News In Brief

The US

Senate Republicans were split over how to spend $16 billion earmarked for children's health care. Their budget deal with the White House includes the money to extend coverage to 5 million uninsured youngsters. But as the Senate Finance Committee prepared to take up the issue, some Republicans favored funding it through Medicaid while others wanted it in block grants that would give states some discretion in how to disperse it.

Immigrant children generally do better at school than classmates born in the US, a study of children in San Diego and Miami indicated. The five-year study of about 2,400 children of immigrants published in the Los Angeles Times found they had better grades and lower dropout rates than those born in the US. Michigan State and Princeton University researchers who followed 5,000 children representing more than 60 nationalities, noted that the longer students live in the US, the less time they spend on homework.

Some 6,276 students in 29 states and the District of Columbia were expelled from school for carrying guns or other weapons during the 1995-1996 school year, the Education Department said. Vice President Gore said the figures would grow when the remaining states report later this year. The figures are the first collected under a 1994 Gun Free Schools Act, which requires states to have expulsion laws before they can receive US funds.

President Clinton plans to give Jordan an additional $100 million in economic aid as a reward for its peacemaker role in the Middle East, according to administration sources. They said the money would come out of aid earmarked for Israel and Egypt.

Clinton also was scheduled to issue an order barring sex discrimination at federally run schools for Indians and military families, closing a gap in a 1972 civil rights law. The action was to mark the 25th anniversary of Title IX, the law that bars sexual discrimination in schools and colleges that receive US aid.

US Rep. Elizabeth Furse (D) of Oregon said she would not seek reelection to a fourth term next year. She said she might start a progressive political-action committee to help elect candidates who are interested in children's issues and the environment.

Haley Barbour was warned in 1994 that a think tank he created was too closely tied to the GOP and shouldn't solicit foreign funds, Time magazine said. Michael Baroody reportedly cited his concerns in a June 1994 letter of resignation as president of the National Policy Forum. It was created by Barbour, a former Republican Party chairman. Time quoted an unnamed associate of Barbour as saying he "came to a different conclusion." The IRS, finding the group too political, has since denied its application for non-profit status - a decision under appeal.

The auto industry will probably not be able to meet a California mandate that 10 percent of vehicles sold there be electrically powered by 2003, several automakers said. They noted that the goal could be met if batterymakers lower costs and extend the range of electric cars. Sales of electric vehicles would have to exceed 100,000 in 2003 to meet the state mandate.

Monitor Radio, a broadcast service of the Christian Science Church supplying in-depth news to US public radio listeners, will go off the air June 27. An effort to sell it fell through. World Times, the publisher of an international news supplement, had said earlier this month that it would buy Monitor Radio if enough public radio stations agreed to sign on to its service. "The level of enthusiasm station managers had for the project was encouraging," World Times President Crocker Snow Jr. said, "but because of timing, a number of key stations had made other binding commitments for July 1." David Cook, editor of The Christian Science Monitor and Monitor Radio said, "We appreciate all the stations who worked with us on the effort to sell Monitor Radio." The radio program was costing the Christian Science Church about $9.3 million a year and bringing in only about $1 million, said Sue Schardt, manager of marketing and development for Monitor Radio. It was intended as a public service and not designed to make a profit, she said, but losses of that size were just too great.

The World

France came up with a new condition for pledging its support to a single currency, just as European Union leaders proclaimed that its launch in 1999 was back on track. France said it now wanted flexible interpretation of the rules for joining the "euro" plan. Germany and other EU countries reject the condition as a threat to undermine monetary union. The leaders also considered a treaty that would bar the EU from assuming a military role in protecting the continent's security.

Israeli troops wounded 28 Palestinians - two of them seriously - in a fourth straight day of confrontations in the West Bank city of Hebron. Reports said the latest violence was triggered by the burning of an Israeli flag by demonstrators. Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel would only resume negotiations if the Palestinians agreed to focus on a permanent peace settlement.

