 members have pleaded innocent to conspiracy and bomb-making charges.

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Space shuttle Columbia touched down at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., after a record-breaking 17-day mission. NASA's oldest shuttle played host to a $138 million research program that studied the effects of space travel on the human body.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent - a six-year low - as thousands of new jobs were created in June. The stock market opens today after receiving its biggest blow in four months - dropping 114 points to 5,588 - as investors responded with concerns about higher interest rates.

A sharp increase in wire-tapping surveillance by the Clinton administration is likely to continue, The Washington Post reported. Frederick Hess, who runs the Justice Department office that approves applications for wiretaps requested by courts, says there's a 30-to-40 percent increase in wiretaps so far this year. Attorney General Janet Reno's war on drugs was cited for part of the increase.

Clinton announced the first major overhaul in 90 years for rules governing US meat and poultry inspections. Hands-on inspection methods that rely on touch, smell, and sight will be replaced with scientific testing at slaughterhouses; and new sanitation standards will be required.

The NAACP opened its 87th annual convention in Charlotte, N.C., with executive director Kweisi Mfume's announcement that the group has retired more than two-thirds of its $3.2 million debt. The group suffered a financial setback under former leader Benjamin Chavis. He was fired after using thousands of dollars to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit.

An eight-year-old Delta Airlines MD-88 jet carrying 147 passengers aborted takeoff from a runway in Pensacola, Fla., when an engine blew up. The explosion ripped open the passenger cabin, killing a mother and son, and injuring seven others. And a TWA MD-80 jet carrying 126 passengers from Seattle to St. Louis made an emergency landing in Omaha, Neb., after an engine failure.

Concluding that some parents and teachers aren't doing enough to instill moral values, the Marine Corps is planning to expand values-based instruction in boot camp. Drill sergeants would temporarily drop their tough role and serve as mentors to recruits in a plan that would add 12 weeks to basic training.

A hurricane headed for the US Virgin Islands was also expected to hit Caribbean islands from Dominica to Anguilla. Tropical storm Bertha was expected to pack winds of about 75 m.p.h.

Campers in National Forest wilderness areas enjoyed what could be one of the last free visits over the holiday weekend. Some 47 sites will begin testing a fee system next year in the $3 to $5 range, a spokesman said. Some 80 percent of the money will pay for trail maintenance and visitor-related costs.

THE WORLD

UN war crimes investigators began excavating the suspected mass grave site of Bosnian Muslims about 19 miles west of Srebenica. Between 3,000 to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims are believed to have been killed after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN "safe area" last year. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic were indicted in the massacre, and witnesses testifying at a UN war crimes tribunal placed Mladic at the scene of mass killings. Also, the EU administration for Mostar declared elections valid, despite irregularities at a polling station in Bonn for exiled Mostarians. The ruling Muslim SDA party won a narrow victory over the separatist Croat HDZ party.

Russian troops failed to dismantle checkpoints in Chechnya, ignoring a promise made at peace talks last month. Only four of the 32 checkpoints were being taken down by the deadline. Attacks by rebels caused troops to ignore the Nazran accord, a Russian military spokesman said. Also, Russian President Yeltsin reportedly replaced the regional commander in Chechnya, in an apparent move to fulfill his campaign promise to end the war.

The Chinese began mopping up after massive flooding in central and southern China that killed 315 people and injured more than 3,700, government reports said. More than 22 inches of rain fell across nine provinces from June 27 to July 4, destroying 3.2 million acres of crops.

The Palestinian Authority released at least 20 militants detained after a wave of suicide bombings in Israel in February and March, Palestinian sources said. Security forces arrested about 900 Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, most of which remain under detention without charge. There are reportedly plans to release more detainees in the near future.

Ecuadorans voted in runoff elections to decide between Christian Democrat Jaime Nebot and the Rolodista Party's Abdala Bucaram. Voting is compulsory for the 6.7 million eligible voters.

Visitors gathered along the cobblestone streets of Pamplona, Spain, for the annual running of the bulls. The ceremony, which is more than 400 years old, was made famous in Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises." Four people were injured, one seriously, as thousands joined the half-mile sprint.

A feeling of hope marked the opening of the 11th International Conference on AIDS in Vancouver, British Columbia. Recent scientific breakthroughs infused the 15,000 delegates with optimism. Worldwide, about 5.8 million people have died from AIDS.

A cease-fire between rival factions in western Liberia seemed to be holding, witnesses said. UN officials said aid convoys would be sent to reached trapped civilians as soon as peacekeepers confirmed the reports. Mediators are trying to broker a second truce in the southeast. Battles broke out in both areas when factions pulled out of Monrovia in May after seven weeks of fighting.

A new Afghan Cabinet was sworn in while rebel rocket attacks on Kabul killed about 15 people. The attack was the worst since new Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar took office. Rebel Taliban militia have besieged the city since October.

Security was tight in preparation for the annual summit of the Organization of African Unity, which begins today in Yaounde, Cameroon. Last year's meeting was marred by an assassination attempt on Egyptian President Mubarak. Critics say the group has been ineffectual in solving the continent's problems.

Presidential elections were extended until today in parts of Niger in central Africa, because many areas had not received electoral lists and voting cards.

ETCETERAS

"We're just seeing a decline in the amount of time spent teaching values out there in society. People aren't coming in with those basic values that were taught in school and church."

-- Marine Capt. T.V. Johnson, on why the Marine Corps is planning to expand values-based instruction in boot camp.

The movie "Independence Day" is still celebrating the Fourth of July weekend. The sci-fi thriller opened to mixed reviews and sky-high grosses - shattering "Mission: Impossible's" one-day record. The film, which took in $17.3 million its first day, also blasted the three-day, mid-week tally set by "Terminator II." Analysts expect the alien invasion flick to be the summer's biggest blockbuster.

The Siberian tiger is six steps closer to extinction. Six more of the rare animals were killed by poachers in Russia's Far East, Interfax news agency reported. Local officials estimate there are only about 200 tigers left.

"Nightlife" harmonized its way into first place at the "World Series of Barbershop Harmony" championships in Salt Lake City. Members hail from Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Nearly 50 barbershop quartets from the US, Canada, Great Britain, and Holland competed.

THE DAY'S LIST

Wimbledon Winners

Germany's Steffi Graf steamrolled over Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario to take her seventh Wimbledon singles title, leaving her two shy of Martina Navratilova's singles record. Here are Wimbledon's top 10 winners. Totals include singles, doubles, and mixed titles.

1. Billie Jean King 20

2. Elizabeth Ryan 19

3. Martina Navratilova 18

4. Suzanne Lenglen 15

5. William Renshaw 14

6. Louise Brough 13

6. Lawrence Doherty 13

8. Helen Wills-Moody 12

8. Reginald Doherty 12

10. Margaret Court 10

10. Doris Hart 10

- "The Top 10 of Everything, 1996," by Russell Ash, published by Dorling Kindersley

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