News In Brief

THE US

During a campaign swing through Michigan, President Clinton lauded a 9 percent drop in violent crime from 1994 to 1995. But Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole asserted at a political rally in San Diego that the improvement was entirely at the state level. According to preliminary estimates released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crimes dropped by 1 million. Criminologists attribute the improvement to a strong economy and an aging population.

Reform Party candidate Ross Perot is suing for an invite to upcoming presidential debates. A bipartisan commission recommended he and running mate Pat Choate be excluded because they haven't got a "realistic" shot at winning the election. Meanwhile, Clinton and Dole were to resume haggling over the dates and details of the debates - including Clinton's insistence Perot be allowed to participate.

Clinton planned to stand in the same spot as President Theodore Roosevelt, with the Grand Canyon in Arizona as a backdrop, to announce the safeguarding of 1.7 to 1.8 million acres of federally owned desert in Utah. The plan includes preservation of the Grand Staircase adjacent to Bryce Canyon National Park and the Kaiparowits Plateau near Capitol Reef National Park, according to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

GOP lawmakers are considering dropping an amendment to a bill to curb illegal immigration that would bar children of illegal immigrants from public school, Senate majority leader Trent Lott said. Also, Senate Republicans are proposing $2.3 billion more for schools in an attempt to deny Democrats an election-year advantage on education.

Defense Secretary William Perry said he must shoulder the blame for the bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that killed 19 US servicemen. Perry said he - not top commanders - is responsible for any failure of leadership. He also insisted the US must maintain a large presence in the Persian Gulf to protect its vital interests as 3,000 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, departed for the region.

Spiro Agnew, President Nixon's vice president known for his strident conservatism before resigning in disgrace, died in Annapolis, Md. Agnew was known for his colorful criticisms of liberals, the news media, and anti-war protesters. But his meteoric rise ended when he pleaded no contest to income-tax evasion and resigned in 1973.

The US trade deficit reached an eight-year high in July, the Commerce Department said. A surge in Japanese imports, Chinese toys, and foreign oil pushed the deficit to $11.7 billion - 43 percent higher than an $8.2 billion June imbalance.

The civil trial of O.J. Simpson officially began in Santa Monica, Calif. Jury selection for the wrongful death trial is expected to take several weeks, and was scheduled to begin after a last-minute evidence hearing. Also, an appellate court agreed with Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki's decision to ban electronic broadcasts but ordered him to allow a pressroom audio feed.

California Gov. Pete Wilson signed a bill to force repeat child molesters to take injections to lower their sex drives. The law takes effect Jan. 1. Similar efforts failed this year in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Texas.

A grand jury indicted Tyson Foods' lobbyist Jack Williams on charges that he lied to federal investigators about gifts to former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy and his girlfriend.

The Army moved to discharge a black sergeant for allegedly painting swastikas on barracks doors at Fort Bragg, N.C., in July.

The premiere of "Cosby" on CBS had the best rating of any 8 p.m. debut in 12 years. About 16.8 million homes tuned in for Bill Cosby's return to prime time. The last show with a bigger premiere was "The Cosby Show" on NBC in 1984.

THE WORLD

Palestinian President Arafat, schedule to meet in Gaza with Israeli Defense Chief Yitzak Mordechai, planned to urge Israel to carry out a troop redeployment in the West Bank town of Hebron, open the West Bank and Gaza, and stop expanding Jewish settlements. Arafat criticized Mordechai's approval to build an additional 1,800 housing units in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Arafat also planned to meet with US peace envoy Dennis Ross. And Syria shifted troops closer to Israeli-controlled territory in Lebanon, a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said was intended to pressure Israel to resume negotiations on Syrian terms.

Bosnia's Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic narrowly defeated Serb Momcilo Krajisnik to become the head of Bosnia's new three-man presidency. Izetbegovic received 729,034 votes, Krajisnik 690,373, and Croat Kresimir Zubak 342,007 in Saturday's ballot. Izetbegovic is the only president of the three who favors a unified Bosnian federation. International officials will turn to him as head president as they try to make Bosnia's reconstruction and government work.

The Iraqi military resumed tracking allied warplanes patrolling the no-fly zone as the US prepared to deploy 3,500 additional troops to Kuwait. Also, the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Masoud Barzani, was expected to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller and US undersecretary of State Robert Pelletreau in Ankara, Turkey. Barzani has said his deal with Saddam Hussein was temporary, and he was forced to turn to Baghdad after his rival, Jalal Talabani, allied with Iran.

Thailand's parliament began a long-awaited no-confidence debate against Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-Archa. Opposition leaders say he spent 14 months in office lining his own pockets. Banharn, who is accused of corruption and mismanaging the economy, denies the allegations.

A North Korean infiltrator was captured and eight others remained at large after their submarine ran aground on a reef off Kangnung, 90 miles northeast of Seoul, South Korean defense officials said. Earlier, 11 infiltrators were found dead in an apparent suicide. The infiltration, the first in a year, was certain to further strain relations between the two Koreas, analysts said.

Russian President Yeltsin will hand over control of the "nuclear button" to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin during his upcoming surgery, the Kremlin said. And Chernomyrdin was to join talks in Chechnya with separatists as the two sides try to resolve snags in the peace process.

Afghan government forces and rebel Taleban militia got into a rocket duel on the outskirts of Kabul. At least five civilians were killed and 15 wounded during the shelling. The attack comes a week after the Taleban, a militant group of former religious students, captured the strategic town of Jalalabad. Also, the government accused Pakistan of supporting the Taleban.

A French court ordered war-crimes suspect Maurice Papon to stand trial for the deaths of 1,690 Jews by ordering their deportation to Nazi war camps. He is the last Frenchman charged with crimes against humanity committed during World War II.

A dissident Khmer Rouge faction is demanding several top military posts and control of the gem-rich region in which it operates as terms of its surrender to the Cambodian government and integration into the Army.

ETCETERAS

"This is not just a violation of signed accords, but time bombs and mines planted in the path of anyone who dares to pursue the peace process.

-- Chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat, on an Israeli plan to build 1,800 more homes in the West Bank.

Citizen's arrest! Police in Piqua, Ohio, outfitted members of the community with radar guns to clock speeders. One resident, Julie Waterman, nabs speeders from her front porch. Offenders get warning letters rather than tickets. The idea is to keep drivers guessing and cautious - you never know who's watching and clocking from the sidelines.

Pennsylvanian Carol Hayman's bathroom was invaded by a hygienic groundhog. When someone turned on the water, Hayman opened her bathroom door to discover a furry guest sitting in the sink with a toothbrush.

One of comic book's longest courtships is finally over: Superman and Lois Lane are tying the knot in October - on TV and in print. They've been dating since 1938, and became engaged six years ago.

THE DAY'S LIST

An Auction Fit for a King

Some 250 pieces of memorabilia of the late actor Yul Brynner drew bids totaling more than $750,000 during an auction in Paris. Here a sampling:

Purple velour vest from "The King and I" play $2,800

Ticket signed by Brynner and Cecil B. de Mille $4,000

Pair of Mexican boots from "The Magnificent Seven" $6,400

Colt revolver, holster from "The Magnificent Seven" $11,600

Silk costume from "The King and I" movie $11,900

Cowboy hat worn in "The Magnificent Seven" $15,000

- Associated Press

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