News In Brief

By , Lance Carden, and Vic Roberts

The US

President Clinton will not attend the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, a White House spokesman said. Clinton wrote to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, expressing his condolences on the death of the princess and saying, "all of us have lost a friend and a strong voice for those less fortunate." A copy of the letter was released by officials on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., the resort island where the president is vacationing. They said first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's friendship with Diana made it "likely" that she would represent the US at the funeral Saturday.

The death of the princess may provide fresh impetus to her favorite international cause - a global campaign to ban anti-personnel land mines, US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont said. "In life, she made major changes in land-mine policy, and I think in death she will continue to because people will realize what she stood for," Leahy said. Formal talks are being held this week in Oslo to explore a landmine treaty initially proposed by Canada.

Recommended: 5 books about Diana, the people's princess

Congress began a new session, with recent polls indicating public approval for its bipartisan accomplishments. Nonetheless, relations between the two parties seemed volatile at best. Democratic leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri threatened to "shut the House ... down" if an investigation of last year's defeat of California Rep. Bob Dornan continues. Nonetheless, GOP House leaders insisted they would forge ahead with the probe of the conservative Republican's 984-vote upset loss to Mexican-American Democrat Loretta Sanchez.

Manufacturing growth slowed in August, dampening concerns that a surging economy could force the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates - and helping stock prices surge in Tuesday's early trading. The National Association of Purchasing Management's index slipped to 56.8 percent in August from 58.6 percent in July. The new figure was well below economists' expectations of 58 percent.

Three Sinn Fein leaders flew from Dublin to the US, seeking support for their party and its ally, the Irish Republican Army. The US visit is the first for Sinn Fein's president, Gerry Adams, since the IRA halted its campaign of violence against British rule of Northern Ireland 45 days ago. Adams, Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness, and Caoimhghin O Caolain, the party's only member of the Irish Parliament, were to lobby in Washington, then rally supporters in New York tomorrow and Friday. Over the weekend, Adams is to speak in Boston, McGuinness in San Francisco, and O Caolain in Chicago.

Vice President Gore praised a new spirit of trade unionism in the US as demonstrated in the recent Teamsters strike against United Parcel Service. There is "a new awareness of the fact that working conditions, workers' rights ... need attention in this country," Gore said at a Labor Day picnic in Hampton, Ill., where he spoke, along with AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and Labor Secretary Alexis Herman.

International Lease Finance is expected to order at least 115 jetliners worth about $7 billion from Airbus Industrie and Boeing Co., The Wall Street Journal reported. Citing sources close to the deal, the Journal said orders may be announced this week. Airbus was said to have orders for 65 planes. Final details of the Boeing portion of the plan were unclear, although sources said it would be "north of 50" jetliners. The companies declined to comment.

Apple Computer Inc. said it was buying Macintosh clonemaker Power Computing for $100 million - in an attempt to neutralize a competitor and give Apple new expertise in selling machines directly to the public. Apple is also getting back a license that allows Power Computing to sell Macintosh-based machines. Power Computing will stop selling the clones at the end of the year. Power Computing, the first company Apple allowed to make Mac clones, has been embroiled in a dispute with Apple over how much it would pay to keep making them.

The World

French prosecutors formally opened an investigation against seven photographers who were taken into custody following Sunday's car crash in Paris that killed Diana, Princess of Wales; companion Dodi Fayed, and their driver. Authorities are considering charges of involuntary homicide and injury as well as failing to come to the aid of the victims.

By granting asylum to North Korean defectors, the US has placed "stumbling blocks"in the way of Korean peace talks, North Korea's Foreign Ministry reportedly said. Preliminary talks among rivals North and South Korea and China and the US are to take place in New York the week of Sept. 15. But North Korea's official news agency said US acceptance of the North's ambassador to Egypt, Chang Sung Gil, his brother, and their families could hinder the negotiations.