Muslim Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan kept Turkey in suspense about his plans, despite reports that he would leave office today and turn the government over to coalition partner Tansu Ciller. In a speech in An-kara, he didn't mention such a plan, although he has agreed to cede the post to her. But he wants early elections as a condition of resigning - a move that analysts say he thinks could return his Islamic-based party to power. President Suleyman Demirel has voiced opposition to the Erbakan-Ciller trade.

Khmer Rouge guerrillas were believed to be chasing notorious leader Pol Pot deep into Cambodia's northern jungle as he fled toward neighboring Thailand, perhaps with hostages in tow. Troops of both countries sealed the border, and Cambodia's copremiers said they wanted to put him on trial before an international tribunal. Pol Pot reportedly abandoned the group's stronghold after ordering the deaths of defense chief Son Sen and his family - a move that reportedly angered the remaining Khmer Rouge.

Iran has test-fired new antiship cruise missiles from the air, in a probable attempt to intimidate its neighbors, visiting US Defense Secretary Cohen told a news conference in Bahrain. He said the US "will not allow this to happen" but was not headed for a clash unless Iran started it. A semiofficial Iranian newspaper said the US again was trying to "sow the seeds of discord" between the Islamic republic and neighboring states

No progress was reported by African leaders in their efforts to mediate a truce in the Republic of Congo. But after all-day meetings in neighboring Gabon, they said they would continue to try to settle the crisis that began June 5. Meanwhile, Army troops and a rival militia traded shots near the Brazzaville airport, but stopped when French soldiers complained that the hostilities were delaying their departure.

Amid heavy security precautions, white supremacist Eugene Terre Blanche was sentenced to six years in jail by a court in South Africa. Terre Blanche, who kept a high public profile as leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, had been convicted of the attempted murder of one black man and assault against another. He also was banned from owning firearms.

Militants on Corsica suspend-ed their 22-year bombing campaign for autonomy to allow France's new leftist government time to set its policy on the island. But the Corsican National Liberation Front-Historic Branch also announced "conditions of a civilian peace" - among them official recognition of the Corsican people and the teaching of their language. Bombs explode nearly every week on Corsica, but usually late at night and without causing personal injury.

Etceteras

"The talks will not be renewed ... to move step-by-step into the unknown. Peace at the end of the process is more important than the process itself."

- Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, setting new conditions for returning to the negotiating table with the Palestinians.

A Lynnwood, Calif., resident thought it would be a blast to fumigate his own small apartment rather than hiring professional exterminators to do the job. It was. Reasoning that if one insect fogger was good, eight would be even better, he activated them and left. Soon an explosion rocked the entire building, blowing out windows and causing other damage as well. There were no injuries. Firefighters say the pilot light on the kitchen stove detonated the bug bombs.

For those who've tried the ab cruncher fad without success, there's finally a payoff - of sorts. A Richmond, Va., resident has founded Pot Bellied Men of America. The group claims 300 members and even has its own Web page: www.potbelly.com. No word on whether rotund former major league pitcher Terry Forster has joined. He is remembered for once having said, "A waist is a terrible thing to mind."

London's Philharmonia Orchestra has commissioned composer Peter Maxwell Davies to write an original symphony that is "an encounter with nature, with silence and emptiness." Sir Peter will draw inspiration for the work from spending a month in Antarctica.

The Day's List

'Speed 2' Is No. 1 in Box Office Revenues

"Speed 2: Cruise Control" raced right to the top with movie-goers, leaving the previous leader, "Con Air," in its wake. "Speed 2" cost no less than $120 million to make - and perhaps as much as $145 million. The top-grossing films for the weekend of June 14-15 and their revenues (in millions):

1. "Speed 2: Cruise Control" $16.2

2. "Con Air" $15.2

3. "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" $12.0

4. "Addicted to Love" $2.3

5. "Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery" $2.1

6. "Buddy" $2.0

7. "Gone Fishin' " $1.9

8. "The Fifth Element" $1.4

9. "Trial and Error" $1.3

10. "Breakdown" $1.1

- Associated Press

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