News In Brief

By , Lance Carden, and Vic Roberts

The US

Compromise legislation to balance the budget while cutting taxes was expected to pile up huge majorities by week's end in both houses of Congress. With the notable exception of House minority leader Dick Gephardt, most congressional Democrats embraced the plan. Some tobacco-state lawmakers criticized a tobacco-tax increase, and some GOP conservatives were expected to oppose the child health-insurance program.

An FBI agent told a Senate panel how former Little Rock restaurant owner Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie set up a web of shell companies that laundered money from an Asian businessman and helped to send $220,000 to the Democratic National Committee. The Senate committee investigating campaign fund-raising abuses heard from agent Jerome Campane, who said he had no evidence the money came from the Chinese government or that the Democratic Party knew the money was from overseas.

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US troops halted foot patrols along the Mexican border on the eve of an inquiry into the shooting of a high-school student. A grand jury was to convene in El Paso, Texas, to decide whether to charge any of a group of four Marines with killing Esequiel Hernandez while on an antidrug detail. The Marines say Hernandez fired on them first and that he was shot in self-defense.

Republican Gov. William Weld of Massachusetts turned his job over to Lt. Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) and focused his attention on Washington, where he faces an uncertain future as President Clinton's Mexican ambassador- nominee. Weld was to travel to the national capital today for meetings at the State Department. Sen. Jesse Helms (R) of North Carolina, who heads the Foreign Relations Committee, has said he will not hold hearings on Weld's nomination.

A Saudi dissident pleaded innocent to plotting to kill Americans in his homeland, and his attorney repudiated an earlier agreement to plead guilty. Hani al-Sayegh, who is allegedly linked to the 1996 bombing in Saudi Arabia that left 19 US Air Force personnel dead and some 400 other people injured, had been expected to plead guilty to a single charge of plotting to kill Americans in return for his cooperation with the US inquiry into the bombing. He was deported to the US from Canada last month.

An environmental group called on manufacturers to give consumers information about the potential health risks of widely used industrial chemicals. The Environmental Defense Fund said the public has no data on more than 70 percent of those chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Chemical Manufacturers Association said they had not reviewed the group's recommendations, but both said more public information is needed.

Rosa Parks urged tour leaders to continue tracing the path of slaves who fled the South, even after their bus carrying 29 children, five chaperones, and a driver crashed into the Nottoway River near Stony Creek, Va. One of the chaperones, Adisa Foluke of Detroit, was killed and everyone else on the bus reportedly was injured. Foluke was said to have been like a grandson to Parks, a civil-rights pioneer. Some survivors said they wanted to go on, but organizers had not decided whether to resume the tour.

A Mexican-immigrant smuggling ring uncovered earlier this month began nearly 10 years ago in Chicago and later expanded to New York, prosecutors said. Most of those smuggled were deaf. Ring leaders in the two cities allegedly traded those who did not cooperate in selling trinkets on the street. Investigators said the illegal immigrants in Chicago lived in humane conditions, compared with those in New York City.

The House passed a $248 billion defense bill, including funds for a military pay raise, B-2 bombers, and missile defenses. Clinton threatened to veto the measure, because it would end funding for US ground operations in Bosnia after June 30, 1998.

The World

Suicide bombs went off seconds apart in Jerusalem's main produce market, killing at least 13 people and leaving more than 150 others hurt. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Israel immediately imposed a new closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The incident led President Clinton to call off a scheduled trip to the region by special US envoy Dennis Ross, who was to arrive today as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks. Palestinian Authority President Arafat telephoned his condolences to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. But Netanyahu demanded that Arafat's government "begin fighting terror as it was supposed to."