Instead of replying to Cambodian King Sihanouk's offer to mediate peace talks with ousted copremier Norodom Ranariddh, coup leader Hun Sun ignored it. In a letter to Sihanouk, Hun Sen only repeated allegations that Ranariddh had ordered the fighting in early July that resulted in the government takeover. Analysts said Hun Sen's response was likely to prolong fighting with forces loyal to Ranariddh.

Supporters of Bosnian Serb war-crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic agreed to a deal with NATO-led international police and the UN. In a signed accord, they pledged to tone down propaganda directed at the two agencies that led to violent confrontations. In return, NATO forces returned a transmitter they seized after it was used to broadcast calls for the confrontations. The deal prevents loyalists of Serb sub-state President Biljana Plavsic - who is locked in a power struggle with Karadzic - from using the transmitter.

Russian space officials said Mir's former crew would be fined for June's collision involving the space station and an unmanned cargo ship. Upon returning to Earth last month, Cosmo- nauts Vasily Tsibliyev and Alexander Lazutkin blamed the accident on Mir's worn out equipment.

For the first time in 68 years, Mexico's president delivered a State of the Union address before a Congress in which the Institutional Revolutionary Party was without a majority in the lower house. Ernesto Zedillo warned the opposition against hurting Mexico's economic recovery by passing populist measures. The new Congress is expected to make Zedillo's work harder since he will have to deal with lawmakers who no longer automatically back his proposals.

The newly elected leader of Nagorno-Karabakh vowed to strengthen its military to ward off possible attack by Azerbaijan. Elections officials said the region's "foreign minister," Arkady Gukasyan captured 90 percent of the vote. The enclave, whose self-declared independence is not recognized internationally, was at the heart of a six-year war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that ended with a truce in 1994.

A series of hostage-takings in Tajikistan threatened a peace deal signed by the government and an the Islamic opposition in the Central Asian nation in June. After faction leader Rezvon Sad-irov released an Islamic leader and several other hostages, he said he would kill his remaining 18 hostages unless his jailed brother is released. The religious leader reportedly was exchanged for four of Sadirov's men, who were captured by government security forces over the weekend.

Colombia's 102 senators have agreed to wear bulletproof vests as part of their standard business clothing, after being pressured by a local insurance company. The assassination of a prominent senator last month also apparently prompted the decision. Colombia is one of the world's most violent nations.

"Please accept our personal condolences, as well as those of the American people."

- President Clinton, in a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Etceteras

Thousands of people in Buol, Spain, got pasted with tomatoes last week. It was no schoolyard prank, but a celebration of sorts. Some 100 tons of the fruit flew about the town in less than an hour during its annual "tomatina" festival. The traditional free-for-all, which leaves the town stained and smelly, began in 1945 when a tomato fight broke out during a fiesta.

A shoplifting suspect, cornered recently in a woods near Lancaster, S.C., begged police to call off the dogs. So officer Vincent Bazain stop-ped growling and barking. Thanks partly to his talent for imitating bloodhounds, officers have induced a number of suspects into surrendering, sometimes from hiding places in the treetops. "It works about 90 percent of the time," Bazain says.

Two New Jersey filmmakers, Chris Patak and Gerry Beyer, are - uh - relishing the day when they finish their documentary "Footlong." The film, which they say is the first to look at the people who make, sell, and consume hot dogs, is expected to be released sometime next year.

The Day's List

Where Minimum-Wage Boost Had Most Effect

Seven million Americans were due to get 40 cents more pay per hour beginning this week after a $5.15-an-hour minimum-wage law took effect. The Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, says the impact varies widely from state to state, depending on prevailing wages. Only 3 percent of workers in Hawaii were affect-ed, while the rate for Mississippi was 16.5 percent. The states where the boost had most effect and the percentage of workers benefitting in each:

1. Mississippi 16.5%

2. Louisiana 15.3%

3. Arkansas 14.8%

4. West Virginia 14.8%

5. Oklahoma 14.6%

6. Alabama 14.0%

7. North Dakota 13.6%

8. Wyoming 12.5%

9. New Mexico 12.3%

10. Texas 12.0%

- Associated Press

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