News In Brief

THE US

Ross Perot "is in the race to stay," according to Perot's spokeswoman. She was responding to GOP nominee Bob Dole's efforts to persuade the Reform Party candidate to drop out of the race and endorse the Republican ticket. A Perot endorsement could swing some Southern states in Dole's favor. Meanwhile, Dole focused on conservative themes such as balancing the budget, and his opposition to flag burning and late-term abortion while stumping in Georgia.

President Clinton declared a state of emergency in California's Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties in response to wildfires that have burned more than 37,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes. Waning winds allowed firefighters to contain several blazes, including one in Carlsbad. But Santa Ana winds picked up again and are expected to reach 60 m.p.h. this weekend.

Federal aid will also become available to flood victims in five eastern Massachusetts counties, where damage estimates from extreme storms approached $100 million. Maine's Gov. Angus King asked Clinton for disaster-area designation for two Maine counties, where the storm dumped as much as 18 inches of rain. New Englanders expressed relief as tap water flowed freely, highways reopened, and sunshine returned to some states after record floods.

Immigration officials fail to prosecute, deport, or flag the computer files of illegal immigrants who buy false IDs or bribe government officials for the documents, a Justice Department report says. Investigators found the Immigration and Naturalization Service doesn't stop offenders from obtaining federal benefits such as welfare, citizenship, and permission to work. They examined 36 case files and more than 2,400 illegal immigrants who benefited from such schemes.

A federal judge ordered the FBI to make public its reasons for targeting a former security guard as a suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing investigation. Judge J. Owen Forrester described Richard Jewell as a "former suspect." Jewell's defense lawyers said the ruling demonstrates his innocence, although he has not been exonerated by federal investigators.

Families of 11 people injected with radioactive material without their knowledge as part of government cold-war-era experiments would receive $4.8 million in a settlement, The Miami Herald reported. And Energy Department officials would personally apologize to the families as part of the settlement, which must be approved by a federal court in New York. The government sponsored thousands of human radiation experiments between 1944 and 1974 that included injecting plutonium into hospital patients.

Aviation investigators are planning to blow up the center fuel tank of a scrapped Boeing 747 in the next few weeks for clues to TWA Flight 800's explosion, sources say. And federal officials are considering a safety technique proposed 24 years ago aimed at preventing fuel tank explosions, The New York Times reported. It involves pumping inert gases, such as nitrogen, into empty spaces in fuel tanks to get rid of explosive vapors.

Welfare recipients are no more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than the general population, according to a National Institutes of Health study. The results contradict a Columbia University study that concluded 20 percent of mothers on welfare are alcoholics or use illegal drugs. Do welfare fathers ignore their children? Not according to a separate, federally funded, six-year study that found 70 percent of welfare fathers have had contact with their children during the past year. Some 35 percent visit once a month or more.

Remember to set your clocks back. Daylight saving time ends 2 a.m. Sunday.

THE WORLD

Israeli troops sealed the West Bank and Gaza after reports that Palestinian militants were planning a new round of suicide attacks in Israeli cities. Police said they had precise warnings that Islamic Jihad would try to avenge the assassination of its leader a year ago. Police wounded one Palestinian who walked away from a checkpoint after refusing to show his identity card.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned US President Clinton to complain of Palestinian stalling tactics in talks on redeploying troops from the West Bank city of Hebron. Netanyahu accused Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat of blocking progress in the negotiations, which were to resume after memorial services marking the first anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination. Arafat said the two sides were still well apart on some issues. Clinton committed special US envoy Dennis Ross to a longer stay in the region to facilitate the talks.

Rabin was remembered across Israel despite Netanyahu's refusal to declare a national day of mourning. Rabin was murdered by a fellow Israeli opposed to the peace process last Nov. 4, but the memorial was staged according to the Hebrew calendar.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his Ukranian counterpart said they agreed to divide the former Soviet Black Sea fleet, long a bone of contention between their two countries. The move paves the way for a new comprehensive political treaty. The fleet is based at Sevastopol, a Ukranian port that is heavily populated by ethnic Russians.

