News In Brief

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The US

Paula Jones can pursue her sexual-harassment case against President Clinton while he is in office, the Supreme Court ruled. Jones claims then-governor Clinton propositioned her while she was a state employee. He denies it. The court also said landowners can seek payment for not being allowed to build on their land. The decision stems from Nevada's and California's efforts to block a woman from building on her land for environmental reasons.

AT&T and SBC Communications are discussing a $50 billion merger, the Wall Street Journal said. A deal between the communications giants would be the biggest ever, giving them 60 percent of the $80-billion long-distance market. But regulators could balk on antitrust grounds.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Consumer confidence has risen to a 28-year high, the Conference Board said. Its index jumped 8.6 points to 127.1 in May. The survey queries 5,000 households about job availability, home-buying plans, and more.

Sales of previously owned homes fell 2.4 percent, the second monthly decline in a row, the National Association of Realtors said. But sales are just below record levels set in 1996.

This summer's job market will be the hottest since 1988, according to the temporary-employment firm Manpower Inc. Thirty percent of 30,000 firms it surveyed plan to expand their work force. Only seven percent will downsize. Construction firms are the best bet for job-seekers.

Netscape and other firms are aiming to protect Internet surfers' privacy with a new software standard. It would stop personal computers from automatically sending personal data to Web-site operators. Supporters hope it will boost consumer confidence - and Web commerce. The idea has broad support, although Microsoft hasn't weighed in.

The wolves in Yellowstone have gone forth and multiplied - like crazy. Thirty-one were transplanted there in 1995 and '96. This spring they've produced 11 litters - some 47 pups. Supporters are thrilled. Ranchers worry the growing population threatens livestock.

Canada detained three US salmon-fishing boats and claimed the ships violated regulations. But those regulations haven't been enforced in over a year. Talks over divvying up salmon stocks between the US and Canada broke off last week.

Four twisters touched down in east-central Oklahoma. There were no injuries. In Preston, 15 people rode out a storm in a convenience store's walk-in cooler. Glenda Jimsey, the store's clerk, kept ushering shelter-seekers into the refrigerator. "I figured it was the safest place," she said.

Detroit's Red Wings will now face Philadelphia's Flyers for the Stanley Cup after beating the Colorado Avalanche in Detroit 3-1. Detroit hasn't won hockey's top prize since 1955, the NHL's longest championship drought.

Miami Heat coach Pat Riley will try to spur his team to beat the Chicago Bulls again tonight in Chicago. In Miami, Alonzo Mourning led the Heat to a 87-80 win, putting basketball's Eastern Conference Finals at 3-1. Heading into last night's game, the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz were tied 2-2.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush failed to cut residents' taxes by about $500 per year. He couldn't get legislators to agree on his plan before their adjournment until 1999 - after his first term ends. The plan was seen as a ticket to continued popularity - and perhaps The White House.

A blind lawyer is to be nominated to a federal judgeship. New York's Sen. Alphonse D'Amato said he will recommend Richard Casey, a former federal prosecutor, to the federal bench in New York. He would be the first blind person appointed.

The nation's only degree program in community service sent its first graduates into the world. Seven students from Providence College's Feinstein Institute for Public Service in Rhode Island aim to boost volunteerism, especially in corporate America.

FCC Chairman Reed Hundt is expected to step down. Known for bold steps to reform the telecommunications industry, Hundt is expected to stay until a successor is found.

The World

President Clinton planned to meet European leaders at The Hague in the Netherlands today to mark the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, the US program that helped rebuild Europe after World War II. Clinton heads to London tomorrow to meet with new premier Tony Blair.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a historic security agreement with Clinton and 15 NATO allies in Paris and pledged to no longer aim nuclear weapons at NATO nations. The accord opens new opportunities for settling crises, reducing weapons of mass destruction, and deflecting threats to European security, he said.

Iran's president-elect said he expects no major changes in the country's unfriendly relations with the US. Earlier, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the US would take a "wait and see" approach to Mohammed Khatemi's leadership. The Iranian government needs to allay US concerns that it is sponsoring terrorism and trying to acquire nuclear and chemical weapons, she said. Khatemi also said the Islamic republic might get its first woman minister.

