News In Brief

THE US

The US launched a missile strike against an Iraqi radar site, officials said in Washington. The attack came hours after the Pentagon said its back-to-back bombardments of military sites had "sufficiently reduced" the risk to allied pilots enforcing a new, expanded no-fly zone. Also, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said there was no sign Iraqi troops are pulling out of the Kurdish north. And nearly 8 in 10 Americans approve of the missile strikes, an ABC poll found.

The Clinton administration plans to transfer 500 FBI agents to counterterrorism to combat the possibility of simultaneous terrorist attacks, The Wall Street Journal reported. Clinton intends to notify Congress later this week. The move comes as the FBI investigates three high-profile cases of apparent or possible terrorism: the June 25 bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the downing of TWA Flight 800, and the pipe bombing in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

A US court of appeals awarded former President Ronald Reagan $562,111 for legal expenses incurred during the investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal. The court ruled Reagan had reason to believe he faced "a realistic possibility" of being indicted in the case. Under the independent counsel law, individuals who are subject to an investigation but aren't indicted can be reimbursed by taxpayers for "reasonable" legal fees.

The Senate approved a bill authorizing $2.17 billion in spending for the legislative branch in fiscal 1997. Clinton is expected to sign the bill, making it the second of 13 that fund the government to become law. The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

The Argentine government tentatively agreed to settle a human rights case that was to be tried in a US court, The New York Times reported. The country will reportedly pay millions to Joseph Siderman, a Jewish man who was tortured and forced into exile under Argentina's former military regime. A Los Angeles judge agreed to postpone the trial until Sept. 12 while negotiations continue.

For the first time in Clinton's presidency, a majority of Americans are upbeat on the economy, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found. Some 59 percent said the economy is getting better, up from 39 percent in May. And 50 percent said they believe the US is on the right track for the 21st century.

Ford Motor Company reportedly will be the target of the United Auto Workers union in negotiations for new national contracts with the Big Three automakers. But in an unusual move, the UAW didn't formally name Ford the target for a strike if a deal isn't reached by Sept.14.

The IRS is auditing a college course taught by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, officials at two Georgia colleges said. The audit is separate from a House ethics committee investigation, but both are examining whether the course met IRS rules for tax-exempt activities.

A juror was nearly dismissed in the trial of the three men accused of plotting to bomb 12 US airliners because of an improper telephone call the juror made to a witness. New York judge Kevin Duffy opted to keep the juror, at the request of attorneys for both sides in the case.

South Carolina's governor declared a state of emergency as hurricane Fran, packing 115 m.p.h. winds, headed for its coast. A hurricane watch was extended to Oregon Inlet, N.C.

Florida's Alex Penelas, a Cuban-American lawyer, was favored for the title of executive mayor, a new position making the Miami area's mayor second only to the governor in political power. He was competing against Metro Dade Chairman Arthur Teele in the race for the position, authorized in 1992 by voters hungry for stronger leadership.

THE WORLD

A US jet fired missiles and immobilized an Iraqi radar site that was monitoring allied aircraft movement, US officials said. As the conflict flared, Russia and France intensified their criticism after a second US missile strike. France urged that a UN deal authorizing Iraq to sell crude oil for food and supplies go through as soon as possible. But UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali delayed the arrival of UN personnel who were to monitor the deal, saying he was concerned for their safety.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Arafat met at the Erez checkpoint between Gaza and Israel. The ice-breaking summit constitutes the first recognition of Arafat by an Israeli prime minister from the Likud Party, which long opposed Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The negotiations leading up to the summit were spearheaded by Norwegian diplomat Terje Larsen, who also played a key role in bringing Israel and the PLO together for the 1993 secret contacts that led to the Mideast peace deal.

The US began evacuating foreigners from Burundi, following an attack by Hutu rebels on the capital Bujumbura. The capital has been largely free from violence since military leader Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, came to power in a July coup. The rebels were fighting for control of a major supply route.

