News In Brief

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The US

Gen. Joseph Ralston is expected to withdraw his name today as a candidate for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, The New York Times reported. Ralston, who has served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs since March 1996, has admitted having an extra-marital affair in the 1980s. Meanwhile, the Pentagon asked its law department to "review the clarity" of its rules on adultery cases.

A former client of Gilbert Davis, the lawyer representing Paula Jones in her sexual-harassment lawsuit against President Clinton, demanded an apology for alleged sexual misconduct. Davis, a Republican candidate for Virginia attorney general, had said in January that the charges of Ramona Lemons Hines were false.

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Democrats pledged to disrupt action in the Senate this week until Republicans produce a disaster-relief bill acceptable to Clinton. The president has promised to veto a relief bill that cleared Congress late last week because it includes provisions to prevent a government shutdown this fall - even if spending bills aren't in place - and to ban the use of sampling in the 2000 census.

Clinton ordered a Justice Department review of laws against hate crimes and promised to convene a White House conference on the problem. The White House conference, a tactic Clinton has used to spotlight children and family issues, was scheduled for Nov. 10. Clinton said it would bring together victims, lawmakers, religious leaders, and law-enforcement officials.

A US commission recommended legislation that would ban cloning experiments aimed at making a person. But the National Bioethics Advisory Commission said such laws should allow research that stops short of trying to clone human beings. The 18-member presidential commission said a consensus of its members was concerned that techniques used in cloning sheep would be unsafe and perhaps ineffective in humans.

The Justice Department asked the US Supreme Court to steer a middle course in reviewing a ruling that ordered White House lawyers to give special prosecutor Kenneth Starr notes of their conversations with Hillary Rodham Clinton. The department maintained a lower court had erred in saying there never is an attorney-client privilege in such cases, but did not say the notes must be kept confidential. Instead, it said the courts should weigh prosecutors' need for information against US officials' need for legal advice.

Jesse Brown announced he will step down as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, effective July 1. Hershel Gober, Brown's deputy, was said to be his likely successor. Gober helped gain veterans' support for Clinton during his 1992 campaign. Brown is the eighth member of Clinton's original Cabinet to leave during his second term.

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in May, a level last seen a quarter of a century ago, the Labor Department said. The news sent stock prices to record levels, despite talk that the strong economy might push up interest rates.

More defense witnesses were to testify today in the Oklahoma City bombing trial. Jurors rested over the weekend after an emotionally draining week. The defense will try to convince jurors that Timothy McVeigh should be imprisoned for life for the bombing that killed 168 people.

Opponents of Teamsters president Ron Carey called for his ouster after the arrest of a consultant in an alleged scheme to funnel union funds into his 1996 reelection campaign. Martin Davis, co-owner of the Washington-based November Group consulting firm, was charged in New York with mail fraud and released on $100,000 bond.

A New York City foundation pledged to grant at least $200 million to build a new engineering college outside Boston. The gift from the F. W. Olin Foundation, will launch the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.

The World

Israeli officials arrived in Cairo for what it was hoped would be the first face-to-face peace talks with Palestinian negotiators since mid-March. The peace process has been stalled since Israel broke ground for new Jewish housing in a disputed section of southeastern Jerusa-lem. The Cairo meeting was nearly cancelled because of a Palestinian official's widely quoted remark that Israel had agreed to a pause in settlementbuilding. Prime Minister Netanyahu's office said Israel's delegation would not leave for Cairo until the remark was disavowed. It was.

UN officials may freely investigate whether Laurent Kabila's forces massacred Hutu refugees in the former eastern Zaire, the self-proclaimed president said. Kabila said after a meeting with US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson that investigators could begin July 7. Kabila departed from months of denials that any atrocities had occurred, saying some refugees may have been caught in crossfire between his forces and troops of the departed Mobutu regime.

