News In Brief

THE US

House Republicans expected to push through a massive social spending plan that would apportion $65.7 billion among hundreds of social programs for 1997, $2.4 billion more than this year. President Clinton said he would veto the plan, which axes about 40 programs but gives the National Institutes of Health $12.7 billion, or $800 million more than this year. The plan would eliminate programs such as Healthy Start, which aims to reduce infant mortality, and Clinton's cherished Goals 2000 education reform. The Senate hasn't written their version of the bill.

The Senate passed a $265.5 billion defense bill that would add $11.2 billion to Clinton's budget request. Like the $267 billion House version passed in May, the Senate bill devotes half of the spending added to Clinton's request to weapons purchases. But unlike the House, it would repeal the ban on abortions at overseas military hospitals and would not require the discharge of service members who test positive for the HIV virus.

President Clinton planned to announce in the Rose Garden a $5 billion, four-year school construction program to help school districts finance repair and construction costs. A General Accounting Office report released two weeks ago documented much more is needed for repairs at hundreds of schools nationwide. Earlier, he criticized rival Bob Dole at an NAACP meeting in Charlotte, N.C., for backing away from a pledge to ban assault-style weapons.

Bertha was expected to hit the deserted beaches and emptied towns of North Carolina with 100 m.p.h. winds around midnight. Hurricane warnings were called off for Florida. There was a small chance Bertha would move up the coast but it was more likely to move offshore, forecasters said.

A former vice-chairman of Dole's presidential campaign finance committee agreed to pay a record $6 million in fines for funneling illegal contributions through his employees to the Dole camp and other political causes. It the plea agreement is approved by a federal judge, it would be the largest penalty in US history for such a fine.

Ross Perot said on "Larry King Live" he would accept the Reform Party nomination for president if he won it in a secret ballot in August. The billionaire businessman also said his party is on the ballot in all 50 states. Presidential hopeful Dole said Perot should stay out of the race. Clinton, barely responding to the news, changed the subject to his most recent golf score.

Rescue workers resumed searching the rubble from a half-mile wide rock slide in California's Yosemite National Park that killed at least one person and injured seven others. The slide happened at the often-crowded start of the John Muir Trail. Falling trees downed by the rush of air leveled a snack bar.

Six "Viper Militia" members accused of making bombs to blow up government buildings could be released pending trial if they end militia activities and refrain from using firearms. The members would have to agree to remain at home, report daily to the court, and be released to a responsible third party, a federal judge in Phoenix, Ariz., said. Magistrate Barry Silverman jailed six other members apparently because of their leadership roles and the types of weapons and explosives found at their homes.

Ellen Cooke, an ex-treasurer of the Episcopal Church, received a five-year prison sentence for embezzling $1.5 million from the church. Cooke admitted to embezzling the money in January, pleading guilty to charges of interstate transfer of money and tax evasion.

Two teenagers accused of burning a predominantly white church in Greensboro, N.C., got the idea from news reports of recent church fires, a sheriff said. He says the two decided to set the church ablaze to get attention and lash out at a community institution.

New York's Art Deco Rockefeller Center was sold for $306 million. The investment group led by Goldman, Sachs & Co. includes David Rockefeller. Including some $830 million in assumed debt, the property is valued at $1.3 billion.

THE WORLD

Northern Irish Catholics hurled gasoline bomb and rocks at riot police in Portadown after they allowed a disputed Protestant march that has sparked unrest in Northern Ireland. The reversal came after a five-day standoff between police and Protestant Orangemen, who inflicted some of the worst rioting on the country in a decade.

The UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague issued arrest warrents for Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic. The two will be arrested if they cross international borders. Also, the World Court ruled it has jurisdiction in Bosnia's genocide case against Serbia. The decision clears the way for hearings on allegations that Belgrade was the driving force behind the Bosnian war. And Bosnian Serbs celebrated the anniversary of the fall of Srebenica while UN inspectors continued to excavate a mass grave near the city. More than 40 bodies have been found so far. Up to 7,000 Bosnian Muslims are believed to have been killed after the fall of the UN "safe area."

A Canadian coalition in Toronto is calling for a boycott of Florida. The move came after the US informed a Canadian mining company its officials would be denied entry into the US under the Helms-Burton law, which seeks to punish foreign companies that do business with Cuba. (Florida's Cuban-American community supports the law.) Separately, Mexico sent a letter to the US protesting the law and asking President Clinton to suspend the effective date of its provisions. The law violates the principles of the UN and NAFTA, infringes on sovereignty, and threatens trade, Mexico said.

A Russian general was killed in Chechnya as troops continued air and artillery attacks against the rebels. Also, a bomb exploded on a trolleybus in Moscow. No one has claimed responsibility, but authorities are calling it a terrorist attack.

The Sri Lankan military overran at least five Tamil Tiger bases in the east in a fresh offensive against the separatist rebels, a ministry statement said. At least eight guerrillas were killed and 20 wounded. The rebels are fighting for an independent homeland in the north and east.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to visit Egypt and Jordan next week for the first time since his election in May, his office said. Also, Palestinian leaders responded angrily Netanyahu's speech in Washington in which he claimed all of Jerusalem as Israel's eternal capital. Jerusalem will forever be the capital of the Palestinian state, President Yasser Arafat said.

Violence is escalating in Rwanda, as at least 43 people have been killed in recent weeks, the UN human rights office said. Ethnic violence is normally confined to border regions, but killings have been taking place near the capital, Kigali.

Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui once again called for a summit with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, but Beijing responded coolly, saying Taiwan must take "concrete action to return to the principle of one China."

North Korea has sold 370 Soviet-designed Scud missiles to Iran and other Arab countries, the Yonhap news agency said. It is also reportedly trying to sell longer-range weapons it developed itself. Both Japan and South Korea are concerned about the North's missile capability.

Khmer Rouge rebels in Cambodia attacked a government base in the south, and killed 60 kidnapped forestry workers, the interior minister said.

Mohammed Salama, a runner, will become the first Palestinian to represent the Palestinian state in an Olympics.

ETCETERAS

"It looks like someone has taken a rake across the surface."

-- James Head, a Brown University researcher on the Galileo project, discussing the first-ever close-up photos of Ganymede, Jupiter's frozen moon.

Archaeologists uncovered a block near Tel Aviv inscribed with the name of the Biblical city Ekron and its kings. It's the first conclusive evidence of the Philistine city, said to have burned more than 2,500 years ago.

Tipper was home alone and in need of help: So the tabby cat living in a Tampa, Fla., mobile home somehow knocked the phone off the hook and pressed 1, which automatically dialed 911. A deputy sent to investigate strange noises on the other end of the line found Tipper choking on a flea collar.

The first close-up photos of Ganymede show Jupiter's frozen moon was far more geologically active than previously believed. Frozen volcanic eruptions and earthquakes may have resurfaced the moon.

Cape Cod's Highland Lighthouse, a Massachusetts landmark, was lifted off its foundation to begin a 450-feet move backward because of erosion.

THE DAY'S LIST

Limos or Lemons? Car Satisfaction Survey

Japan's luxury cars led an annual US survey of driver satisfaction. Saturn was again named the top-rated US car, although it slipped a notch to No.4. Rankings are based on owner satisfaction with 1995 cars after a year of ownership. (Maximum score possible: 202.)

1. Infiniti 168

2. Lexus 166

3. Acura 159

4. Mercedes-Benz 158

4. Saturn 158

6. Honda 154

7. Cadillac 151

8. Lincoln 150

9. Audi 149

10. Volvo 148

-- J.D. Power and Associates

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