News In Brief

The US

Most Americans don't believe President Clinton or Vice President Gore broke the law to raise campaign cash, an Associated Press poll indicated. Only 27 percent of respondents said Clinton did something illegal to finance his 1996 campaign, and only 22 percent said Gore broke the law. Forty-three percent said the president has engaged in an illegal coverup of the Whitewater affair, but 35 percent said he hasn't. Two-thirds said both major parties are guilty of granting special access to big donors and lobbyists.

The space shuttle Atlantis rocketed from its Florida launch pad and headed for Russia's Mir space station. The $2 billion spaceship, carrying a seven-member multinational crew, was scheduled to dock with the orbiting space outpost tonight. Atlantis is to pick up Navy Capt. Jerry Linenger, who has been aboard Mir since January, and drop off his replacement, Michael Foale.

The House passed, 293-to-132, a bill that would overhaul public housing policy. It allows up to 65 percent of new subsidized tenants to be among the "working poor" who earn up to 80 percent of a local area's median income. Currently, 75 percent must earn no more than 30 percent of local median income. Republicans say mixing incomes will provide needed role models for children. Democrats who say it shuts out the needy, favor an alternative Senate bill.

A sharp drop in minority admissions was reported by the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall law school. In its first class unaffected by affirmative action, the school said 14 black students were admitted for this fall's entering class, down from 75 students last year. Hispanic and Puerto Rican admissions dropped to 16 from 34; Native Americans dropped from nine to two. A University of California board of regents decision to stop using affirmative action in admissions took effect this year at Boalt.

A federal judge in Miami temporarily blocked deportation of 30,000 to 40,000 Nicaraguan nationals. The ruling allows up to 40,000 of the estimated 200,000 Nicaraguans in south Florida to continue pursuing permanent residency. They had faced possible deportation under a new law that took effect April 1. A program begun in the Reagan administration that granted tens of thousands of Nicaraguans special status while they pursued residency, is ending. Many have received deportation notices.

The Senate unanimously ratified changes in a 1990 conventional forces treaty, allowing Russia greater flexibility in moving tanks and armored vehicles to its northern and southern flanks. Despite strong objections from the White House, the Senate added a requirement that expansion of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty to cover post-cold war successors to the former Soviet Union must have its approval.

The executive panel of the US Olympic Committee was expected to vote against pursuing the 2008 Summer Games. Instead, it was expected to recommend that the US try to stage the Pan American Games in 2007 and the Olympics in 2012. Observers said a recommendation not to pursue the 2008 Games almost certainly would end the hopes of eight cities - Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington - to host the 2008 Games.

Consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in April as declining energy and food costs helped offset the largest jump in clothing costs in four years and increases in other items, the Labor Department said. The small increase held the inflation rate to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of just 1.5 percent for the first four months of the year.

The Senate neared a showdown on rival late-term abortion bills. The GOP version bans a procedure that critics call "partial-birth abortions" except when a woman's life is in danger. The Democratic alternative bans a variety of procedures after a fetus is viable outside the womb, but allows exemptions when pregnancy poses risk of "grievous injury" to the woman. And it would not pre-empt any existing state laws.

Defense Secretary William Cohen gave Congress a preview of a six-month review of strategy, weapons, and forces. He met at the Pentagon with top House and Senate members in advance of Monday's scheduled public release of the report.

The World

Mediators were trying again to build momentum for peace talks on Zaire after rebel leader Laurent Kabila failed to attend a meeting with President Mobutu aboard a ship anchored off Congo. Mobutu returned home to Kinshasa as rebels were reported to be within 60 miles of the city. Meanwhile, the US told all remaining Americans in Zaire to leave as soon as possible. In Nairobi, a Hutu exile group called for an international investigation of the alleged killing and disappearance of Rwandan refugees at the hands of Kabila's forces in eastern Zaire.

US envoy Dennis Ross could only describe the latest discussions between Israeli and Palestinian representatives as "useful" after they met at the home of American Ambassador Martin Indyk. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said the talks could be a basis for more meetings. But a senior Palestinian official left the discussion saying "I never felt so far away from being partners" with Israel in the peace process.

