News In Brief

The US

President Clinton offered to allow an independent, bipartisan board to develop standardized math and science tests for students nationwide. Critics of the president's proposal for standardized testing have said it would increase federal influence in public schools.

Clinton asked Congress to limit a federal pay raise for 1998 to 2.8 percent. He said pay increases of about 10 percent would automatically take effect for 1.5 million white-collar employees, unless his proposal was accepted. Meanwhile, close to 7 million people, mostly women in the private service sector, were due to receive raises yesterday, when the US minimum wage rose to $5.15 an hour.

Employees in the US are more skeptical and angry than in the recent past, two Labor Day surveys indicated. Little more than half would recommend their companies as good places to work, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt, a consultant group. A Gallup poll for the Marlin Company, a developer of workplace communication products, found 23 percent of workers extremely satisfied, 40 percent quite satisfied, and 26 percent somewhat satisfied. While more than 60 percent said they were very loyal to their companies, 57 percent of those in an 18-to-34-year age group said they didn't feel such a bond.

James Hoffa asked that former President Jimmy Carter be appointed to supervise a rerun of the Teamsters Union election. Hoffa, a candidate to head the scandal-ridden union, said on the CNN news program "Evans and Novak" he wanted Carter involved to ensure a fair vote, citing the former president's role in overseeing bitter elections abroad. On Aug. 22, a court-appointed monitor, citing election-finance violations, voided balloting last year in which Ron Carey narrowly beat Hoffa in a contest for union leadership.

The Central Intelligence Agency recruited North Korea's ambassador to Egypt, Jang Sung-gil, as an agent before his defection to the US last week, Newsweek said. A CIA spokesman declined comment on the magazine report. The State Department last week granted political asylum to Jang, his brother Jang Sung-ho, and their families.

Allegations that fraudulent votes helped approve a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers football team were being investigated by the California secretary of state and the city, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. A spokesman for the secretary of state said investigators were trying to determine whether names of people who were either dead or fictitious were recorded as having voted in the June election that approved a $535 million stadium-mall project by fewer than 1,500 votes.

The Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration said they will ask Congress for authority to mandate the recall of the food products they regulate and to impose fines of up to $100,000 for violations of food-safety regulations. Food industry recalls are now voluntary.

A judge in Greensboro, N.C., reduced the punitive damages Capital Cities-ABC must pay Food Lion Inc. to $315,000 from $5.5 million. In January, a jury awarded Food Lion $1,402 in actual damages, but $5.5 million in punitive damages for fraud, trespass, and breach of loyalty for a report that aired on the ABC's "Prime Time Live" in 1992. The report alleged that Food Lion had sold spoiled meat and other outdated merchandise and that it did not always use sanitary food-handling practices.

Clinton nominated former House of Representatives Speaker Thomas Foley as ambassador to Japan and former State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns as ambassador to Greece. Burns is a veteran diplomat, and he also served on the National Security Council as an expert on Russia.

The state of Georgia filed a lawsuit seeking billions of dollars from the tobacco industry, joining dozens of other states that had already done so.

The World

The driver of the car that crashed Sunday - killing Diana, Princess of Wales; her friend Dodi Fayed; and himself - had an "illegal" level of alcohol in his bloodstream, the Paris prosector's office said. Diana's funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey on Saturday. Britain's royal household said the service would befit her status as the mother of the future king, but would not be the same as those reserved for monarchs. Diana was considered a member of the royal family, although she lost her status as Her Royal Highness when she and Prince Charles divorced a year ago.

King Norodom Sihanouk's offer to act as mediator between Cambodia's warring factions was expected to receive a response today from the Cambodian government. Sihanouk suggested the government meet with representatives loyal to his son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who was ousted in a July coup. Ranariddh's troops have been battling to hold off an offensive by strongman Hun Sen's forces just inside the Thai border.

The head of an outlawed Islamic party in Algeria was put under house arrest after he reportedly offered to halt bloodshed in his country. Islamic Salvation Front leader Abassi Madani told the Al-Hayat newspaper he was "capable ... of stopping violence" if the government agrees to enter talks. Madani was freed in July after serving half of a 12-year sentence imposed for undermining state security. About 60,000 people have been killed since January 1992 when authorities scrapped a general election dominated by Madani's party.

Israel eased its month-long closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, allowing 4,000 Palestinian workers to return to their jobs in the Jewish state. Palestinian officials dismissed the step as insufficient, demanding that the travel ban be lifted completely. Israel imposed the restrictions after a July 30 suicide bombing by Islamic militants killed 17 people in Jerusalem. Before the closure, some 100,000 Palestinian laborers worked in Israel.

Russian President Yeltsin announced he will not seek re-election in 2000. The Russian constitution limits the president to two terms. But some Yeltsin supporters reportedly were looking for ways to allow him to seek a third four-year term. He made the statement during an address at a Moscow school.

NATO-led troops in Bosnia seized a transmitter run by backers of war-crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic to punish them for broadcasting calls for violence against foreign organizations in the war-torn country, NATO officials said. The transmitter is located 90 miles east of Banja Luka. NATO will reportedly decide who would be allowed to use it. However, it's widely expected to fall to supporters of Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic, who now has strong backing from the NATO-led force.

A conference seeking a total ban on land mines opened in Oslo, Norway. Some 400 delegates from more than 100 nations plan to work for the next three weeks on a treaty to rid the world of antipersonnel mines. Some major powers, including Russia, India, China, and Israel, won't be represented. The US will attend, but wants the Korean Peninsula excluded from the ban.

People in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh held presidential elections. Karabakh's "foreign minister," Arkady Gukas-yan, was widely expected to defeat two other candidates. He has rejected a peace plan proposed by several Western countries and Russia for the region to be given wide autonomy, but technically remain a part of Azerbaijan. The area, populated mostly by ethnic Armenians, broke away from Azerbaijan in the late 1980s and declared its intention to be part of Armenia. Some 35,000 people had died in fighting between Azeris and Armenians before a 1994 truce.

"My term ends in 2000; I will not run anymore."

- Russian President Boris Yeltsin, announcing he does not plan to seek a third term.

Etceteras

Twenty-six thrill-seekers at a Belgian amusement park recently learned what it means to be "left hanging"... literally. They found themselves suspended upside down - though they were fortunately strapped into their seats - during a ride that suddenly stopped in its tracks at the top of the first of two loops. Although no one was hurt, it took firemen at the Walibi park south of Brussels nearly an hour and a half to rescue them.

The Day's List

15 States Said to House Nation's Nuclear Arsenal

Half of all US nuclear warheads are in three states - New Mexico, Georgia, and Washington - according to a report by two private nuclear-arms specialists. Stan Norris and William Arkin compiled the data from public records for a report to be published by the private Natural Resources Defense Council. States said to contain US nuclear arms and the approximate number of warheads in each state:

New Mexico 2,850

Georgia 2,000

Washington 1,600

Nevada 1,450

North Dakota 965

Wyoming 592

Missouri 550

Texas 520

Louisiana 455

Montana 455

Nebraska 255

California 175

Virginia 175

South Dakota 138

Colorado 138

- Associated Press

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