News In Brief

By , Lance Carden, and Vic Roberts

The US

President Clinton used his line-item veto power for the first time, striking down a tax break for food-processing firms and a spending item affecting the Medicaid health-care program. The tax item was reportedly worth $84 million over five years in breaks to food processors, and the spending item concerned a Medicaid reimbursement formula. A law giving presidents the line-item-veto option was passed last year. It allows parts of spending measures or narrowly targeted tax breaks to be struck down without vetoing entire bills. As with other vetoes, Congress can override the president with two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate.

Teamsters Union and United Parcel Service leaders agreed to meet separately with Labor Secretary Alexis Herman in an effort to end the eight-day-old strike. Earlier, Herman had warned UPS not to escalate the dispute by hiring substitutes for strikers. UPS also faces a strike by its pilots union if a new contract is not reached in talks set to resume in a few weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said pilots voted this spring to authorize such a strike.

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The United Auto Workers set another strike deadline for General Motors. Union officials at a plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., gave the company until midnight Friday to meet their demands. Details of the talks were not made public. The plant, which employs about 5,900 people, produces rear-wheel-drive transmissions as well as components for transmissions built elsewhere. A prolonged walkout could force GM to shut down a number of powertrain and assembly plants.

US Sen. Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana took his support of William Weld to a new level, criticizing the White House for not vigorously promoting the former Massachusetts governor's nomination to become ambassador to Mexico. "I'm not aware the administration is doing anything on behalf of Bill Weld," Lugar said on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press." Speaking on ABC's "This Week," former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos also said the White House should do more to aid Weld.

Data from an ozone-monitoring satellite released by the space-shuttle Discovery appear to support a theory that Earth is being bombarded daily by thousands of house-size comets, a scientist said. The satellite has detected much more water vapor in the upper atmosphere at northern latitudes than current theories had predicted, said Robert Conway of the Naval Research Laboratory. One possible explanation is that Earth is being pelted by snowball-like minicomets that release clouds of water vapor into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the Discovery crew chatted with youngsters at a Canadian space camp in Saskatoon, Sask., and ran more tests with a 5-foot robot arm.

A discount department store in Nashville, Tenn., was looted and destroyed by fire just hours after the killing of a black murder suspect by a white policeman. Before the Dollar General Store burned, a crowd gathered in anger over the shooting of Leon Fisher of Nashville.

Demand for machine tools rose nearly 20 percent in the first half of the year, two industry groups said. The American Machine Tool Distributors Association and the Association for Manufacturing Technology said January-to-June demand rose to $4.4 billion from $3.7 billion in the first six months of last year. Total demand in June increased 38.9 percent to an estimated $894 million from $644 million in May.

US Rep. Charles Schumer (D) of New York widened his crusade for immigration reform, finding support from conservative commentator Pat Buchanan. Schumer said the US has been "too lax and too lenient" about illegal immigration. Buchanan, a former GOP presidential candidate, called it "a national security problem for the American people." Schumer introduced legislation last year to make it easier for US immigration officials to refuse entry to people connected to extremist groups.

The World

Palestinian Authority President Arafat and Israeli officials met for the first time since the July 30 marketplace bombing in Jerusalem. The two sides exchanged information on the attack and discussed reestablishing security coordination. That meeting, in the West Bank town of Ramallah, and another to be held several hours later were arranged by US envoy Dennis Ross. Meanwhile, the extremist group Hamas warned it would be "dangerous" if Arafat heeded Israeli demands to crack down on militants. (Editorial, Page 20.)

Cambodian ruler Hun Sen was to meet with King Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing today after the latter offered to abdicate. Analysts said Hun Sen would try to secure Sihanouk's blessing to legitimize his government since he ousted Prince Norodom Rana-riddh in a July coup. Meanwhile, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations stopped referring to Ranariddh as Cambodia's "first Prime Minister" during an emergency meeting in Singapore. ASEAN said the situation had changed in Cambodia with the election of Foreign Minister Ung Huot to the post.

International donors offered $16 billion in loans to rescue Thailand's shaky economy. Half of the loans would be provided by Japan and the International Monetary Fund and nearly one-third by other Asian countries. The pledges, made at a meeting in Tokyo, give Thailand funds to shore up its troubled currency. The loan package is second largest ever offered to a single country. Mexico was given a $40 billion bailout plan in 1994.

South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission began hearings to decide whether to free the murderers of Communist leader Chris Hani. Anti-communist Janusz Walus and Conservative politician Clive Derby-Lewis were expected to speak publicly about their role in the 1993 killing at the hearing. The commission, charged with exposing apartheid-era crimes, could grant amnesty if the two can prove political motives. Hani's family says the killers did not act on behalf of the Conservative Party. Hani was widely popular and was considered a possible successor to Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa.

Fresh clashes were reported in Tajikistan between troops led by renegade commander Makh-mud Khudoberdiyev and presidential guards about 12 miles south of the capital, Dushanbe. However, fighting that broke out in the capital over the weekend died down, allowing shops to re-open. The fighting comes just weeks after President Imomali Rakhmonov signed a peace agreement with Islamic opponents - who apparently are not involved in the latest unrest - to end a four-year civil war.

A rebel group that security forces claimed they had destroy-ed six years ago now is being blamed for a string of explosions in southern India that injured 14 people. Two bombs went off in Madras and two others in nearby Rajapalayam as celebrations were being planned for the 50th anniversary of India's independence. The Tamil Liberation Army said the blasts were to protest Russia's help in building a local nuclear power plant.

A second round of talks to end the 34-year dispute on Cyprus opened in Glion, Switzerland. Greek Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash were to discuss prospects for a federal partnership at the UN-mediated talks, which are expected to run through Friday. Heading into the negotiations, Denktash insisted on absolute political equality for Turks - an idea opposed by Greek Cypriots, who account for 82 percent of the island's population.

Etceteras

"I don't think [Clinton] can afford to continue to put up nominees and then leave

the impression that he's not fighting for them."

- Ex-Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, on ABC-TV, referring to William Weld's nomination as ambassador to Mexico.

In what must have looked like a scene from an old Keystone Kops movie, a golfer in Independence, Mo., stop-ped his cart to pick up a police officer who was chasing a suspect on foot. The bad guy had fled onto the Rockwood course and had a good head start. Together his pursuers cris-crossed the links until they found him hiding behind the clubhouse. It's not known whether the incident affected the golfer's score.

How deep were flood waters in Ireland last week? So deep that fish were chasing each other across the floor of Kitty Keily's pub in Clonmel, County Tipperary. Well, OK, they were only goldfish - Sonia, Sam, and Ossie - liberated from their aquarium by patrons. But they did provide a little light relief from the devastation, estimated at $20 million to agriculture alone. No word on whether the crowd at Keily's felt gill-ty about the whole thing.

The Day's List

Sampling of New Polls From Around the Globe

New surveys reveal the public mood in India as it celebrates 50 years of independence, in Britain after 100 days of Labour Party rule, in Israel after the July 30 market bombing, in Ireland in the runup to elections, and in the US during Senate hearings on campaign-finance abuses:

India

36 percent believe the country will break apart in the next 50 years; 41 percent say it will not.- ORG-MARK polling group

Britain

83 percent approve Prime Minister Tony Blair's performance.- The Daily Telegraph

Israel

71 percent back Israel's blockade of the West Bank and Gaza. - Yediot Ahronoth newspaper

Ireland

42 percent support John Hume to replace President Mary Robinson in the October election. All other candidates trailed far behind.- Sunday Independent

United States

49 percent believe China tried to sway 1996 elections, up only 3 percent from when Senate hearings began.- CBS News

- Associated Press/Reuters

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