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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia Hanson and Yvonne Zipp / July 23, 1996



THE US

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A US Navy ship carrying an underwater robot was expected to arrive off the coast of Long Island today to help in the search for wreckage of TWA Flight 800. The 300-pound, torpedo-shaped device will use sonar, a color camera, and a digital compass to search for wreckage. Searchers also plan to try again to use sonar to videotape a large object on the ocean floor. Equipment problems hindered earlier attempts. Also, President Clinton vowed to speed up the process of the TWA crash investigation and recovery. And a memorial service was to take place at Smith Point County Park, a point of land closest to the crash site.

"Amateurish" is how Chicago police described a crude pipe bomb found on the tarmac of an air charter service at O'Hare International Airport. The bomb was detonated safely by a bomb and arson squad. The airport was already on heightened alert after several bomb threats that prompted the search of two Mexicana Airlines airplanes. A Delta flight from Atlanta was also searched after a threatening call.

Vice President Gore said the US will meet its year-end deadline for removing all US troops from Bosnia. And there are no current plans for a new NATO peacekeeping mission to replace the one scheduled to complete the mission Dec. 20, he added. Gore made the statements on CBS's "Face the Nation." Last month, Defense Secretary Perry said he would support US participation in a smaller force to complete the mission.

Former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D) of Illinois began his 17-month prison term for mail fraud at the federal medical prison, where he was recovering from surgery. He pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud in April: He admitted converting office funds for gifts and hiring people on the congressional payroll who did little official work. He also admitted sending House payroll checks through the mail to his district office to pay employees who performed "personal or political service."

A retired DEA agent told The Washington Post he leaked tapes tying Colombian President Ernesto Samper to the Cali drug cartel two years ago. Joe Toft said he disobeyed direct orders from Washington and gave the information to a Colombian TV reporter because he was fed up with US policy in the war against Colombian cocaine traffickers.

The US homeownership rate climbed a record 1.6 points the past two years to reach a 15-year high of 65.4 percent, the Clinton administration announced. As a result, the number of homeowners rose to 66.1 million - the highest level in US history.

Nearly 50 Honda dealers filed lawsuits in federal court against American Honda Motor Company for allegedly failing to act when some of its managers diverted cars to other dealers for kickbacks. Dealers say they lost millions because of the bribes. Honda denies its top executives knew about the kickbacks.

Intel Corp. plans to give away computer software that makes it easier for users to make long-distance phone calls via the Internet, the company announced. The calls cost only as much as the local connection to the global computer network. Until now, both callers and receivers needed the identical software and hardware to connect.

Rescuers continued searching for a worker missing after a sugar refinery explosion in Scotsbluff, Neb., that injured four people. The explosion leveled seven 150-foot-tall silos and scattered sugar up to a mile. It could take several days before the cause of the explosion is known, authorities said.

The State Department authorized families of US government employees to leave Saudi Arabia because of terrorism threats there. Last week, the US Embassy warned it had received reports suggesting such attacks could be aimed at both military and civilian facilities.

THE WORLD

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak urged a "historic reconciliation" between Arab countries and Israel to create lasting peace. He again pressed for a land-for-peace formula as the only solution. And Israeli intelligence briefed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Syria will not resume talks unless it sees signs of regaining the Golan Heights, an Israeli newspaper said.

The Russian military and Chechen rebels agreed on peace talks, according to Tim Guldimann, head of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. But the dates have not been finalized. The organization has in the past brokered talks between the two, including the May 27 cease-fire agreement.