Turkish soldiers, supported by tanks and air power, pounded Kurdish rebel camps on Day 2 of their assault in the mountains of northern Iraq. Accurate accounts of the mission were not possible because journalists were barred from the area. Turkish authorities said at least 30 separatists were killed.

Visiting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Shalikashvili, was told by Chinese officials that the US should stop selling advanced weapons to Taiwan if it wants "to maintain the trend of improving ties." Shali-kashvili had said earlier that the US wanted more exchanges and cooperative agreements with China. The Beijing government specifically objected to the sale of missiles and F-16 jets to Taiwan.

An attack timed for the start of national election campaigning in Algeria left 30 rural villagers dead - most of them women and children, security sources said. Suspicion fell on the Armed Islamic Group, the radical fundamentalists who have been waging a five-year war against Algeria's military-backed government and who have claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on rural villages. Elections for parliament are scheduled for June 5, but the fundamentalists are banned from participating.

A Saudi terrorist suspect was ordered to be deported as a security threat by Canadian authorities. Hani al-Sayegh is accused of helping to carry out the bombing last June that killed 19 Americans at a military housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Officials said a decision on where to send him will be reach-ed later. Both the US and his home country want him for questioning in the case.

In a move considered likely to influence the search for peace in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister John Bruton announced new elections for parliament in the neighboring Republic of Ireland. Bruton, whose Fine Gael coalition government has been in power for almost 2-1/2 years, trails his opponents in opinion polls by as many as 15 points. Rivals criticize his approach to the peace process in Northern Ireland as being too closely link-ed to Britain's. The vote was set for June 6.

An estimated 10,000 protesters converged on Bucharest, Romania, for the largest antigovernment rally since ex-commun- ists were voted out of power last year. The protesters demanded income-tax cuts and retraining for workers who lose their jobs under the government's plan to restructure industry. The average Romanian earns $60 a month.

UN military observers from 15 countries finished their mission in Guatemala, turning in weapons collected from former rebels in a demobilization program. In Guatemala City, the mission commander said rebels had handed over more arms and ammunition than they admitted to having when the program began. The UN troops are expected to leave later this month.

Etceteras

"We're on our way!"

- Atlantis commander Charles Precourt, after the US shuttle lifted off for its trip to the Russian space station, Mir.

The US Navy finally is doing something about the agony of de-feet. Ill-fitting boots that have tried the soles of recruits for 40 years are being deep-sixed for new ones that have padded insoles, cushioning around the ankle, and special models for women. Taxpayers will shoulder the price of the swabbies' comfort. The new boots cost $55 a pair, about $15 more than the old ones.

Kangaroos aren't native to Sweden, so no one believed Vivi Berglund, who lives in rural Hagfors, when she said one had bounded off with her sunflower seeds. But then another woman spotted a 'roo too; and now a forest ranger has confirmed some kangaroo tracks. As there have been no reports of missing marsupials, authorities are stumped.

The highway department in Plympton, Mass., has what you might call a wrenching problem: no tools. Surveyor Edward Fillion, who had supplied all its tools, is retiring. He offered to sell but was told they had to be bought through competitive bids. However it obtains its tools, Plympton will need someplace to put them too. Fillion also owns the tool chests and the barn that the department uses as its headquarters.

The Day's List

Industries With Highest Per-Employee Revenues

In its latest ranking of the 500 largest US companies, Fortune magazine also calculated which industries generate the highest average revenues per worker. The top 12 and their 1996 figures:

1. Pipelines $1,507,360

2. Wholesalers 900,517

3. Securities 842,812

4. Petroleum refining 812,156

5. Insurance (life, health) 551,852

6. Insurance (property, casualty) 511,572

7. Gas, electric utilities 441,791

8. Savings institutions 402,989

9. Diversified financials 400,492

10. Health care 354,973

11. Chemicals 332,543

12. Computers, office equipment 317,896

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