The Mexican Army launched an attack on suspected rebels, after guerrillas believed to belong to the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) clashed with police and slipped into the southern mountains. There was no report of casualties, and journalists were refused access to the area. The clash comes less than a week after rebels killed 18 people. Meanwhile, 18 suspected EPR members were arrested.

A Palestinian who hijacked a Bulgarian airliner to Oslo has sought political asylum, but Norwegian officials hinted it is unlikely he will get it. The plane was hijacked on a regular flight from Beirut to Varna, Bulgaria, where all 150 passengers were released.

Leaders of 14 Latin American and Caribbean nations strongly criticized the Helms-Burton Act at their regional summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The US law aims to punish foreign firms doing business in Cuba. US envoy Madeleine Albright attending the conference as an observer, played down the issue as a minor disagreement among friends.

Yugoslavia prepared a draft on how the former Yugoslavia's property should be split between it and Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Macedonia. Belgrade says the international document favors the new states. The key issue relates to about 9,000 facilities built in the new states before they declared independence that were financed by Belgrade.

Russia reportedly expelled a high-ranking Swedish diplomat earlier this year after catching his courier paying $2,000 for a doll with film of 23 classified documents tucked inside. The Swedish courier, in Russia on a business visa, and his Russian contact were detained Feb. 23 by counterintelligence agents.

Essential services were back to normal in Zimbabwe, as striking civil servants returned to work following a government assurance that it will reinstate 7,000 workers it fired two weeks ago. The strikers were also offered a 29 percent pay rise. The strike exposed divisions in the ruling party, with some senior officials supporting the strikers.

The Irish National Liberation Army said it killed a leading member and injured another man in Belfast. Hugh Torney was the leader of an INLA faction that has been fighting with other elements of the INLA since January. He was the sixth person to die in the feuding, sparked by the murder of INLA commander Gino Gallagher in January.

ETCETERAS

"It is impossible to overstate the influence of 'Gilligan's Island' on American life."

-- Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Florida's Nova Southeastern University, who has written an unusual work looking at the US legal system through the lens of the popular TV-sitcom.

The world's tiniest helicopter - the size of a toothbrush head - rose to an altitude of just over five inches on its maiden flight at the Institute of Microtechnology in Mainz, Germany. The price - $68,000 - is still full-size.

Scientists stumbled on the largest-known prime number - a whole number evenly divisible only by one and itself. Its 378,000 digits fill 12 newspaper pages in standard type. Here's the formula, courtesy of Minnesota's Cray Research: Take 2, multiply it by itself 1,257,787 times and subtract 1.

TV has always had an obsession with lawyers. Now here's a lawyer with an obsession for TV: Prof. Robert Jarvis combined his couch potato sensibilities and expertise in maritime law to write a 45-page analysis of the US legal system through the lens of "Gilligan's Island." He says if people are going to immerse themselves in TV, they might as well learn something. Besides, he says, "one would be hard-pressed to find a group of characters more in need of a lawyer."

THE DAY'S LIST

Top Movies in US, Can-ada by Per-Location Revenue, Aug. 30 to Sept. 2

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. "First Kid;" $4,491; 1,878 locations; one week.

2. "Tin Cup;" $4,271; 2,102 locations; three weeks

3. "She's the One;" $4,233; 464 locations; two weeks

4. "Emma;" $4,214; 725 locations; five weeks

5. "The Crow: City of Angels;" $4,038; 2,423 locations; one week

6. "The Trigger Effect;"$3,603; 524 locations; one week

7. "A Time to Kill;" $3,325; 2,132 locations; six weeks

8. "The Island of Dr. Moreau;" $3,169; 2,039 locations; two weeks

9. "Jack," $2,641; 2,222 locations; four weeks

10. "Independence Day," $2,523; 2,195 locations; nine weeks

- Exhibitor Relations/AP

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