News In Brief

THE US

Voters chose Senate nominees opposed to abortion in Republican primary races in Kansas, Michigan, and Georgia. The elections, coming shortly before the start of the party's national convention, were a rebuke to moderates calling for tolerance. In a Kansas Senate race, Rep. Sam Brownback received 55 percent of the vote to defeat Sen. Sheila Frahm, who was appointed to replace Dole last June. In Michigan, former radio talk show host Ronna Romney beat businessman Jim Nicholson. In Georgia, Atlanta businessman Guy Miller out-polled Johnny Isakson. Meanwhile, several moderate governors warned of a possible floor fight at the GOP convention if the party doesn't do more to accommodate abortion-rights supporters.

President Clinton plans to end the week vacationing with his family in Jackson, Wyo., after a campaign swing through California. He hosted a visit to the White House by the US Olympic team, and discussed crime, drugs, and terrorism with Sweden's Prime Minister Goran Persson. Earlier, he signed a $53 billion funding bill for nutrition programs and agricultural research, which also provides $12 million for investigations into church burnings. And he signed a bill providing $9.6 billion to protect drinking water.

Federal judges in Houston redrew 13 congressional districts in Texas in response to a recent US Supreme Court ruling outlawing racial gerrymandering. They also threw out preliminary election results and decided that nearly half the state's 30 House races will have special elections in November that operate like open primaries. That means some incumbents who faced no primary or majority-party general-election opposition could find themselves drawing rivals.

An Air Force general and colonel were reprimanded for "dereliction of duty" in connection with the April plane crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others in Croatia. In all, 16 officers were given punishments ranging from letters of reprimand to counseling in connection with the crash.

Oregon Rep. Wes Cooley abandoned his reelection bid amid charges that he lied about his war record and that his wife improperly collected veterans' survivor benefits. The Republican said he wanted to give another conservative a chance.

Jack Kevorkian attended his 34th assisted suicide since 1990. The doctor has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in three trials, and last month asked the US Supreme Court to dissolve a Michigan injunction prohibiting him from helping people commit suicide. Also, Richard Thompson, the prosecutor who twice tried to convict Kevorkian, was voted out of office. Thompson says his loss was due to the Kevorkian issue.

Presidential hopeful Bob Dole can narrow a 12-point gap with Clinton by targeting certain issues, according to a poll conducted for Reuters by John Zogby Group International. Dole's promise to cut taxes should give him a big boost. The survey also found positive results if Dole emphasized he's an effective negotiator, announced Colin Powell as his choice for secretary of state, and charged the Whitewater affair has cost taxpayers money. And Clinton could gain by highlighting peacemaking efforts in Bosnia and Haiti, and saying he is the first president to cut the deficit in years.

Los Angeles County joined 10 states and San Francisco and filed a lawsuit against some of the nation's largest tobacco companies, including the American Tobacco Company and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. The complaint alleged the companies manipulated nicotine content in cigarettes. It seeks $400 million in health-care costs county officials claim they have spent treating tobacco-related illnesses.

Two-thirds of voters support transforming Social Security into a mandatory savings program, with some contributions going into private investments, according to a poll by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. Surplus Social Security funds are invested in government bonds, but a government advisory board studying ways to change the system says investing the money into the stock market could gain larger returns and help save the program from bankruptcy.

THE WORLD

Fighting continued for a second day in Grozny, Chechnya, as rebels surrounded Russian troops. At least 29 Russian soldiers were killed and 100 wounded in heavy fighting in the capital. The rebels held several parts of the city and were trying to capture key government posts. More than 30,000 people have died in the 20 months since Russian troops came to the breakaway republic to squelch its bid for independence.

Syrian President Hafez al-Assad said he received an invitation from Israel to resume peace talks, but that it didn't offer "a glimpse of hope for any future peace." Assad, meeting with Egypt's President Mubarak in Alexandria, Egypt, said Israel's failure to embrace the land-for-peace format meant resuming talks would lead nowhere.