Iraq said it would make no further concessions on its long-delayed oil-for-food deal with the UN until a formula is in place that fixes the selling price. Iraq submitted a pricing proposal last month, but it is being held up by the US, which says more study is needed. As long as the delay continues, Iraqi officials said, there would be no agreement on how many UN observers may oversee implementation of the oil sales.

US airmen enforcing the no fly zone over southern Iraq moved to a new base in neighboring Saudi Arabia, a spokesman said. The remote site, 60 miles from Riyadh, the capital, is considered more secure than the complex attacked in a truck bombing last June that killed 19 airmen. A Lebanese newspaper reported Saudi authorities had arrested 11 suspected saboteurs in the case.

The Vatican demanded that Western governments adopt more compassionate policies toward the world's poorest countries and acknowledge a sufficiency of food and nutrition as a human right. In an 80-page document, the Vatican blamed the West for what it called an imbalance in food distribution. The document touched only lightly on population control, considered a likely hot-button issue at next month's UN-sponsored World Food Conference.

By a margin of eight votes, the lower house of Poland's parliament defied the Vatican and approved legislation that eases the country's strict abortion rules. It allows women to terminate pregnancies if they are in financial need or feel emotionally unprepared to carry a child to term. As lawmakers deliberated, 40,000 demonstrators massed outside. The upper house of parliament defeated the same bill two weeks ago.

What is being called history's largest seizure of illegal drugs at sea was reported by Colombian officials. They said agents from their anti-drug unit, the US, and Ecuador confiscated seven tons of cocaine from a fishing boat that had left the Pacific coast port of Buenaventura. Five people aboard the boat were arrested. The cocaine - with an estimated street value of $140 million - was said to be bound for Manzanillo, Mexico, via Ecuador.

ETCETERAS

"I realized we were ants shooting marbles at these things. The ground fire crew put up a wall of water that I didn't think was humanly possible. And the airlift bombed it like a war zone."

-- Nicholas Horvatich, a Malibu, Calif., resident on firefighters' efforts to contain a wildfire that burned 15,000 acres.

The "Treskilling Yellow," The world's most valuable postage stamp, will go on sale in Zurich next month, an auction house announced. The one-of-a-kind, orange/yellow stamp was rescued by a Swedish schoolboy in 1885 from his grandmother's trash. "Guinness Book of World Records" called it the most valuable object of any type by weight, volume, and density, since it fetched more than $1.2 million in 1990.

Considering that she's a great-grandmother, Geneva Steele of Orem, Utah, finds a lot of unusual correspondence in her mail - like orders for steel reinforcing rods and tax bills for tens of thousands of dollars. That's because Orem has another addressee by the same name, and it's a mill. The other Geneva Steel (without a final "e") asked her to consider changing her name, but she refuses. Oh, and the unusual mail? She forwards it.

John Blaha left home in Texas on an extended trip before absentee ballots were mailed, so he didn't get one. But he still wants to vote in next month's election. That's a problem, because Blaha is the US astronaut currently aboard Mir, the orbiting Russian space station. NASA says he could indicate his choices electronically and it would transmit them to election officials. But those officials say the state must first approve an exception to the election code.

THE DAY'S LIST

Preferred TV Viewing For the Younger Set

TV Guide's picks for the top10 best new children's TV shows:

1. Superman (WB)

2. Pappyland (The Learning Channel)

3. Dragon Ball Z (syndicated)

4. Brand Spanking New Doug (ABC)

5. Bailey Kipper's P.O.V. (CBS)

6. Hey Arnold! (Nickelodeon)

7. Arthur (PBS)

8. Where in Time is Carmen San Diego? (PBS)

9. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (ABC)

10. Kablam! (Nickelodeon)

- TV Guide

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