Turkey's military reportedly expelled 141 pro-Islamic officers and 20 others considered leftist or sympathetic toward rebel Kurds, Ankara newspapers reported. Also, Turkish planes continued to bomb Kurdish rebels fleeing northern Iraq into Syria and Iran in a two-week-old attack. Turkey's state-run news agency says its troops have killed about 1,750 Kurdistan Workers Party rebels in the offensive. Western diplomats say the number is probably exaggerated.

Opposition leaders planned a march on the Congo's capital, Kinshasa, today in defiance of self-proclaimed President Laurent Kabila's nationwide ban on meetings for political parties. Sit-ins and stay-home protests will follow the march, they said.

Burmese riot police blocked roads leading to the homes of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her deputies in an effort to prevent supporters from commemorating their 1990 election victory. At least 316 members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy who had planned to attend the commemoration were arrested by Burma's military government, party chairman Tin Oo said.

East Germany's spymaster was convicted of four cold war kidnappings at a trial in Duesseldorf, Germany. But Markus Wolf received only a suspended sentence for the crimes because they were committed in another era. He was ordered to pay about $30,000 to a Berlin children's charity. Wolf, who spent three cold war decades purloining NATO secrets, left the courtroom holding roses from a fan.

Major fighting erupted in Afghanistan's desert city of Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban army tried to put down an apparent uprising. Residents said the fighting broke out when Taliban soldiers armed with rocket launchers entered a neighborhood to confiscate weapons. Residents opened fire and killed three soldiers.

Dangerous new regional arms races have sprung up because the world's largest countries have inadequately disposed of surplus weapons from post-cold war disarmament, the UN-supported Bonn International Center for Conversion said in its annual report. Countries such as the US, Russia, Germany, Britain, and France often offer the weapons at decreased prices, it said. Turkey, Greece, Pakistan, Morocco, and a number of Middle East countries are the main recipients.

About 60 Hutus were massacred at a center in the northwestern Cibitoke region of Burundi on May 18, the UNHCR reported. The country's mainly Tutsi army has been forcibly relocating tens of thousands of Hutus into such centers since last year.

Etceteras

"I see no impediment to their presence in the highest possible positions in the country."

- Iran's incoming president, Mohammed Khatemi, when asked if he would appoint women

to the Cabinet for the first time in the fundamentalist Muslim country.

Fifth-graders at the Barnstable Grade 5 School in Hyannis, Mass., have one-upped Parker Brothers. A board game they invented called Main Street Leaning has earned $30,000 in one month. The game is a cross between Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, and includes many questions based on what the 11-year-olds have been studying. The idea sprang from necessity: The town has limited resources, and the principal says the goal is to make the school self-supporting.

A group of British women reached the North Pole in the first all-female expedition to successfully cross the ice-cap. The 20 women, who went through rigorous fitness and endurance trials, were selected from a group of 100 applicants replying to a newspaper advertisement.

Call it the credit card for the cool crowd: Wilshire Financial, an entertainment bank in Los Angeles, says it's marketing a Visa card featuring the rock group Kiss "in full makeup surrounded by a ring of fire." Subscribers will receive special monthly messages from the band.

The Day's List

Dinosaurs Trample Movie Debut Records

Steven Spielberg's "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" crushed opening box office records. Its four-day total of $90.1 million beat the record of $56.8 million set by "Mission: Impossible" on Memorial Day weekend last year. Its three-day weekend total of $72.4 beat the $52.78 million earned by "Batman Forever" in 1995. The top 10 films and their grosses (in millions) from May 23-26:

1. "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" $90.1

2."Addicted to Love" 12.1

3. "The Fifth Element" 8.2

4. "Austin Powers International Man of Mystery" 5.8

5. "Breakdown" 5.7

6. "Father's Day" 5.0

7. "Liar, Liar" 3.1

8. "Night Falls on Manhattan" 2.3

9."Volcano" 2.0

10. "Anaconda" 1.7

- Exhibitor Relations Inc., Los Angeles

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