China is now on board for the global nuclear test ban treaty, diplomats said in Geneva. The breakthrough came when the US and China agreed to compromise on how to require inspections of possible violators of the treaty. The five declared nuclear powers are now in support of the treaty, and only objections from India are holding up the agreement.

President Jacques Chirac said France would retaliate immediately if the US applied sanctions against French firms under a new law banning energy deals with Iran and Libya.

Uganda announced it was slapping sanctions on Burundi, joining Tanzania and Kenya in an effort to topple the new Tutsi leader Maj. Pierre Buyoya and return the constitutional government to power. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had been seen as a supporter of the Tutsis. Also, a UN food agency expressed concern that the embargo is preventing food aid from reaching the 700,000 war refugees in Burundi.

People are starving in southeastern Liberia, a group of civilians who fled the area to seek aid said. Between 10 and 15 people are dying each day, and "no one can remember the last time relief food or medicine ever reached there," the group spokesman said. Liberians are unable to farm safely because of ongoing battles between rival factions.

Yugoslavia and Croatia reached an initial agreement on mutual recognition during a meeting in Athens, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said. The pact is seen as a crucial step for permanent peace in the Balkans. Simitis said the two will restore diplomatic relations after a meeting of their foreign ministers in Belgrade later this month.

Tamil Tiger rebels reported fierce fighting with Sri Lankan troops in a battle for a guerrilla-held northern town and said some 200,000 homeless civilians badly needed food and water.

Indonesia's ousted opposition leader Megawati is seeking criminal charges against her government-backed rival for sparking last month's riots in Jakarta that killed three people. The riots erupted after police raided her party headquarters after an early morning attack by supporters of Suryadi, who replaced her as head of the Indonesian Democratic Party.

Northern Irish Protestants and Catholics issued an appeal for calm in Londonderry in advance of Saturday's march. The Protestant Apprentice Boys association plans to parade in support of its commitment to British rule. But Catholics oppose the plan and aim to stage a protest tomorrow night.

ETCETERA

"As for a dramatic trade war between America and Europe, I am not convinced that everything will be served as hot as it is cooked."

- German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, on reaction to a US move to punish foreign companies investing in Iran and Libya.

Fish from mine water? A fish farmer and former miner opened the first coal-mine fishery at the mouth of an abandoned mine near Charleston, W. Va. The key to success is the mine water, ideal for breeding fish because of its abundance, purity, and year-round 55-degree temperature. The venture is expected to make the state one of the nation's leading fish producers.

Indian officials have decided to hold a vote for the most crooked. In an effort to stamp out corruption, civil servants in Uttar Pradesh will vote for their three most dishonest members later this year. The government will prosecute winners of this dubious distinction receiving at least 100 votes. It's a secret ballot, of course.

Winchell's Donut House in Fairfield, Calif., is offering cologne that smells like, well, doughnuts. The shop, known as a police hangout, decided to sell the smell for those who want a cop-like odor. Doughnut Cologne comes in a mini bakery box with a gold badge. The inscription? "Splash some on for that just-had-my-break smell."

THE DAY'S LIST

Top 10 Movies in the US and Canada by Gross Receipts, Aug. 2 to 5

Movies are followed by weekly grosses and total grosses with number of weeks in release.

1. "A Time to Kill;" $13.3 million; $41.5 million (two weeks)

2. "Independence Day;" $11 million; $241.9 million (five weeks)

3. "Matilda;" $8.2 million (one week)

4. "Chain Reaction;" $7.5 million (one week)

5. "Phenomenon;" $5.1 million; $81.1 million (five weeks)

6. "Kingpin," $4.502 million; $13.7 million (two weeks)

7. "Courage Under Fire;" $4.45 million; $42.7 million (four weeks)

8. "The Nutty Professor;" $4.2 million; $109.9 million (six weeks)

9. "Supercop;" $2.5 million; $10 million (two weeks)

10. "The Adventures of Pinocchio," $1.929 million, $8.3 million (two weeks)

- Exhibitor Relations/AP

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