News In Brief

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The US

Residents of Ada, Minn. - the first to flee Red River flooding - began returning home. But in Grand Forks, N. D., National Guard troops kept town lights burning by sandbagging an electrical switch station. President Clinton visited the town and addressed relief workers and evacuees at a military base. He said he would ask Congress for $488 million in flood assistance and would add 53 South Dakota and 18 Minnesota counties to the list of areas eligible for aid.

Jurors return to a Denver courthouse today to hear opening statements in the Oklahoma City bombing trial. The anonymous jury of seven men and five women will determine the guilt or innocence of Timothy McVeigh, who faces the death penalty if convicted in the April 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

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The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 173 points Tuesday to 6833 - its greatest percentage gain in nearly 5-1/2 years. Analysts attributed the increase to good earnings reports and rumors of a budget accord. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund predicted a bright outlook for the world's economy in its annual report.

The Senate is due to vote today on the controversial chemical weapons treaty. Former Sen. Bob Dole joined former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell at a White House ceremony to promote the treaty on the eve of the vote. Dole moved to block the treaty during the 1996 campaign. The pact aims to eliminate poison gas worldwide in 10 years and sets up inspections and sanctions.

Whitewater prosecutors won a six-month extension to Nov. 7 of a grand jury investigation. A Little Rock., Ark., judge granted the request after prosecutors cited evidence of obstruction of justice and new information from one of the key figures in the case, James McDougal.

China protested the visit to the US of the Dalai Lama, who planned to meet with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and members of Congress today. Earlier, Clinton planned to drop in on talks between Tibet's spiritual leader and Vice President Gore. Besides talking about spiritual freedom, the Dalai Lama was expected to lobby for US help in bringing China to the negotiating table, where Tibet seeks autonomy, but not full independence.

The Clinton administration unveiled a bill that allows HUD to reduce government subsidies to landlords charging above the market rate on low-income housing. It also would attempt to cushion taxpayers against defaults on government-backed mortgages taken out by housing developments. And it would allow HUD to crack down on poor housing conditions and give it more flexibility to design innovative housing solutions.

The chief of the Los Angeles Police Department was given a $375,000 severance package in exchange for agreeing not to sue the city for refusing to hire him a second term. As the first black to become chief in the country's second-largest city, Willie Williams has been criticized for sluggish reform attempts and been reprimanded for trips to Las Vegas casinos.

Ralph Reed, director of the Christian Coalition, announced he is leaving the post to set up a political consulting firm. The new venture will work for the election of conservative candidates opposed to abortion.

Talks between General Motors and 5,400 workers at a Pontiac, Mich, plant were expected to resume today after the employees walked off the job. The plant assembles full-size pickup trucks - the company's biggest moneymakers. The workers are demanding more staff.

Alabama's National Guard began patrolling the streets of Rainsville after a tornado heavily damaged a police station and six businesses. About a dozen people were hurt.

Nearly 1 million foreigners were granted permanent residency in the US last year, reversing a four-year downward trend in legal immigration rates. The 1996 figure of 915,900 showed a 27 percent increase over the previous year. Almost half of the immigrants reside in three states: California, New York, and Texas.

The World

Security around the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, Peru, will remain heavy for at least the rest of the week, Peruvian officials said after the 126-day hostage drama there ended in a bold daylight assault. All of the hostage-takers and one of their 72 captives died in the raid, and 25 others were hurt. Japan's foreign minister flew to Lima to offer thanks for the rescue and condolences to relatives of the victims. Leftist rebel spokesmen vowed to avenge the action.

Zairean rebel leaders refused permission for UN aid representatives to visit Hutu refugee camps for the third consecutive day, despite reports that harassment by local residents had emptied them. The UN estimated at least 60,000 refugees from Rwanda were beyond its reach because of the rebels' decision. Fighting between the mostly Tutsi rebels and exiled Rwandan Hutu soldiers using the camps as cover was reported in the area earlier this week.

