News In Brief

By , Lance Carden, and Yvonne Zipp

THE US

President Clinton and Republican challenger Bob Dole were to go head-to-head in Hartford, Conn., in the first of two debates. Analysts said Dole needed a decisive victory to give him a boost in polls. Recent polls have shown him to be as many as 20 points behind the president, although he has pulled close in several target states recently.

The Supreme Court opens the 1996-97 session today with a docket ranging from whether states can ban doctor-assisted suicide to whether a sexual harassment case against Clinton can go forward while he is in office. Other cases include deciding if states may keep sexual predators locked up after they've completed prison sentences and whether states can make English the official language.

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The war on drugs lacks "true leadership" and an organized strategy, according to a secret FBI memo cited by Clinton. But Clinton says the problems predate his administration and that new drug czar Barry McCaffrey has improved government efforts - partly in response to the memo. (Related story, Page 1.) Clinton has refused Dole's and congressional Republicans' request to release the memo to lawmakers. Dole's spokesman asked: If the memo isn't critical of the president's policies, why is he "cowering behind executive privilege?"

The 104th Congress adjourned after passing legislation authorizing dozens of federal parks and land exchanges and funding the FAA for the next two years.

The US agreed to pay about $660 million - more than one-third of its UN dues, a US official said. The US owes up to $1.8 billion and Washington's delay in paying up has contributed to the UN's cash crisis. The omnibus spending bill signed by Clinton last week reportedly included $330 million for the UN's regular budget and $330 million for peace-keeping. The money is expected to be paid by January.

A 1943 anonymous letter to FBI head J. Edgar Hoover unmasking wartime Soviet spies prompting the FBI to focus on ways to combat Soviet spying, according to the intelligence agencies. The letter alleged that a Soviet husband-and-wife diplomatic team, were spies. No action was taken against Vasily Zarubin or his wife.

The number of babies born to unwed mothers dropped last year for the first time in almost 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control reported. The 4 percent drop in the out-of-wedlock birth rate was tied to a drop in the teenage birth rate - the fourth such decline since 1991.

A Los Angeles jury convicted three followers of the freemen anti-government group of all but one count of conspiracy, fraud, and money-laundering. Elizabeth Broderick, Julian Cheney, and Barry Switzer were found guilty of selling $800 million worth of "comptroller warrants" designed to look like US Treasury checks.

Putting a new wrinkle in the FBI files scandal, former White House employee Mari Anderson told Senate investigators that scores of background files on prominent Republicans were obtained after their names had been deleted from a list used to order the files. Anderson said the names were inked out in September 1993 - several months before the files were improperly obtained, Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said.

A class-action suit was filed in Los Angeles against Unocal Corp., Total, and Burma's military government for alleged human-rights abuses during construction of a natural gas pipeline. It is the second lawsuit in a month alleging Unocal knowingly cooperated with the Burmese junta.

Unemployment edged up slightly in September to 5.2 percent. Also, the stock market resumes trading today after climbing more than 50 points into record territory and flirting with the 6,000 milestone on Friday.

THE WORLD

Israeli-Palestinian talks in the Gaza Strip were expected to focus on the role of Israeli troops in the West Bank town of Hebron. In a bid to ease tensions prior to the meeting, Israel lifted a 10-day curfew on the city and pulled back tanks from other areas of the West Bank. The move came as US Secretary of State Warren Christopher flew to Israel for talks with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Also, Israeli warplanes hit guerrilla bases in southern Lebanon after an Israeli-allied militiaman was killed in ground fighting.

The Muslim and Croat members of Bosnia's joint presidency signed an oath of office in Sarajevo during a ceremony held up for hours as they waited in vain for the arrival of Bosnian Serb President Momcilo Krajisnik. Bosnian Serbs had asked for a different venue for security reasons. Krajisnik criticized the Muslim chair Alija Izetbegovic for signing an accord with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on bilateral ties without consulting the other presidents.

The Taliban militia bombarded outposts of ousted Afghan military chief Ahmad Shah Masoud in the Panjsher Valley. The Taliban asked for international aid to help rebuild Afghanistan, even as Western aid agencies prepared to appeal a Taliban ban on women workers. Many aid groups have a mandate forbidding gender discrimination.

Burma's military government released 330 followers of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but continued a clampdown on her political party, preventing the Nobel Prize-winner from speaking in public for the second straight week.

Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan continued a controversial African tour that has included stops in Libya and Nigeria. He offered to triple trade with Libya if it repaid more than $300 million owed Turkish contractors. And he dismissed as "propaganda" US allegations that Libya sponsors terrorism.

The EU, concerned at being relegated to the sidelines in the Middle East peace process, has sent Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring to the region on a peace mission of his own. In a weekend summit, EU leaders also considered ways to integrate 12 more countries into the union - most of them from Eastern Europe.

A shoulder-fired, antitank missile slammed into a Hell's Angels party in Copenhagen, killing two people and injuring 17 others. It appeared to be the latest incident in a turf war in Scandinavia between a gang of Angels' bikers and a rival Bandidos gang.

US officials in Seoul say they're trying to determine whether a man arrested in North Korea on charges of espionage is a US citizen. The Pyongyang government said Evan Carl Hunzike was caught Aug. 24 as he crossed into North Korea from China as a spy for South Korea's national security agency.

A ship of Chinese registry with 109 persons aboard is being towed to Bermuda after being found adrift in the North Atlantic. Bermuda said the vessel is suspected of trying to smuggle illegal aliens into the US. Passengers and crew reportedly have been aboard the ship since June.

Mexican voters went to the polls in the southwestern state of Guerrero. The election comes after a wave of violence between the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and mostly leftist opposition groups.

Kuwaitis begin voting today for 50 National Assembly seats in elections where security and budget reforms dominate agendas. The National Assembly is the only elected parliament in the Persian Gulf region.

ETCETERAS

''They are playing games. Shooting themselves in the foot seems to be a national talent. The ceremony is in their interest; it is their possibility for joining the world." -- EU envoy Carl Bildt, after the Bosnian Serb president skipped the swearing-in of Bosnia's joint presidency.

Prof. Robert Matthews of Aston University in England won this year's top Ig Nobel Prize for his discovery that toast always lands butter-side down. The Ig Nobels, which honor achievements that cannot - or should not - be reproduced, were awarded at Harvard University.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Nathan and Paula Zehrs won $50,000 for a 1,061-lb. gourd at the World Pumpkin Conference in Clarence, N.Y. It took 12 people to heave what was called the world's largest pumpkin onto the scales.

THE DAY'S LIST

Female Hall-of-Famers

This year's inductees into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y.:

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author whose flights with her husband, Charles, laid the groundwork for modern aviation.

Louisa May Alcott, author.

Charlotte Anne Bunch, feminist.

Frances Xavier Cabrini, first US citizen to be canonized.

Mary A. Hallaren, championed permanent status for women in the military as director of the Women's Army Corps.

Oveta Culp Hobby, first woman to attain the rank of colonel in the US armed services.

Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, founder of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Maria Goeppert Mayer, first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for physics.

Ernestine Rose, abolitionist and early women's-rights advocate.

Maria Tallchief, ballerina.

Edith Wharton, first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

- Associated Press

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