News In Brief

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The US

President Clinton named David Satcher as his choice to be US surgeon general. Dr. Satcher is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If confirmed, he would take up a job vacant since December 1994, when Joycelyn Elders resigned after suggesting that schoolchildren be taught about masturbation. Clinton nominated Dr. Henry Foster in 1995, but removed him from consideration when it became clear he had performed more abortions than he originally admitted.

The president reportedly is standing by his nominee to be ambassador to Mexico - even after conservative Sen. Jesse Helms (R) of North Carolina stonewalled attempts late last week to give moderate fellow Republican William Weld a Senate hearing. The White House said Clinton would seek new ways to circumvent Helms, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. During a highly charged 30-minute special meeting of the group, Helms lashed out at the news media, fellow senators, and Weld, a former Massachusetts governor.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Jeb Bush filed as a Republican candidate for governor of Florida, three years after losing the state's closest gubernatorial election. Bush, a real estate developer from Miami and the son of former President George Bush, lost the 1994 race to incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles by about 80,000 votes out of 4.2 million on the same day his elder brother, George, won the Texas governorship. In Florida, the state constitution bars Chiles from seeking a third term as governor.

Southern California was braced for a pounding from hurricane Linda late Sunday, today, and tomorrow. The hurricane, although weakening, is the strongest on record for the eastern Pacific. It was expected to diminish only gradually as it moved north from the coast of Mexico, because waters off California are relatively warm due to a weather pattern known as El Nino, which occurs every few years. Trade winds that usually push storms out to sea have also been suppressed by El Nio.

A tentative labor accord ended a six-day transit strike in San Francisco. Union and management officials of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the area's biggest commuter-rail system, apologized to commuters who had clogged freeways or joined long bus and ferry lines to get to work last week. Striking union members began reporting to work over the weekend and were expected to ratify the agreement this week.

The head of the American Legion called on the US military to offer separate-sex boot camps. Anthony Jordan, newly elected commander of the 2.9-million-member legion, said the considerable pressures of basic training are increased by mixing male and female recruits. Meanwhile, The Washington Post said the Army plans to toughen fitness tests for female soldiers after a survey found that the current relatively easy tests for women irritate male soldiers.

A secret Air Force study indicated that a tremor thought to be a Russian nuclear test occurred under water, indicating it was probably an earthquake. The report reached no conclusion, but tended to support denials by Russian officials that they had conducted a nuclear test Aug. 16 on the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya.

Boeing Co. filed suit against US Airways Group Inc. over the airline's decision to cancel an order for 48 jets valued at $2.2 billion and instead place a huge order with Airbus Industrie, a European manufacturer, Last November, Boeing declared the airline in default when it failed to make a $3 million partial payment on eight Boeing 757s scheduled for delivery in 1998. Shortly afterward, US Airways placed an order for 120 Airbus jets valued at more than $5 billion, with an option to buy an additional 280.

The space shuttle Atlantis will blast off Sept. 25 for the Russian space station Mir, the US space agency announced. Atlantis, which is scheduled to link up with Mir Sept. 27, is to pick up British-born US astronaut Michael Foale from the troubled space station and drop off his replacement, David Wolf. The shuttle also will deliver about 7,000 pounds of supplies and repair gear to the Russian outpost.

The World

No incidents of violence were reported in Bosnia as voters completed two days of municipal elections. International mediators said they were pleased with the first local balloting in 3-1/2 years, in which tens of thousands of people crossed ethnic dividing lines to vote. But many Croats heeded calls by their largest political party to boycott the election.

Arab governments should do everything possible to deny financial aid to Hamas and other radical Islamic groups, Secretary of State Albright told a meeting of Gulf-state foreign ministers in Saudi Arabia. She urged them to funnel aid instead to the struggling Palestinian Authority. And she issued a plea for Arab states to attend a November economic conference in Qatar, which Saudi Arabia and others say they will boycott if Israel attends.

