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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia HansonYvonne Zipp, and Sally Steindorf / August 27, 1996



THE US

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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.

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.