Communist North Korea call-ed high-ranking defector Hwang Jang Yop a "mentally deranged" traitor and warned of war against rival South Korea if he is used for propaganda purposes. The Pyongyang government's remarks were its first public reaction to Hwang's arrival in South Korea. The South is expected to question him intensively for details of North Korea's military and economic secrets.

NASA officials said they were unaware of any plans to abandon the Russian space station Mir because of leaking anti-freeze. But in Moscow, news agencies reported that the last in a series of leaks has defied attempts by the Russian-American crew to fix it and that fumes had reached the maximum acceptable concentration for humans. Mir, now in its 11th year of service, was designed to last only five years.

Algerian forces clamped a tight guard around a village where attackers killed 93 people - almost half of them women and girls. Another 25 villagers were hurt. It was believed to be the worst single incident of violence in an antigovernment campaign that has taken at least 60,000 lives since 1992. Analysts in Algiers, the capital, said the frequency and savagery of the attacks appears to have increased since national elections were announced for June 5.

Britain's ruling Conservative Party sought new campaign momentum from a poll that showed it closing the popularity gap against the rival Labour Party. The survey said Labour's once-huge lead had shrunk to five percentage points - its smallest since November 1993 - with the election eight days away. Labour leaders dismissed the poll as one of many.

The command ship for the multinational protection force in Albania was freed and inspected for damage after running aground off the port of Vlora. Stormy seas had pushed the Italian cruiser/helicopter carrier Vittorio Veneto onto a sandbar. No injuries were reported.

The Manitoba government ordered the evacuation of the entire population of the Red River valley as northward-flowing flood waters closed in on Canada. Some 17,000 people live in the area. Manitoba communities along the river are protected by dikes, but officials worried that lakes spawned by the river would cut off all access. A 1950 flood in southern Manitoba caused a lake of 700 square miles.

Five faction leaders from southern Sudan signed a peace agreement with the government in Khartoum and urged the region's main rebel chief, John Garang, to do the same. But Gar-ang, who commands the Sudan People's Liberation Army, said the military regime merely had made a deal "with itself." His forces have done most of the fighting since civil war broke out in 1983. President Omar el-Bashir celebrated the treaty at a rally in the capital and pledged that his government would "rebuild" the impoverished south.

Etceteras

"We have given an example to the international community,

which should not allow terrorist blackmail."

- President Alberto Fujimori of Peru, after his forces abruptly ended the country's four-month hostage crisis .

Since this is National Coin Week, it only made - uh - cents to some Texans to promote their hobby by putting valuable pieces of change back into circulation. Members of the Fort Worth Coin Club gave up 2,500 of them from their personal collections. The prize: a 1914-D penny, now worth $85.

Slightly heavier metal is back in circulation in Smith County, Texas. Under a surplus equipment program, the federal government turn-ed over two 13-ton armored personnel carriers from the 1991 Gulf war to the sheriff's department - minus the mortar launchers they originally carried.

The Day's List

Competitors Named For Cannes Film Festival

The competition phase of the glittering festival, in its 50th year, will feature the following titles and stars:

"The Ice Storm" Ang Lee Taiwan

"Il Principe di Hombourg" Marco Bellochio Italy

"The Fifth Element" Luc Besson France

"Call it Love" Nick Cassavetes US

"The Brave," Johnny Depp US

"The Sweet Hereafter" Atom Egoyan Canada

"Funny Games" Michael Haneke Austria

L.A. Confidential" Curtis Hanson US

"La Femme Dfendue" Philippe Harel France

"Unagi" Shohei Imamura Japan

"Assassins" Matthieu Kassovitz France

"The Well" Samantha Lang Australia

"Nil by Mouth" Gary Oldman Britain

"Kini et Adams," Idriss Oudraogo Burkina Faso

"Western" Manuel Poirier France

"La Tregua" Francesco Rosi Italy

"Happy Together" Wong Kar-Wai Hong Kong

"The End of Violence" Wim Wenders Germany

"Welcome to Sarajevo" Michael Winterbottom Britain

"Keep Cool" Zhang Yimou China

- Associated Press

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