News In Brief

By , Yvonne Zipp, and Sally Steindorf

THE US

In an effort to expand the convention beyond Chicago, President Clinton began a campaign pitch while crossing five states by train. He planned to announce three key initiatives along the way. The train departed West Virginia after a rally, traveled through Kentucky and Ohio, and was expected in Michigan today. After a brief stop in Indiana, Clinton will fly by helicopter to Chicago to be nominated for a second term at the Democratic National Convention.

US officials were warned of a "high level threat" at an Air Force barracks near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, six months before a truck bomb killed 19 US military personnel there, according to USA Today. The threats didn't specify a time or place. The Pentagon made more than 130 security improvements after receiving the threats, Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon said.

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The Center to Prevent Handgun Violence released a survey showing the Brady law succeeded in denying handgun purchases to 102,822 people not legally qualified to own them. The study was released just before Clinton was to propose extending the law to bar handgun sales to anyone convicted of domestic violence against women.

GOP candidate Bob Dole vowed to use the military to fight a war on drugs. If elected to the presidency, he said, he would ask military officials to come up with a plan in his first 45 days in office. Dole didn't say how he would finance such a plan in his speech to a crowd of about 1,500 in Palos Park, Ill.

Proposed legislation that would give tobacco companies protection from liability lawsuits and federal regulations in exchange for billions of dollars in payments is quietly circulating in Washington, The Wall Street Journal reported. The legislation would give cigarettemakers immunity from liability lawsuits and regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. In exchange, the tobacco industry would reportedly pay billions of dollars annually to reimburse states for health-care costs, fund tobacco-control programs and antismoking ads, and provide some compensation to people diagnosed with smoking-related illnesses.

Investigators into the downing of TWA Flight 800 said they don't believe nitroglycerine found recently in wreckage from the back of the plane was connected to the explosion. The substance is sometimes carried by individuals for medical use.

Clinton widened his lead over Dole on the eve of the Democratic convention, according to a new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll. Fifty percent polled supported Clinton, 38 percent Dole, and 7 percent Ross Perot. But Clinton had only a slight lead over Dole among Americans who say they are certain to vote, a new ABC News national tracking poll found. Clinton received 47 percent, Dole 42 percent, and Perot 7 percent in that survey.

WorldCom, the nation's fourth-largest long-distance telephone company, agreed to pay about $14 billion for MFS Communications, a provider of local phone service to businesses. The deal is the latest of several megamergers following phone-industry deregulation.

The Army stopped destroying chemical weapons in a high-tech incinerator after monitors detected a small leak of nerve gas within a sealed area. The $650 million incinerator is expected to be back to work by Thursday. It was built to destroy 14,000 tons of chemical agents stored in concrete igloos at a remote western Utah desert site about 50 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

Investigators were trying to determine whether arson or faulty wiring caused a fire that destroyed a predominantly white church in Benton, Ark. The blaze at the Kentucky Missionary Baptist Church was the third church fire in a week in Arkansas. The other two churches were predominantly black.

THE WORLD

A South Korean court sentenced former President Chun Doo Hwan to death for mutiny and treason. Fellow former president and ex-military leader Roh Tae Woo was sentenced to 22-1/2 years in prison for his role in the 1979 coup that brought Chun to power. The two were also found guilty of ordering a 1980 massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Kwangju.

Russian security chief Alexander Lebed sought backing from Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin on the Chechen peace initiative as a truce seemed to take hold in Grozny. Lebed, who interrupted talks with Chechen rebels to return to Moscow, insisted "the peace process was in motion" to end the 20-month conflict. While Russia has said it will never grant Chechnya independence from Russia, Chernomyrdin said Lebed will offer rebels a compromise: a referendum on the republic's political status in five years.

China said the US must abandon plans to sell Stinger missiles, launchers, and other weapons to Taiwan if it wants to prevent "new damage" to Sino-US relations. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and opposes its military relations with foreign countries. The US says the weapons are defensive and won't change the balance of power in the region.

Bosnia's election organizers will decide today whether to postpone municipal elections scheduled as part of nationwide voting, a spokeswoman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said. Also, the status of 8,000 of 28,000 candidates in next month's elections is in doubt, because their names don't appear on a 1991 census, international election monitors said. Under OSCE rules, all candidates must appear on a Provisional List of Voters based on the census.

Burundi's leader Maj. Pierre Buyoya called for a regional summit meeting to consider lifting sanctions imposed after a July 25 coup that brought him to power. Also, the US is reportedly considering a deal that would officially recognize Buyoya as president if he restores parliament and ends ethnic fighting.

Israeli Prime Minister Netan-yahu will reportedly meet with Palestinian President Arafat within the next two weeks. The meeting is expected to take place before Netanyahu visits the US.

Estonia's parliament failed to elect a president. Neither incumbent President Lennart Meri nor his opponent, deputy parliamentary speaker Arnold Ruutel, won the necessary 68 votes to take office. The 101-member parliament was to vote again today in a second round of elections.

Belgian investigators made a 10th arrest in connection with a rapidly widening child-sex scandal. Pierre Rochow was arrested in the village of Neufchateau, a court official said. Earlier, investigators arrested police detective Georges Zicot in connection with the kidnapping, killing, and porn scandal, prosecutors said.

Good weather aided Indian officials as they continued efforts to rescue thousands of Hindu pilgrims stranded in the Himalayas. About 65,000 of the 80,000 Hindus trapped by a freak storm have made it safely to a base camp in Pahalgam.

A former South African police colonel was convicted of at least five apartheid-era killings. Eugene de Kock could still be found guilty of more of the 121 charges against him. He is the highest ranked police officer convicted of apartheid-era crimes.

A Berlin court suspended proceedings against former East German Politburo member Erich Mueckenberger, citing health reasons. The decision dealt a new blow to efforts to bring to justice the architects of communist rule.

ETCETERAS

"Zero! Zero! Zero!"

-- Presidential candidate Bob Dole at a rally in Palos Park, Ill., calling for zero tolerance for drug smugglers and pushers, zero tolerance for drugs in the workplace and in schools, and zero tolerance for illegal drugs.

The gorilla who rescued the toddler at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois is being honored by a literary legend. The Burroughs Bibliophiles Literary Society presented Binti with the first Kala award. As fans of author Edgar Rice Burroughs know, Kala rescued an orphan who grew up to be Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle.

Those weren't just ordinary rocks students at Seoul campus hurled during recent protests. Among the flying projectiles were 10,000 "irreplaceable" samples the geology department had spent 30 years collecting.

Titanic survivors joined 1,000 cruise passengers to watch tomorrow as research vessels try to raise an 11-ton piece of the hull from its watery resting place south of Newfoundland, Canada.

THE DAY'S LIST

Best Bets for Family Film

Here are some of the awards presented at the World Film Institute's first Family Film Awards in Los Angeles.

Best comedy: "Babe"

Best drama: "Apollo 13"

Best actress: Sandra Bullock for "While You Were Sleeping"

Best actor: Tom Hanks for "Apollo 13"

Best TV drama: "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (CBS)

Best TV comedy: "Home Improvement" (ABC)

Best TV movie: "The Canterville Ghost" (ABC)

Best TV actress/actor: Jane Seymour and Joe Lando for "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"

Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Hope

-- Associated Press

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