Members of Sierra Leone's parliament defied a ban of political activity and publicly denounced the military coup that ousted President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. The politicians called for implementation of a peace accord that Kabbah signed last November with rebels who have fought against his government since 1991. Coup leaders accuse Kabbah of inciting ethnic hatred.

Irish Prime Minister John Bruton conceded defeat as vote-counting in national elections wound down. The outcome made it virtually certain that opposition leader Bertie Ahern would form the new government. But his Fianna Fail Party appeared to need the support of rival parties to achieve a majority in Parliament. No Irish government has won reelection since 1969.

The majority of officers plan to quit Russia's armed forces because of poor morale and "lack of prospects for the future," a defense ministry spokesman was quoted as saying. A study conducted by the ministry said 90 percent of officers live at or below the poverty line. An Army colonel is paid less than $200 a month. Many officers' tours of duty expire this year.

Germany's coalition government is not on the verge of fall-ing apart, Chancellor Kohl's office said. A spokesman denied reports in a Bonn newspaper that Kohl was holding emergency talks to prevent the Free Democrats from leaving his government over the issue of raising taxes to compensate for possible revenue shortfalls. The paper said it based its report on an internal memo from Kohl's office.

The government of India will pay $2,700 each to the families of 39 people killed in a fire at a Hindu religious festival, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu state said. At least 90 others were hurt when fireworks ignited a tent inside an 11th-century temple at Thanjavur, 1,900 miles south of New Delhi, causing a stampede. The building had only one exit. Escape also was limited by barricades that had been set up for crowd control.

Another incident in the Scandinavian biker war left one person dead and three others hurt, police in Denmark said. The assault in the town of Liseleje was aimed at members of the Bandidos gang, and suspicion fell on the rival Hells Angels. Last week a bomb exploded outside a Bandidos base in Norway, killing a passerby and injuring four others. The three-year-old feud has claimed more than 70 casualties.

Troops loyal to Congolese President Pascal Lissouba lost control of the center of the capital to a rival militia. Fighting in Brazzaville entered its fourth day, despite the efforts of various political factions to bring it to an end. Officials said the faction leaders were having trouble getting word to their fighters in the streets of Brazzaville to stop shooting. A French soldier died and five others were wounded in the evacuation of foreigners trapped by the fighting.

Etceteras

"You are playing with our lives. This isn't some game. You should come here and walk in my shoes for a day."

- Grand Forks, N.D., resident Ranee Steffan, protesting the political bickering in Washington over flood-relief legislation.

You might say police bank on crooks to make mistakes in the commission of their crimes. Three who did:

* A soldier at Ft. Belvoir, Va., who's accused of robbing $4,759 from a local credit union. Two weeks later he returned and tried to deposit half of it in his own account.

* A holdup artist who took more than $1,000 from Magna Bank in Decatur, Ill. He was recognized as an applicant who twice was refused loans. Police arrested him at the address he'd used on the loan forms.

* A would-be thief who banged on the door of a bank in Orlando, Fla., 20 minutes before it opened for business. Seeing the gun he carried, employees called police, who are searching for him.

Then there were the 17 Moroccans who got taken for more of a ride than they expected after paying $740 each to be smuggled across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Spain. Under cover of darkness, they boarded the smuggler's boat and set sail from the town of Larache. A while later, he sent them into the surf 100 yards from shore and disappeared. They waded - no, not onto Spanish soil - into the clutches of police at Tangier, only 40 miles from home.

How Americans Choose To Spend Their Free Time

The average American has 40 hours of leisure a week - more than at any other point in the past three decades, say researchers John Robinson and Geoffrey Godbey in their book "Time for Life'' (Penn State Press). After studying the routines of 10,000 people over 30, they concluded that the average American spends free time in these ways (in hours per week):

Watching television 15.0

Socializing 6.7

Talking on the phone or with family members 4.4

Reading 2.8

Hobbies 2.7

Adult education 2.2

Recreation/sports 2.2

Other organizations 1.2

Cultural events .9

Religion .9

Listening to radio/recordings .4

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