News In Brief

By , Suman Bandrapelli, and Sally Steindorf

THE US

The 21st Century Express made its final stop, as President Clinton was to fly to Chicago just in time to receive his party's nomination at the Democratic National Convention.

The Clinton administration will consider backing off its demand that the FDA regulate nicotine, White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta told CBS. The White House would give up the FDA's proposed jurisdiction over the tobacco industry, if it adhered to new rules that would ban most vending machine sales and restrict cigarette ads aimed at youngsters. The tobacco industry has vowed to fight the regulation in court, arguing the FDA does not have the legal authority to regulate nicotine.

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The defense continued closing arguments in the trial of three men charged with plotting to blow up 12 US jetliners. Defendant Ramzi Yousef, who is acting as his own lawyer, says the Philippines and Pakistan fabricated bomb-plot charges to gain favor with the US. Yousef will also be tried later this year as the alleged ringleader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Senior US officials knew in 1991 that scores of US troops had been exposed to chemical weapons during the Gulf war, The New York Times reported. A long-classified intelligence report shows the Bush administration, the CIA, and the State Department were all aware chemical weapons had been stored in an Iraqi ammunition depot blown up by US soldiers in March 1991. The estimated 150 soldiers who took part in the mission were only told this spring that they may have been exposed to a cloud of mustard gas and sarin.

A company responsible for buying Russia's uranium stocks to ensure they didn't fall into terrorist hands may be more concerned about profit than safety, The New York Times reported. United States Enrichment Corporation turned down enough requests to buy Russian material to build 400 Hiroshima-sized bombs before pressure from New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici forced the company to relent. Domenici said the company was balking because Russian uranium costs more than American uranium, which it also buys for resale to US utility companies.

Three companies admitted to conspiring to rig prices for the food-additive lysine. Ajinomoto, Kyowa Hakko Kogya, and Sewon agreed to pay $20 million in fines. US giant Archer Daniels Midlands, which denies all wrongdoing, has not been charged. But the government says it is continuing its probe against unnamed companies.

The lawyer for Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh says the government is withholding information it prom- ised months ago. Stephen Jones asked a Denver judge to order the government to share intelligence reports suggesting Iraq may have sponsored the bombing. Prosecutors say there is no evidence of foreign involvement.

The Interior Department is spending $1 million a day fighting fires in seven Western states while the Forest Service could be spending twice that amount, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said. Western fire crews face about 150 blazes per day.

Lloyd's of London's reorganization plan got the green light when an appeals court threw out an injunction against the insurance giant. The court ruled US members of insurance syndicates fall under British, not US, securities law. Some investors are likely to appeal. After the decision, Lloyd's extended the deadline for investors to accept the proposed restructuring.

Investigators in the crash of TWA Flight 800 moved on to the last of three debris fields in search of more pieces of the plane's midsection, where they think the explosion originated. Also, the National Transportation Safety Board dismissed a German TV report that some experts think the explosion was caused by a structural problem.

THE WORLD

Palestinian President Arafat said that Israel had "declared war" on the Palestinians and called the first general strike in the West Bank and Gaza in two years. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would regard with "severity" any attempt to escalate tensions. Arafat was angered by Israel's announcement of plans to expand settlements and the demolition of a Palestinian community center in Arab East Jerusalem.

Some 400 international election supervisors landed in Sarajevo as preparations for Sept. 14 elections in Bosnia gathered momentum. Meanwhile, Bosnia's ruling Muslim nationalist party urged refugees living abroad not to cast absentee ballots until voter registration irregularities were resolved. Absentee voting was scheduled to start yesterday.

Philippine diplomats and Muslim rebels will sign an Indonesian-sponsored peace agreement in Jakarta tomorrow, ending 26 years of civil war. The Muslims, who once fought for a separate nation, agreed to accept an autonomous regional government for which elections will be held in three years. The rebel forces will also be integrated into the police and the armed forces.

Japan's Supreme Court upheld the government's policy of forcing landowners to renew leases for US military bases. The ruling requires Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota to force 35 resisting landowners to renew their leases. Ota has argued that forced leasing violates owners' property rights. On Sept. 8, Okinawans will vote in a nonbinding referendum on whether to reduce US military presence.

Britain's Prince Charles was granted a final decree of divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales.

South Korean riot police arrested 347 students in surprise raids on 23 university campuses, part of a nationwide crackdown on suspected pro-communist student groups. Police also detained some 5,000 students. The raids followed nine days of violence earlier this month by radical students demanding reunification with North Korea.

An Indian court sentenced 87 people to five years in jail for participating in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in which some 3,000 people were killed. Cases are pending against 17 politicians for allegedly engineering the riots that followed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination.

Iraq renewed pledges to give UN inspectors unrestricted access to sites suspected of housing banned weapons materials, chief UN arms inspector Rolf Ekeus said in Baghdad. The UN said Iraq violated agreements after it barred inspectors from entering several sites in July and August. Also, Iraq demanded that the UN cut the staff that is to monitor its oil-for-food sales.

Seven Iraqi hijackers who forced a Sudanese jetliner to land in London are likely to be tried in Britain, Home Secretary Michael Howard said. The seven are seeking political asylum. There was no official word on the identity of the seven, but Baghdad denied widespread speculation in British newspapers that they were disgruntled diplomats.

Estonia's parliament chairman Toomas Savi set Sept. 20 as the date for the presidential election after parliament failed to elect a president in three rounds of voting this week. A 374-member electoral college will choose between President Lennart Meri and Arnold Ruutel, deputy speaker of parliament.

ETCETERAS

"We are all responsible for assuring that children are raised in a nation that doesn't just talk about family values, but acts in ways that values families."

-- First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

The idea is growing that religion can be good medicine. Wake Forest University is requiring medical students to take courses on religion. It was one of six schools to receive a John Templeton Foundation grant to be used to teach how to incorporate spirituality into health care.

The Lincoln Continental that carried US presidents from 1968 to 1978 is now parked at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Los Angeles. The rolling fortress has bulletproof windows thicker than a phone book.

THE DAY'S LIST

Top Movies in the US and Canada by Per-Location Revenue, Aug. 23 to 25

Per-location revenue gauges movie popularity by community response to a film. Movie titles are followed by per-location revenue, number of locations, and weeks in release.

1. "She's the One;" $4,550; 459 locations; one week.

2. "The Island of Dr. Moreau;" $4,473; 2,035 locations; one week

3. "Emma;" $4,217; 585 locations; four weeks

4. "Tin Cup;" $4,132; 2,084 locations; two weeks

5. "A Very Brady Sequel;" $3,285; 2,147 locations; one week

6. "A Time to Kill;" $2,815; 2,182 locations; five weeks

7. "Jack;" 2,593; 2,232 locations; three weeks

8. "Trainspotting;" $2553; 357 locations; six weeks

9. "Independence Day," $1,988; 2,384 locations; eight weeks

10. "Solo," $1,812; 1,230 locations; one week

- Exhibitor Relations/AP

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