Between 10,000 and 40,000 Israelis turned out for a rally against Prime Minister Netan-yahu Saturday, according to estimates. The event, in Tel Aviv, commemorated the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Oslo peace accords between their country and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Protesters called for Netanyahu to resign for what former Prime Minister Shimon Peres said were his efforts "to break Oslo."

For the first time, the political ally of the Irish Republican Party was due to join negotiations today on the political future of Northern Ireland. Two small Protestant unionist parties refuse to sit at the same table with Sinn Fein at the talks in Belfast. But the province's largest pro-British group, the Ulster Unionist Party, said it would be present, at least for the opening session.

Members of the Missionaries of Charity vowed their work "will go on,"even if the death of Mother Teresa makes future fund-raising more difficult. An estimated 12,000 people - among them representatives of 47 countries - attended the funeral of the Nobel Prize-winning nun Saturday.

In New Delhi, senior diplomats from India and Pakistan were to meet today for the first of four days of talks on making peace. Progress made at earlier talks in March and June was undercut by heavier-than-usual artillery fire across their common border over the summer. The prime ministers of the two rivals planned to follow up this week's sessions with a face-to-face meeting Sept. 24 in New York.

To try to calm tensions over the political future of Philippines President Fidel Ramos, his government was to open a series of grass-roots "consultations" today on amending the Constitution so he could seek a second term. The tensions increased last week when a senior military official announced his troops were ready to impose martial law. Opponents, led by business leaders and the Roman Catholic Church, plan a massive rally Sept. 21 against amending the charter.

Leftist Zapatista rebels were welcomed to Mexico City by Mayor-elect Cuauhtmoc Crdenas, calling the capital "your home." To revive support for their cause, 1,100 masked Zapatistas traveled to the capital by bus from the impoverished state of Chiapas. Crdenas pledged to help the group's civilian wing, the Zapatista National Liberation Front, pursue demands for greater Indian rights, redistribution of land, and increased jobs through nonviolence.

Polling booths opened Sunday in Norway, where national elections revolved around the issue of how to distribute the country's oil wealth. Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland said his minority Labor government would quit if it did not get at least 37 percent of the vote. Analysts said the rightist Progress Party was likely to make the most gains, based on calls for using oil revenues to improve medical care and give the elderly larger pensions.

"Oslo was no mistake. The Netanyahyu government is the big mistake."

- Ex-Prime Minister Shimon Peres at an anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv on the fourth anniversary of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

Etceteras

When public schools in six states banned high-maintenance virtual pets, the latest fad in toys, kids begged their parents for help in looking after the cyber critters during classes. But who helps the parents, often busy in their own right? One solution, from Cape Cod Potato Chips in Hyannis, Mass.: an employee-staffed electronic-pet day-care center.

The government of Honduras has given the term false advertising a whole new meaning. The Central American nation, one of only 30 that officially recognize the government of Taiwan, bought full-page newspaper ads welcoming President Lee Teng-hui on a tour of the region. But by mistake, the ads pictured Lee with the flag of Taiwan's bitter rival, communist China. "Oops, sorry," his hosts said.

Then there's the case of a Pittsburgh man cited by police after an alcohol-related mishap on his bicycle. He was told he could avoid trial by - among other things - surrendering his driver's license for 30 days. But he doesn't drive, own a car, or have a license. "I see loads of irony here," his attorney remarked, noting that authorities have put the man in the position of having to obtain a license just so it can be suspended.

The Day's List

Employee Vacations Vary Widely in Worldwide Poll

A Union Bank of Switzerland report indicates western Europeans enjoy on average the world's longest paid vacations - and Asians the shortest - based on a weighted average of 11 professions. The top and bottom five among the 55 cities surveyed, with their average paid vacation days per year:

Longest Vacations

1. Berlin 30.0

(tie) Frankfurt 30.0

3. Helsinki, Finland 26.9

4. Amsterdam 26.6

(tie) Bombay 26.6

Shortest Vacations

1. Shanghai, China 1.2

2. Mexico City 8.7

3. Taipei, Taiwan 9.0

4. Jakarta, Indonesia 9.4

5. Bangkok, Thailand 9.8

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