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Secretary of State Albright left Washington for her first official visit to the Middle East, with a Clinton administration spokesman saying she would attempt to convince Israel and the Palestinians that they have a common destiny in peacemaking. Asked whether she also would press for reconsideration of the old formula of trading land for peace, the spokesman said, "Yes." But the White House denied that she would try to pressure the two parties into reopening peace negotiations.
No one in the White House ordered the Democratic Party to bend the rules on raising funds for political campaigns, former chairman Don Fowler told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. In an opening statement, Fowler took responsibility for mistakes made by the party's national committee during the 1995-96 election cycle. But he said they were errors of "process, not intent." The party has returned $3 million illegally donated in that period, much of it from Asian business interests.
Army Gen. Henry Shelton, President Clinton's new choice to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed to confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Dan Coats (R) of Indiana, a member of the panel, called Shelton "a terrific selection" who "will be easily confirmed."
US businesses increased their productivity at the fastest pace in 3-1/2 years between April and June, the Labor Department reported. It measured the gain at 2.7 percent, 1.3 percent higher than in the first quarter of the year.
Cigarette makers vowed to fight a $14 billion lawsuit filed by the state of Texas and said they would cut no more deals to pay for the treatment of ill smokers. The suit is scheduled to be heard in Texarkana beginning Sept. 29. Attorneys for the defendants said the industry stand was based on concerns that a tentative $368.5 nationwide settlement had bogged down in Congress and might not pass.
Attempts by gambling operators to solicit business in Minnesota via the Internet may be regulated by the state, a court in St. Paul ruled. In its opinion, the Court of Appeals said Las Vegas-based Granite Gate Resorts Inc. "purposefully availed [itself] of the privilege of doing business in Minnesota" and was successful in at least one solicitation. The company argued that the courts lacked jurisdiction because it had not mailed material to the state or paid to advertise in any media there.
Damages totaling $3.4 billion were awarded to New Orleans residents who claimed they had been harmed physically and emotionally by a 1987 railroad tank-car explosion. Some 8,000 people in a 200-block area were evacuated after a cargo of butadiene, a petrochemical, leaked and caught fire. Hardest-hit by the jury's decision was CSX Transportation, which was ordered to pay $2.5 billion of the amount. Defense attorneys called the award "outrageous" and vowed a prompt appeal.
A Philadelphia man should be stripped of his US citizenship for service to Nazi Germany in 1943, the Justice Department said. It accused Fedir Kwoczak of helping to kill thousands of Polish Jews while acting as a guard for the Hitler regime. Kwoczak told US immigration authorities in 1949 that he had worked on farms in Germany and Poland during World War II.
A low-cost automobile body that is made of plastic was to be unveiled by Chrysler in what the company said could be a breakthrough to allow sales of cars in the developing word for as little as $6,000. The process was to be demonstrated at an international auto show in Germany. The body will be made of predyed, crushed Fiberglas designed to stand up to the ultraviolet rays of the sun - unlike earlier cars with plastic bodies - Chrysler said.
A two-day exam for promotion to the rank of inspector was canceled by the San Francisco Police Department after discovery that the questions had been leaked to some of the candidates. The test, given every five to seven years, was to be taken by 700 officers. An internal investigation was ordered.
NATO troops evacuated Bosnian Serb leaders loyal to war- crimes suspect Radovan Karad-zic from a hotel in Banja Luka, ending a standoff with supporters of Serb sub-state President Biljana Plavsic. Peacekeepers escorted the hardliners to NATO vehicles through an angry crowd of Plavsic backers who had surrounded the building. The evacuation came one day after NATO troops prevented buses carrying Karadzic supporters from entering the city.
Sinn Fein became the 10th and final party to enter Northern Ireland's peace talks by joining a declaration renouncing the use of violence. The leader of the party allied with the Irish Republican Army, Gerry Adams, signed the so-called Mitchell Principles in Belfast. The talks, chaired by former US Senate majority leader George Mitchell, are to resume Monday.