News In Brief

The US

Three Buddhist nuns from California were to describe how they helped to launder illegal contributions to the Democratic Party as Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearings resumed in Washington. Their testimony was to follow a Justice Department announcement of a "formal review" of allegations that Vice President Gore had broken federal law by soliciting campaign contributions from his White House office. Gore addressed a fund-raiser at a Buddhist temple near Los Angeles April 26, 1996, at which nuns were reimbursed for checks they wrote to the Democratic National Committee.

Japan's three largest shipping companies were slapped with US sanctions after the Tokyo government failed to meet a deadline for eliminating restrictive practices against American shippers. Mitsui, Nippon Yusen, and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha each will be fined $100,000 when its next ship arrives at a US port. The penalties were to have taken effect in April but were postponed at the request of the Clinton administration to allow time for Japan to take corrective action.

Gov. Fife Symington (R) of Arizona planned to leave office today after his conviction in federal court on seven counts of fraud related to earlier activities as a real-estate developer. He was cleared of three charges; the jury deadlocked on 11 others. Symington could be jailed for life and fined $6.25 million when sentencing is imposed Nov. 10. His duties will be assumed by Secretary of State Jane Hull since Arizona has no lieutenant governor.

California's law requiring contractors on public-works projects to share some of the construction with women- or minority-owned companies was struck down. A federal appeals court in San Francisco said the objective of the set-aside statute was laudable but that it violated the equal protection clause of the US Constitution. The suit that prompted the ruling was filed by a contractor whose low bid on a major project at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo was disqualified because it did not meet the requirements of the statute.

A slight increase in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits was announced by the Labor Department. It said first-time claims rose by 2,000 last week, to 326,000, despite expectations that the number would decline by about that many. The four-week average, considered a more reliable measure of job-market stability, also rose - to 326,500, the department said.

Factory orders inched higher in July, to a seasonally adjusted record $330 billion, the Commerce Department said. It also said the backlog of unfilled orders - another sign of a brisk economic pace - fell 0.5 percent in July, the first drop since April.

Beginning in January, Americans can once again access details on their Social Security benefits via the Internet, the government said. The on-line feature was suspended in April, four weeks after it began, because of concerns that sensitive personal information could fall into the wrong hands. The Social Security Administration said new safeguards, such as a verification code, had been installed.

Small companies say their customers are losing patience because of continuing delivery delays - two weeks after settlement of the Teamsters strike against United Parcel Service, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said UPS still is struggling to return staffing levels to normal and that users claim the shipper is unable to provide clear explanations of the problem.

Supporters of a physician accused of molesting female patients turned on a photographer attempting to shoot news pictures after a court session near Pittsburgh. Scott LaClair of the Uniontown, Pa., Herald-Standard was shoved and prevented from using his camera as a crowd chanted, "Remember Princess Diana!" Police, who said LaClair had done nothing wrong, charg-ed two men with harassment and disorderly conduct.

The World

Three devices apparently carried by suicide bombers exploded in Jerusalem, killing at least six people and wounding 165 others. The Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility. Israel's Army quickly reimposed a full closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip following the blasts in a pedestrian mall packed with shoppers. The attack cast doubt on next week's scheduled visit to the region by Secretary of State Albright, who had hoped to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto arrived in Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders. Hashimoto is expected to address China's concern that Japan's expanding alliance with the US might oblige Tokyo to respond militarily to crises near Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province. The four-day visit also marks 25 years of Sino-Japan diplomatic ties.

Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui defied China by flying to Panama for an international conference. Despite China's objection, Lee was due to make an overnight stop in Hawaii before attending the Sept. 7-10 Panama Canal conference. But to spare the White House embarrassment, Taiwanese officials said Lee would shun public functions.

Queen Elizabeth II planned to make a radio address to the British people today after increased criticism of her silence following the automobile crash in Paris that killed Diana, Princess of Wales. The queen said she and her family "have been hurt by suggestions that they are indifferent" to Britain's sorrow following Diana's death. British newspapers lambasted the queen for her refusal to bend protocol and publicly express her grief prior to tomorrow's funeral.

Thailand's parliament opened debate on a draft constitution to revamp the country's electoral system. Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said the document contained flaws that went against the "democracy system." But he did not indicate which way he would vote. By requiring politicians to declare their assets, the charter aims to reform Thailand's patronage-oriented political system, which has been blamed for the country's current economic woes.

Share prices plunged on Malaysia's stock market as the country's currency, the ringgit, reached a 24-year low against the US dollar. Analysts say Malaysia has been affected by the currency instability that began in neighboring Thailand in July.

The Mir crew continued preparations for tomorrow's six-hour spacewalk to locate and patch holes in the space station's Spektr module, which was damaged in a collision with an unmanned cargo ship in June. US astronaut Michael Foale is expected to work alongside Mir commander Anatoly Solovyov. Meanwhile, a Russian space agency official said Mir will crash into the Pacific Ocean in 1999, shortly after the Alpha international space station is built.

The Comoros government said its forces recaptured all strategic points on Anjouan after its troops landed on the secessionist island off Africa's Indian Ocean coast earlier this week. There was no independent confirmation of the claim. Anjou-an and Moheli - two of the three islands that make up the country - seceded last month, claiming the government of President Mohamed Taki was corrupt.

Heavy fighting broke out between troops of Sierra Leone's military junta and Nigerian-led peacekeepers. At least 11 people were killed by the shelling in the capital, Freetown, where the Nigerians are trying to enforce an economic blockade designed to restore President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to power. Kabbah was ousted in a May 25 coup.

"We are ready to coordinate with the Israeli side and to cooperate with them to face

this terrorism and this criminal act."

- Palestinian Authority Cabinet secretary Ahmed Abdel Rahman, following the latest suicide bombings in Jerusalem.


It's hard to know what to make of the situation confronting Sheriff Joel Behne of Des Moines County, Iowa. Some of his deputies filed a grievance against him for insisting that their names be painted on the county's patrol cars, which they take home with them when off duty. The deputies don't want the public to know where they live, for safety reasons. Their concern for anonymity extends to the grievance, too. None of them signed it.

To celebrate its - uh - brief history as the Underwear Capital of the World, Piqua, Ohio, is preparing for next month's annual two-day festival. The event features a race called the "Undie 500." No, the schedule does not have any contests for boxers.

In case you were wondering, the market for Diana look-alikes all but disappeared with the Princess of Wales's death. Celebrity doubles agencies say it may be many years before women who closely resemble her can make public appearances without complaints about being in bad taste. Some professional Diana doubles commanded fees of $3,200 a day for such assignments.

The Day's List

Top Men Struggle at US Open Tennis Tournament

The US Open headed into its final weekend with only a handful of the top male singles players remaining. In the most surprising upset, American Pete Sampras lost to the Czech Republic's Petr Korda. Sampras was bidding for his fifth Open title. The following are the top multiple US Open champions in men's and women's singles and the number of titles each has won:


1. Richard Sears 7

2. William Larned 7

3. Bill Tilden 7

4. JImmy Connors 5

5. Three players tied at 4


1. Molla Bjurstedt Mallory 8

2. Helen Wills Moody 7

3. Chris Evert 6

4. Steffi Graf 5

5. Margaret Smith Court 5

- Sportsline USA, Inc.

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