News In Brief

By , Robert Kilborn, and Yvonne Zipp

THE US

Four new polls gave President Clinton a commanding lead of 15 to 24 percentage points over GOP challenger Bob Dole. An ABC News survey found 53 percent of the electorate favoring Clinton, 38 percent Dole. A Harris poll had the president leading 54 to 36 percent. A CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll put the figures at 55 and 34 percent. And a CBS-Times survey found 58 percent favoring Clinton, 34 percent Dole.

The president called for the expansion of NATO by making a number of former Soviet bloc nations NATO members by 1999. The call came during a speech in Detroit. Dole accused Clinton of "foot-dragging," on NATO expansion. He said some nations should be added by 1998.

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Dole was campaigning in Michigan at the end of a scheduled two-day bus tour. He touted his economic plan and made passing references to ethical lapses in the White House and in Democratic fund-raising.

Nazi leaders hoped their massive transfer of funds and documents into Switzerland toward the end of WWII would help preserve the Nazi movement, a newly released document indicated. The two-page memo from the Office of Strategic Services, precursor to the CIA, is dated May 9, 1945. It was released by the World Jewish Congress.

Damage from multiple wildfires in southern California continued to rise. More than 90 homes have been damaged or destroyed and more than 18,000 acres scorched. Fires have been whipped by winds gusting to 70 miles an hour. Malibu and Carlsbad were among towns suffering the most damage.

States of emergency remained in effect for parts of Maine, Massachusetts, and all of New Hampshire after a storm dumped 18 inches of rain in some areas. It damaged roads and bridges, caused much flooding, and left more than 1,000 people without drinking water.

US clothing companies are responding to pressure to reduce child labor in foreign plants, Labor Secretary Robert Reich said. He stressed the need for further progress after US officials visited US plants in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, and the Philippines. A Labor Department poll of 48 large US apparel importers found 36 had adopted relevant codes of conduct. Three did not reply.

Opening statements are to begin today in Santa Monica, Calif., in the wrongful death lawsuit against O.J. Simpson. Eight alternates were sworn in to back up 12 jurors already seated. A year ago in criminal court, Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. But Simpson could be forced to pay damages if found responsible for the murders in civil court.

Computer price scanners at checkout counters are mostly accurate and mistakes tend to favor consumers, the Federal Trade Commission said. After purchases at 294 food, discount, home, drug, and department stores, inspectors found they were overcharged 2.24 percent of the time and undercharged 2.58 percent of the time.

The Social Security Administration should do more to help disabled people return to work, a congressional report said. The General Accounting Office estimated $3 billion could be saved if 1 percent of 6.6 million working-age people receiving disability benefits returned to work. A Social Security spokeswoman agreed with the general conclusions of the study.

A start-up company announced a computer chip more than twice as fast as current chips. Exponential Technology said it will offer the new chip, which runs Macintosh software at up to 533 megahertz, in volume next spring. Macs would have to be changed to accommodate the new chip.

THE WORLD

Municipal elections in Bosnia will be postponed again because they cannot be held fairly, senior Western officials said. Balloting for local councils had been rescheduled from September to Nov. 23-24 after ethnic factions in key towns inflated voter rolls with the names of their supporters. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which organizes the voting, said it will likely be scheduled for next May.

Special US envoy Dennis Ross changed his mind and remained in Jerusalem in hopes of prodding Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to reach a settlement on withdrawing Israeli troops from the tense West Bank city of Hebron. Ross had threatened to return home if the two parties did not try harder to complete a deal on the redeployment. As talks continued, however, two Palestinians died in separate flareups of violence in the West Bank.

French President Jacques Chirac, on a state visit to Jerusalem, protested to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that security officers would not allow him to greet Palestinian passersby on a walking tour of the city. Chirac angered Israel with a proposal that the EU become a cosponsor of the Middle East peace process.

The worsening situation in eastern Zaire could soon become a "humanitarian disaster," the UN's refugee agency warned. Intensified fighting between Zairean troops and ethnic Tutsi rebels drove an estimated 220,000 Hutu refugees from camps near the town of Uvira, and all supply roads to the area were cut. The UN evacuated 48 aid workers trapped by the fighting and said they would not return until security improved.

Murdering anti-apartheid activists in the 1980s "was considered essential," a former South African security official told the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Brig. Gen. Jack Cronje testified that groups such as the African National Congress were waging the equivalent of guerrilla war against the all-white government. and that arresting and detaining their members "was not enough." Cronje and four other former security officials have asked for amnesty for their involvement in 40 such murders.

Swiss citizens who lost property in the communist takeover of Poland after World War II were compensated from the unclaimed assets of Jewish Holocaust victims, the Swiss government admitted. The assets were deposited in Swiss banks. Switzerland also had compensation accords with other communist regimes in Eastern Europe, and the Foreign Ministry said it was checking whether Jewish assets were diverted in those cases. Jewish groups are demanding that Swiss banks pay them millions of dollars in restitution.

Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega refused to accept the results of Nicaragua's presidential election and demanded a recount of the votes. Elections officials said they were willing to comply once the official count was complete. Ortega trailed former Managua mayor Arnoldo leman by 48.5 percent to 38.9 percent, with more than half the votes counted. But he suggested that telegrams conveying local results to the national election headquarters had been altered.

Employers in Saudi Arabia must hire hundreds of thousands more of the country's citizens by the year 2000, King Fahd announced. Fahd told his cabinet that private-sector companies must increase the number of Saudis on their payrolls by 5 percent a year or face sanctions. About 5 million foreign nationals now work in the oil-rich kingdom - almost 320,000 of whom are to be replaced by Saudi citizens.

ETCETERAS

"There are no conquerors or conquered. Only the people have won."

- Arnoldo leman, claiming victory over Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua's presidential election.

Shunned by galleries, a publicity-hungry artist hung one of his own paintings in Madrid's famous Prado museum. Victor Ruiz Roizo used superglue to stick his canvas to the wall of a gallery of 17th-century art. It hung for four days amid Rembrandts and other masters, until a visitor pointed it out to a security guard.

Georgia Gov. Zell Miller wants 60,000 pre-kindergartners to "think they can." Using state lottery money, he had a copy of "The Little Engine That Could" mailed to each of the children. Each copy contains a message from Miller, whose mother read the story to him when he was a child.

Meghan Heaney-Grier can really hold her breath. The fashion model broke the US women's free-diving record - plunging 155 feet on a single breath off the Florida Keys. She also set her record in style - wearing a bright pink wet suit.

In the market for a castle, cheap? Germany's Brandenburg state has a new catalog of castles available to buyers willing to restore its crumbling landmarks. Bids as low as one mark (65 cents) will be considered.

THE DAY'S LIST

Legalized Gambling Issues on the Ballot

Voters in at least eight states will be asked to decide referenda on some form of legal gambling Nov. 5:

Arizona has a proposal to allow expanded gambling compacts with native American tribes.

Arkansas voters face proposals on casinos, a state lottery, and charitable bingo.

Colorado's proposal is for a casino in the town of Trinidad.

Louisiana will consider, on a parish basis, whether to shut down legal gambling.

Michigan asks whether Detroit ought to be allowed up to three casinos.

Nebraska will decide whether to legalize off-track betting.

Ohio is asking whether eight cities may have floating casinos.

Washington Indian tribes that operate casinos seek approval to add slot machines.

- Associated Press

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