The harshest penalties ever imposed by Japanese financial regulators were announced in Tokyo against the country's No. 1 brokerage and a top bank. Key divisions of Nomura Securities and Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank were shut down for periods of five months to a year. The companies are accused of paying off a corporate racketeer to keep him from raising embarrassing questions about executive sex scandals or financial losses at shareholders' meetings

New Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz angrily defied the thousands of protesters who disrupted Ankara a day earlier, vowing his "complete commitment" to reducing Islamic education. He said "they are mistaken if they think they can intimidate" the government through street demonstrations aimed at preserving Muslim schools, which he accused of "producing militants." At least 13 people were hurt and 55 others were arrested when police attacked the rally.

Just in case the US and other Western powers were hoping otherwise, China's 3-million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA) pledged absolute loyalty to the ruling Communist Party. In a front-page editorial in its official newspaper, the PLA slammed "hostile Western forces" for trying to "depoliticize" its ranks. The pledge came on the 70th anniversary of the PLA's founding and answered critics who questioned whether China's new senior leader, Jiang Zemin, who never served in the military, could count on its support.

Hong Kong's stock market hit a record high one month after Britain handed the colony back to China. Brokers credited a revitalized property sector and futures-related trade for boosting the Hang Seng index above the 16,000 mark. Analysts said the performance showed that Hong Kong's political upheaval had little effect on business confidence.

In Chechnya, a car bomb exploded outside the office of a renegade faction leader, killing at least three people and wounding many others, according to reports from Grozny, the capital. But witnesses said the apparent target, Salman Raduyev, had left the building and was not among the casualties. His followers have claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks this year in southern Russia. Raduyev blamed Russia for the incident and threaten-ed to blow up a key oil pipeline in retaliation.

A lawyer and former beauty contest winner who reportedly had close ties to both drug traffickers and senior military commanders was assassinated in Guadalajara, Mexico. Irma Lizeth Ibarra Navaja's murder was the latest twist in the ongoing scandal linking the country's armed forces to the illegal drug trade. It followed by two days the publication of a magazine article that implicated some commanders in the protection of traffickers.

Lebanon praised a US decision to end the 10-year-old ban that prevented Americans from visiting the country legally. Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri called the move "a vote of confidence." But in announcing it, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright warned that Lebanon remains dangerous. The ban was imposed after the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner to Beirut and a spate of kidnappings of foreigners by Muslim groups opposed to US policy in the region.

Etceteras

"We expect the Palestinian Authority ... will take all the steps required against

these terrorists. They must be jailed, their weapons and their explosives collected."

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the bombing of Jerusalem's main produce market.

Did you wonder how the demotion to the minor leagues of high-priced - and highly hyped - New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu would play in his native Japan? Many Japanese say he deserved what he got, both for his ineffectiveness and for his displays of temper when things don't go his way. Said one observer: "There is no one who would feel sorry for him."

Low morale and lack of discipline in the Russian arm-ed forces may have reached a new level last week. While guards slept at their posts, a soldier seeking transportation to a local liquor store swiped a tank for the purpose. He made it off his base in the Ural mountains but couldn't get past traffic police, who arrested him. No word yet on his punishment.

Taking pictures to use as evidence in criminal cases has proved to be something more than a snap for police in Hong Kong. An expert witness in a drug-trafficking case testified that the cops regularly fail to prepare their cameras properly for such assignments. The problem is so common that crime-report forms contain a box labeled "Forgot to take lens cap off."

The Day's List

'Air Force One' Soars to Top of Box-Office Charts

"Air Force One," starring Harrison Ford as the chief executive held hostage aboard the presidential jet, triumphed at the box office in its premier weekend. It toppled "Men in Black," which held the top spot for three straight weeks. The films with the highest estimated ticket sales for July 25-27 (in millions, with last week's ranking, if any, in parentheses):

1. "Air Force One" $37.1

2. "George of the Jungle" (2) $13.2

3. "Men in Black" (1) $12.6

4. "Contact" (3) $9.5

5. "Good Burger" $7.3

6. "Nothing to Lose" (4) $6.7

7. "Face/Off" (5) $5.6

8. "My Best Friend's Wedding" (6) $4.5

9. "Hercules" (7) $2.9

10. "Operation Condor" (8) $1.6

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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