News In Brief
President Clinton plans to meet with the Big Three automakers in Washington today to discuss ways to open markets overseas to US models. The automakers say trade relations between the US and Japan are deteriorating over slow progress in opening Japanese dealerships for the Big Three. Earlier, Clinton planned to meet with Congress to propose several changes to the settlement between the tobacco industry and state attorneys general. And he signed a stopgap bill to fund the government through Oct. 23.
House and Senate negotiators decided to continue federal funding for the arts. But the funds must be distributed more widely, and amounts to larger states will be capped. The National Endowment for the Arts was promised $98 million, a little less than was appropriated in the past fiscal year. Also, House and Senate conferees tentatively approved the sale of $208 million of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a $13 billion Interior spending bill.
The House voted to bar the use of statistical sampling in the 2000 census, saying the Census Bureau can proceed with the controversial survey method only if the Supreme Court decides it's constitutional. Statistical sampling is designed to project the number of people missed by the traditional method and would supplement the door-to-door survey. The House also passed the $31.7 billion funding bill for the departments of Commerce, State, and Justice. It provides $1.5 billion more than last year and gives the UN a first-year payment of $100 million for US-owed money in arrears.
US astronaut Scott Parazynski planned to take a stroll in space with Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Titov outside the Mir space station. The men were to retrieve four suitcase-shaped experiment boxes attached to the docking module by Americans last year. Researchers plan to test the contents for their exposure to space. Mir's crew also planned to hook up a new computer.
The White House is expecting Attorney General Janet Reno to order a formal 90-day inquiry tomorrow into allegations that Vice President Gore made dozens of phone calls from the White House to solicit campaign contribution, USA Today said. Gore has admitted making the calls, but says he acted lawfully.
WorldCom Inc., the fourth-largest US long-distance company, offered to buy MCI Communications Corp. for $30 billion. The bid came just before MCI and British Telecommunications PLC planned to close a deal.
A flurry of meteorologists was expected to blow into Washington to hear Clinton discuss the weather. Clinton wants them to report on global warming before an international conference takes place in December on reducing greenhouse gases. The forecasters also were to visit with global warming experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates unchanged. The policymakers plan to meet again Nov. 12. Also, consumer confidence rose last month, according to the Conference Board, a business research group in New York. But the sale of single-family homes fell 2.2 percent in August, it said.
Iran's foreign minister said his country is open to reestablishing relations with the US. During a rare speech in New York by an Iranian official to an American audience, Kamal Kharrazi said the election of President Mohammad Khatami has allowed the international community to "rethink" Iran. The two countries broke relations in 1979.
The skull of a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil discovered in Montana that promised evidence of a new species of dinosaur was damaged by vandals, the Earthwatch Institute said. Two-thirds of the left side of the skull is missing. The finding has been marred by an ownership dispute over the land where the fossil was found.
The Islamic militant group Hamas vowed no letup in attacks on Israel despite the release from prison of its ill founder, Sheik Ahmed Yassin. Yassin was flown to Jordan, reportedly as part of a secret deal to win the release of two Israeli agents. His arrival was greeted personally by King Hussein.
NATO troops in Bosnia seized four transmitters, taking Serb television off the air. A spokes-man said the action was in response to "highly provocative" broadcasts suggesting the UN war crimes tribunal is anti-Serb. The broadcasts were blamed on hardliners loyal to former Serb sub-state President Karadzic from studios in Pale. But NATO's move also had the effect of silencing those of rival Serbs from Banja Luka, home of Karadzic's successor, Biljana Plavsic.
How to wind down NATO's policing operation in Bosnia without jeopardizing the fragile peace was the top item on the agenda as the alliance's 16 defense ministers opened a two-day meeting in the Dutch city of Maastricht. US delegate William Cohen said NATO likely would decide by February whether to keep some kind of peacekeeping force in the ethnically split country once its current mandate expires next June.
Using tear gas and batons, Serb riot police broke up a protest by ethnic Albanians in Pristina, capital of the politically volatile province of Kosovo. An estimated 20,000 demonstrators, demanding Albanian-language classes at the city's university, had just sat down in response to an ultimatum to disperse when the police waded in.
In Belgrade, riot police dispersed thousands of demonstrators protesting the ouster of Mayor Zoran Djindic by city councillors loyal to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic allies also dismissed the pro-democracy directors of Studio B, the city's leading independent TV station.
Indonesia's forestry minister accepted responsibility for the hundreds of unchecked fires burning across the country as the deadline passed for tree plantations and timber cutters to prove they had not contributed to the choking smoke that blankets much of southeast Asia. The government has threatened to revoke the licenses of companies found to have set fires to clear their land. Reports from rural areas indicated that small land-owners were still setting fires despite orders to stop.
Two bombs exploded almost simultaneously in a crowded market in New Delhi, according to reports as the Monitor went to press. The Press Trust of India said at least 16 people were hurt. There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but previous explosions in the city have been blamed on Muslim and Sikh separatists.
Despite reports he is critically ill, Nigerian President Sani Abacha addressed the nation via television on Independence Day and offered his pro-democracy opponents no compromises. Abacha said "self-righteous dissidents" exclude themselves from serious consideration as builders of Nigeria's future.
The future of Italy's coalition government appeared in doubt after hardline leftists in Parliament said they would vote against Prime Minister Romano Prodi's proposed 1988 budget. The Communist Refoundation Party demanded a radical jobs program to reduce the country's huge unemployment backlog and opposes cuts in the generous state pension system. Nearly one-third of the proposed budget cuts targeted the pension program.
Brazilians prepared to welcome Pope John Paul II for a four-day visit to Rio de Janeiro aimed at urging Roman Catholics not to leave the church. Brazil is the world's largest Catholic nation, but evangelical movements have made significant inroads, more than tripling their membership - from 4.8 million to 15 million - since 1980.
"These are big words and they are out of place."
- Jordanian Information Minister Samir Mutawae, denying reports of a secret deal with Israel for the freedom of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin.
True story: Police in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, arrested a kidnapping suspect thanks to a phone call made by the kidnapee - from the trunk of the car that was carrying him into hiding. The victim did not know what route the vehicle was following, but he did know who had abducted him and how to describe the car. He had one other advantage as well: In haste, the suspect did not bother to check whether his hostage was carrying a cellular phone.
Then there was the telephone tip that got a talkative burglar arrested in Belgium. In August, he broke into the headquarters of a professional soccer team and stole everything that wasn't nailed down. But first, he used the team phone to call his girlfriend - three countries away, in Hungary. When the monthly phone bill arrived in the mail, with a charge for a $110 long-distance call that no one could remember making, authorities traced it to the girlfriend, who told them where to find the thief.
The Day's List
Many States Miss First Welfare-Law Deadline
Fewer than half of the 50 states expected to meet the Oct. 1 federal deadline for showing that 75 percent of all two-parent welfare families had found jobs or were at least in job-training, an Associated Press survey found. Those states could lose millions of federal dollars, although it is unclear whether President Clinton will seek to impose fines. The following states said it was certain they would fail to meet the requirement, aimed at reducing welfare rolls: