News In Brief

The US

The striking Teamsters Union seemed to be winning its public-relations battle with UPS. An ABC News poll showed 40 percent of Americans backing the 185,000 Teamsters who walked off their jobs last week. Thirty percent of respondents supported UPS, and 30 percent said they were neutral. About 25 percent said they had been inconvenienced by the strike, and about 66 percent agreed with the union that President Clinton should not intervene. Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO federation of 78 unions offered millions of dollars to help Teamsters in their strike effort.

Steel workers ended a 10-month strike at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp., voting overwhelmingly for a new contract to end the longest such walkout in modern history. The strike, affecting workers in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, began Oct. 1. The accord allows workers to retire after 30 years' service with a pension of $1,200 a month, union officials said. It also provides a $2 million fund to reimburse medical expenses incurred during the strike, a $2,000 signing bonus, a $1.50 hourly wage increase, and $200 weekly for strikers awaiting recall.

Welfare rolls have declined by 1.4 billion recipients in the year since he signed a GOP-backed reform bill, Clinton said. Although a White House aide acknowledged there is no proof the government overhaul caused the drop, the president said welfare reform is working.

Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles (D) asked the State Department to investigate whether Alaska-bound sockeye salmon were being intercepted in Russian waters. Until this season, Alaska had enjoyed huge runs of the salmon. But this summer, Bristol Bay, site of the world's largest wild sockeye-salmon runs, reportedly had a return that was only about half the total predicted by biologists.

Eight people were charged in New York with helping students to cheat on graduate-school entrance exams. They were charged with conspiracy and mail fraud. The alleged ringleader, Po Chieng Ma, had been charged before in the case. The scheme apparently depended on time-zone differences. Ma allegedly paid experts to take the tests under assumed names in New York and then phone correct answers to Los Angeles, where they were quickly inscribed in code on pencils and issued to clients taking the tests.

Wholesale prices dropped unexpectedly for a record seventh month in a row, the Labor Department reported. Analysts said the report was more proof the economy can grow strongly without producing inflation. Officials said the 0.1 percent decline in July followed an identical drop in June. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said sales at retail stores rose a moderate 0.6 percent last month.

Defense lawyers asked that the trial of Oklahoma City bombing codefendant Terry Nichols be moved from Denver to San Francisco. In papers filed in US District Court in Denver, defense attorneys argued the Denver-based trial of convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh allowed city residents to become too emotionally involved in the case for Nichols to receive a fair trial. Prosecutors objected, calling San Franciscans too liberal and opposed to the death penalty. The Nichols trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 29.

Fresh drinking water should reach Russia's Mir space station before its supply runs out in six to eight weeks, a senior US space official said. The shuttle Atlantis, tentatively scheduled for blastoff Sept. 27, and an unmanned Russian cargo craft, set for launch the first week of October, are to deliver fresh water to the Mir crew, said Frank Culbertson, who oversees US missions to Mir. The station is running low on water because much of its supply was tainted earlier in the year by leaking antifreeze from cooling systems.

A law outlawing computer-generated child pornography is constitutional, a judge in San Francisco ruled. Samuel Conti rejected arguments by opponents of the 1996 Child Pornography Prevention Act that it was "unconstitutionally vague."

The World

Israel will ease economic sanctions against Palestinians once their leadership cracks down on Muslim militants, Prime Minister Netanyahu said after a meeting with King Hussein of Jordan. The talks were Netanyahu's first with an Arab leader since the July 30 suicide bombings in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, US special envoy Dennis Ross, winding up his mission to the region, said he had won agreement by the two sides to resume cooperation on combating terrorism.

Cambodia's King Sihanouk said his offer to abdicate was rejected by co-Premier Hun Sen. Sihanouk also asked Hun Sen to help restore peace to their country during a meeting in Beijing. Meanwhile, Hun Sen's troops inched toward O'Smach, the last Cambodian town controlled by forces loyal to Prince Norodom Rahariddh, who was ousted in a violent coup last month.

Famine-wracked North Korea "probably" has diverted international food aid to its troops and government elite, a visiting US congressional delegation said. But, speaking for the bipartisan group, Rep. Jane Harman (D) of California said aid workers had confirmed that at least "some" food was reaching ordinary civilians who need it most. The panel was denied permission to tour a food-distribution center.

The US offered indicted Bos-nian Serb war-crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic refuge in a third country, but was rebuffed, Bosnian Serb president Biljana Plavsic told London's Financial Times. She said Secretary of State Albright made the proposal during a visit to the region in June. Karadzic is accused of promoting genocide during Bosnia's civil war.

A tough new antiterrorism measure that would give police powers to combat sectarian violence passed in Pakistan's National Assembly. It would allow for suspected militants to be shot on sight and for searches and arrests without a warrant. It was inspired by increased violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Punjab province and clashes between political factions in the southern city of Karachi.

Nationwide celebrations marking the 50th year of India's independence were to begin tonight at midnight with parades, fireworks, and the playing of recorded speeches in Parliament by its two principal heroes, Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

An end to the fighting that began last weekend in Tajikistan was agreed to by President Immomali Rakhmonov and the leader of a mutinous faction, a presidential spokesman said. He also said rebellious Col. Makh-mud Khudoyberdyev had stepped down as commander of his troops. Khudoyberdyev, who has mutinied twice before, is a leading critic of a peace deal signed by Rakhmonov to end the nation's four-year civil war.

In what analysts called an unruly draw, senior leaders from opposite sides of Northern Ireland's sectarian divide debated for the first time on live television in Belfast. Ken Maginnis of the Ulster Unionists, the main pro-British Protestant party, and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army, traded arguments for 30 minutes. A new round of talks on the future of Northern Ireland that is to include Sinn Fein is due to open Sept. 15.

A demonstration against the government's crackdown on street vendors turned violent in Lusaka, Zambia, resulting in at least five deaths and many other injuries, radio reports said. Officials had moved in a day earlier to burn down some stalls that were considered illegal, prompting a protest outside the home of President Frederick Chiluba. The closure of more stalls overnight then triggered new demonstrations that were met with tear gas and the use of live ammunition.

Etceteras

"Because their fight is our fight, we're making this strike our strike."

- AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, announcing the establishment of a multiunion relief fund for striking UPS workers.

When astronaut David Wolf found out last month he'd be blasting off to help repair the Mir space station, little did he know he was going on a diet as well. Wolf is substituting for Wendy Lawrence, who's too small to fit into the Russian suit used for spacewalks. When NASA decided on the switch, it was too late to change the menu for the four-month mission, leaving Wolf, a husky man, to chow down on Lawrence's low-calorie, no-sugar diet.

How many Italians does it take to make up a pension system? That's not an ethnic joke. But it produced some chuckles in Rome when the country's largest trade union did the math and discover-ed more state-funded pensions are being paid to men over 75 than there are pensioners alive to collect them, by a margin of 1.55 million to 1.39 million. Reason: fraud, the union said - with people cashing the checks of deceased relatives.

Smashing Cameras? That's what the alternative rock group Smashing Pumpkins might be called if allegations in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles prove true. TIG Insurance Co. wants the group to pay for the "complete destruction" of $200,000 worth of projectors, lenses, and related gear during a Jan. 26 concert in Rochester, N.Y.

The Day's List

Projected Growth Rates For East Europe Nations

Croatia, Poland, and Slovenia should lead Eastern Europe in economic growth in 1998, according to Morgan Grenfell, a Bonn-based subsidiary of Deutsche Bank. The company's ranking of 11 Eastern European economies, based on its forecast of their 1998 growth rates:

1. Croatia 5.5%

2. Poland 4.8%

3. Slovenia 4.5%

4. Kazakstan 4.0%

5. Hungary 3.5%

6. Bulgaria 3.5%

7. Russia 3.0%

8. Ukraine 2.4%

9. Czech Republic 2.0%

10. Turkey 1.4%

11. Romania 1.0%

- Deutsche Press Association

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