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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia HansonYvonne Zipp, and Sally Steindorf / August 26, 1996



THE US

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President Clinton planned to introduce a new gun control initiative today and an education proposal aimed at reducing illiteracy tomorrow at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The initiative would ban handgun purchases by people convicted of domestic abuse. An environmental initiative is scheduled to be unveiled Wednesday. Earlier, he unveiled a series of initiatives during a train trip to the convention.

At a Republican Party picnic in suburban Chicago, Bob Dole was to outline a new plan to combat drug use and planned to criticize Clinton's antidrug record. Dole also accused Clinton of stealing ideas from the Republicans after the president announced the creation of a national registry to track sex offenders. Dole's running mate Jack Kemp began a solo, 17-state campaign blitz in South Dakota.

Clinton imposed historic limits on the marketing of cigarettes the same day an Indiana jury ruled in favor of four tobacco companies in a liability suit. The suit was filed by the widow and family of a longtime smoker who died of a smoking-related illness. Also, Kentucky said it would file a suit to block Clinton's efforts to curb teenage smoking. And the Democrats were criticized for accepting donations from the country's largest tobacco company, Philip Morris Companies.

The Air Force canceled about a quarter of its training flights to review safety procedures the same day an EA-6B Prowler crashed in Arizona, killing four Marines. It was the third US military plane crash in two days: A pilot were killed when an A-10 warplane went down on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; another pilot died when his Marine F/A-18 crashed in the Atlantic off Ocean City, Md.

Investigators are exploring a theory that a bomb hidden in carry-on luggage ignited a fuel tank on TWA Flight 800, which exploded last month off Long Island. Also, the New York Daily News reported that traces of the explosive substance nitroglycerine were found among the wreckage. Another source said tiny bits of residue from a plastic-type explosive called PETN were found on the passenger cabin floor.

A chemical officer with the Army's 37th Engineering Battalion in the Gulf war told "60 Minutes" he defied orders and donned protective gear during the destruction of an Iraqi ammunition depot in March 1991. Dan Tipulski says he told his commanders he detected the nerve gas sarin at the site. But a commander didn't instruct soldiers to wear protective gear since there were so many false alarms registered. He is the only member of the battalion without health problems related to chemical exposure. Pentagon officials acknowledge the site may have contained chemical weapons.

Supporters cheered four women who enrolled at a formerly all-male military college in Charleston, S.C. The Citadel changed its policy to include women after the US Supreme Court ruled the all-male admissions policy at the state-supported Virginia Military Institute unconstitutional.

A wildfire near Bend, Ore., destroyed 19 homes and damaged six others before shifting away from the subdivisions. The fire, sparked by a lightning bolt, burned at least 8,000 acres and caused hundreds of people to evacuate to a Red Cross shelter.

Without commenting on his reasons, a federal judge in Minneapolis denied a request from the Christian Science Church that he modify a decision that would ban government reimbursement to Christian Science nursing facilities nationwide. US District Judge Richard Kyle ruled Aug. 7 that federal regulations permitting reimbursement of Christian Science nursing care under Medicare and Medicaid were unconstitutional because they singled out one religion by name. The church filed a motion Aug. 19 asking the judge not to invalidate the statutes but instead to order the benefits of the accommodation be made available "to all similarly situated religious persons and groups." A spokesman said, "The church is investigating all its options."

THE WORLD

Russian security chief Alexander Lebed suspended further talks with Chechen rebel leaders, citing "legal difficulties," and returned to Moscow. Russian officials said the postponement was connected to a rebel attack on an armored Russian column and demanded the return of weapons seized from the troops. Also, Russian troops began pulling out of the village of Shatoi, Chechnya, under a cease-fire agreement between Lebed and rebel leaders. But a Russian general said he was delaying a pullout of troops in Grozny because of the attack, Interfax news agency reported.