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News In Brief

By CompiledSuman BandrapalliYvonne Zipp, and Sally Steindorf / September 4, 1996



THE US

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The US launched a cruise missile attack against Iraq. The Navy and Air Force fired 27 missiles against Iraqi defense installations in retaliation for Iraqi assaults on the Kurds this weekend. The attack received bipartisan support from Congress. President Clinton also announced the US is extending the no-fly zone in Iraq to deny military flights from Baghdad suburbs to Iraq's border with Kuwait. It was the first US attack against Iraq since 1993. That one was in retaliation for an alleged plot to assassinate former President Bush while he was visiting Kuwait.

Congress will return to work this week for a short session. Topping the agenda is passing spending authority to keep the government running past Oct. 1 and into the next fiscal year. Republican lawmakers say they'll do their part to avoid a replay of last fiscal year's government shutdowns. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he'd like to wrap things up by the end of the month to give legislators more time to campaign for reelection.

Jury deliberations resumed in the trial of three men charged with plotting to blow up US airplanes. The three are accused of plotting to plant bombs on 12 US airplanes in Asia, and then blow them up over the Pacific to protest US support for Israel. Defendant Ramzi Yousef, who acted as his own attorney, claims the evidence against him was fabricated by the Philippine and Pakistani governments to curry US favor. The lawyers for the other defendants also say their clients were framed. If convicted, the three face life in prison.

Boeing tests indicate an explosion of a center fuel tank wouldn't be enough to down a 747, an investigator in the crash of TWA Flight 800 said. The test results make it less likely that the July crash was an accident. And the top FBI official investigating the crash says he's not telling everything he knows about the crash so as not to "alert potential co-conspirators."

Most Americans favor stiff penalties for drunk driving, according to a Louis Harris poll conducted over Labor Day weekend. Some 91 percent of adults surveyed think teenagers caught driving while intoxicated should have their licenses suspended immediately. And 78 percent oppose lowering the legal drinking age from 21 to 18. Also, two-thirds favor releasing photos of repeat drunken-driving offenders to newspapers and television stations once the suspects had their licenses revoked.

Western firefighters declared victory on some wildfires. A blaze near Castaic, Calif., that consumed 21,500 acres has been contained, as well as the last of dozens of Nevada fires that burned more than 300,000 acres. Also, about 500 marines headed to the Oregon fire lines, adding to about 17,000 firefighters battling fires in eight states. More than 5 million acres burned this summer, making this the worst fire season since 1969.

Argentina's government was to go on trial in Santa Monica, Calif., to face charges that its officials tortured a Jewish man and stole his property. It is the first time a foreign country has been forced to trial in the US on allegations of human rights abuses committed on its own soil.

The Federal Reserve is considering raising interest rates half a percentage point, unless it sees strong indication that the economy is slowing this month, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Fed meets again Sept. 24. Also, stocks opened lower on Tuesday after sagging at the end of last week. The drop was spurred by signs that the economy continues to grow - sparking concerns that interest rates will go up.

Hurricane Fran was heading for the Bahamas, and Floridians were told to brace for its arrival on their coast tomorrow morning. Forecasters say the storm, which boasted winds of 85 m.p.h., could reach Georgia or South Carolina by Friday.

A Tennessee man committed suicide in Detroit in the presence of Jack Kevorkian. Dr. Kevorkian has acknowledged attending 39 deaths since 1990.

THE WORLD

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein said he no longer recognized the no-fly zone and ordered his armed forces to shoot down any enemy plane over Iraqi territory. World opinion was mixed about a US missile attack, launched in retaliation for Iraqi attacks on Kurds. Britain, Germany, and Japan applauded the strike, while France, Russia, China, and many Arab nations were critical. Iraqi officials said five people were killed and 19 others injured. Meanwhile oil prices shot up by $1.50 a barrel, and experts say if tensions continue prices may hit a five-year high.