News In Brief

The US

State officials and tobacco representatives were scheduled to resume their talks in Washington in a bid to resolve remaining issues, including whether cigarette makers can be sued for punitive damages and whether the Food and Drug Administration can regulate cigarettes. Negotiators on both sides were expecting a preliminary accord to reach President Clinton by the end of the week, The Dallas Morning News reported. If administration officials accept the plan, it will go to Congress.

The focus on tax legislation shifted to the US Senate, where Finance Committee chairman William Roth (R) of Delaware was expected to unveil his plan for implementing the balanced-budget accord between congressional leaders and the White House. A tax bill passed by a House committee last week was severely criticized by the administration. Wrangling over the measure has spawned concern that Clinton and Congress could be on a collision course over implementing their budget accord.

Clinton said he needed time to decide whether the US should formally apologize to American blacks whose ancestors were slaves. After launching a drive for racial reconciliation on Saturday, the president was asked Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition" about an apology proposal made by a dozen white lawmakers. Without committing himself, he said apologies under the right circumstances "can be quite important."

Americans are just as likely to view immigration as good for the US as to think it bad, a nationwide poll indicated. A survey published by The Miami Herald found 45 percent of respondents saying immigration is beneficial, 42 percent saying it is not. Ten percent said the impact was mixed, and 3 percent had no opinion. The poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates showed a drop in anti-immigrant feelings since 1993, when 3 out of 5 people said immigration was not good for the country.

The US Supreme Court rejected an attempt to revive an invalidated Utah law that would bar most abortions for women more than 20 weeks pregnant. Without comment, the court left intact a ruling that the law violates women's constitutional right to end pregnancies. Also, the justices voted 6 to 3 to reverse an appeals-court ruling that blocked enforcement of a Montana law banning abortions performed by licensed physician assistants.

The Clinton administration released $110 million to Minnesota and the Dakotas for rebuilding flood-damaged cities. The funds were part of the $500 million in grants authorized by the disaster-aid bill the president signed into law late last week.

Jim McDougal was to begin serving a three-year sentence for fraud and conspiracy. The former Clinton business partner was convicted in May 1996 of 18 felony counts related to his running of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan during the 1980s. He was to report to the Federal Medical Center Institution in Lexington, Ky. McDougal received a relatively light sentence because of his cooperation with prosecutors investigating the president and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Clintons were partners with the McDougals in the Whitewater land development in Arkansas.

Ellis Island was added to a list of America's most endangered historic places. The National Trust for Historic Preservation took the action, saying buildings on the south side of the New York Harbor island are in dire need of repair. It blamed the problem on a lack of funding for the National Park Service. Parts of the island, where millions of would-be immigrants were processed between 1900 and 1954, were reopened to tourists seven years ago.

The New York legislature approved an extension of rent regulation after a last-minute accord was struck to continue rent protections for all but the wealthiest among 2.7 million tenants in millions of rent-regulated apartments, most of them in the New York City area. The state's rent-control laws had officially expired at midnight Sunday.

The World

No less than the future of the European Union was at stake as leaders of its member countries opened a conference in Amsterdam, analysts said. But as the leaders were to discuss such issues as Europe's high unemployment, negotiators worked behind the scenes to defuse a growing dispute over the "euro," the proposed single currency that has overshadowed the rest of the agenda. France's new government said it would not go along with the currency plan unless it was linked to an EU effort to increase jobs.

Colombian President Ernesto Samper said he was willing to discuss peace with the leftist rebels who freed 70 Army soldiers they had held prisoner for months. The handover, staged for maximum public relations value in remote Cartagena del Chaira, was attended by numerous diplomats and was widely covered by the news media. The rebels have been engaged in a 30-year struggle against the Colombian government.

Discussions were under way in Gabon to try to arrange peace talks that would end the fighting in the neighboring Congo Republic. But as representatives of President Pascal Lissouba and his rival, former dictator Denis Sassou-Nguesso, were meeting, troops from both sides were reported jockeying for position to take over the country's main airport. Meanwhile, French troops began their pullout from the airport, saying their job of evacuating foreign nationals was over. Lissouba has called for the deployment of an African peace force as a buffer between the two sides.

Modern Turkey's first Muslim prime minister will resign by the end of the week, his coalition partner said. Tansu Ciller said she would reassume the office she lost to Necmettin Erbakan in elections held in December 1995. Erbakan, who is feuding with the military over the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, called the mounting pressure on him to quit "backwardness." No date has been fixed for new elections.

The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the deaths of two police patrolmen in a Northern Ireland town known for its deep sectarian divide. The men were shot at close range in Lurgan, 35 miles southwest of Belfast - the first double slaying in the North since 1993. Meanwhile, Catholics in Londonderry, the North's No. 2 city, vowed to stage protests if Protestants hold a march through their neighborhood next month.

Croatian President Franjo Tudjman was coasting to victory in his bid for a new five-year term, the elections commission reported. With more than 90 percent of the vote counted, Tudjman held a 40 percent lead over his closest rival. International monitors said only about 10 percent of the country's ethnic Serbs cast ballots, although others tried - only to find that their names were not listed on the voter rolls.

Another senior Russian sports executive was murdered at her home outside Moscow. Larisa Nechayeva was director-general of Spartak, perhaps Russia's top professional soccer team. The attackers also killed another team employee and wounded a chauffeur. The president of Russia's Ice Hockey Federation was murdered in similar fashion in April. Investigators say sports organizations increasingly are targets of the Russian underworld because of their large revenues.

The capture or death of notorious Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot could come "within days," Cambodian copremier Norodom Ranariddh said. He said the man held responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people when the Khmer Rouge held power in the 1970s was surrounded by guerrillas who had turned against him at the Anlong Veng stronghold. Rival copremier Hun Sen said he would ask Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for help in bringing Khmer Rouge leaders to justice. She is scheduled to visit Cambodia later this month.


"Listen, mother! Nothing happened to me. Everything's fine."

- Colombian soldier Nelson Nuez, one of 70 prisoners freed by leftist guerrillas in an elaborate public relations move.

A Colorado Springs bank owes one of its depositors a sizable debt ... of gratitude. Myung Ho Lee was only trying to add to his savings account when the teller handed back his passbook showing the new balance: $1.2 million higher than it ought to have been. His efforts to point out the error got no-where. An accountant told him: "Hey, it's yours. Take it." But he persisted until the mistake was traced to some extra key strokes at the deposit window. Not surprisingly, bank officials now say his honesty is commendable.

If you're - shall we say - ticked at how cold June has been across much of the US and can't wait for July, be advised: It will be a bit late in arriving. For the 21st time since 1972, the National Institute of Standards and Technology will insert a "leap second" to keep clocks in time with Earth's spin. This one will fall between 11:59:59 p.m. June 30, and midnight. The institute says it's vital to computer, navigation, and telecommunications systems and to power grids.

The Day's List

10 Most-Threatened Wild Areas in the US

The nation's most beleaguered wildlife areas, as rated by the Washington-based Wilderness Society (with the major threat to each in parentheses):

1. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska (oil drilling)

2. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia/Florida (mining)

3. Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge, California/ Oregon (water diversion)

4. Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona (military training flights)

5. Owyhee Canyonlands, Idaho (military training flights)

6. Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, Utah (oil drilling)

7. Whitney Estate, Adirondacks, New York (subdivision)

8. Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, Minnesota (motorboats, snowmobiles)

9. I-90/Snoqualmie Pass, Washington (road building)

10. Mojave Desert, California (military training)

- Associated Press

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