News In Brief

By , Yvonne Zipp, and Sally Steindorf

THE US

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.

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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.

Israeli President Ezer Weizman said he's inviting Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to his home in Caesarea, but set no date for the meeting. The move came after Arafat sent him a "distressed" letter, Weizman said. He denied reports that he decided to hold the meeting after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to respond to Weizman's ultimatum to meet Arafat by the end of the month. Also, Palestinian officials said Israel agreed to resume negotiations by Sept. 2 on unresolved issues such as Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank town of Hebron.

French police scrapped expulsion orders for 45 illegal African immigrants, and a judge released 39 other detainees, ruling police had violated legal technicalities. Some 210 immigrants, who had sought sanctuary in Paris's St. Bernard Church, were detained by riot police Friday, along with 10 who were on the 50th day of a hunger strike. All 68 children and almost all of the 54 women were released. Four of the immigrants were deported over the weekend. The church raid triggered protests both in Paris and at a military airbase.

International election supervisors said Bosnians Serbs were manipulating voter registration in Serb-held towns such as Srebrenica and Brcko. Leaders were packing registration lists with Serb refugees to ensure they would outnumber Bosnian Muslims in next month's elections. Also, three Bosnian Muslims were wounded in shootings in the Sarajevo suburb of Dobrinja.

Zaire and Rwanda agreed to the forced repatriation of about 1 million Rwandan refugees who fled the country after the 1994 massacre of up to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus by the militant Hutu government. Many of the refugees are Hutus who fear reprisals if they return. The UN has said all repatriations must be voluntary, and similar efforts have failed in the past.

Lebanese troops patrolled Tripoli as north Lebanon voted in the second round of parliamentary elections. Observers reported a sharp drop in electoral abuses after the opposition charged widespread vote-rigging in the first round of elections. About 528,000 people were eligible to vote for the 28 seats.

Thousands of Pakistanis were rescued from their rooftops after Lahore was flooded with 19 inches of rain over 24 hours. About 26 people were reported killed during the record-setting rainfall.

Indian troops with helicopters and relief supplies battled to rescue thousands of Hindu pilgrims stranded along a rugged Himalayan trail during a sudden storm. At least 116 died from cold, officials said.

Europe should consider rethinking the criteria for the European Monetary Union, Italy's deputy prime minister was quoted as saying.

ETCETERAS

"With this historic action we are taking today, Joe Camel and the

Marlboro Man will be out of our children's reach forever."

-- President Clinton, approving a crackdown on cigarettes that bans roadside billboards and ads in teen magazines.

Millionaire stockbroker Steve Fossett broke the world record for the fastest solo trip by boat across the Pacific when he sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge to complete a Japan-to-California voyage in 20 days.

Workers digging at the site of a Jewish ghetto destroyed in the 16th century in Regensburg, Germany, found a priceless collection of 400 coins minted in Hungary in the 14th century. The coins probably belonged to a rich resident who buried them for an emergency, the mayor of Regensburg said.

One hundred years ago, Robertson Pitcher Woodward set off across the US on his donkey MacArony with less than $1 in his pocket - the terms of a wager he lost on who would win the presidency. Woodward, a reporter, wrote humorous reports of his misadventures that were printed nationwide, turning him into an unlikely celebrity. He was the "Dave Barry of his time," says great-grandson, Scott Russell, who's setting up a Web site to mark the anniversary.

THE DAY'S LIST

Top 10 Voter Concerns

Some 1,007 likely voters polled after the Republican convention ranked these issues from greatest to least importance in how they'll cast their vote Nov. 5.

1. Education

2. Jobs and the economy

3. Crime

4. Candidate's character

5. Health care

6. Federal budget deficit

7. Environment

8. Taxes

9. Foreign policy

10. Abortion

-- Reuters and the John Zogby Group International

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