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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert KilbornLance Carden, and Vic Roberts / October 29, 1997



The US

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The US stock market appeared to be rebounding from its biggest one-day point loss, a 554-point decline in the Dow Jones industrial average. The 7.18 percent drop in the Dow was reportedly the 12th-worst in its history. Analysts predicted the decline would keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates for the rest of this year. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is scheduled to appear today before a joint congressional committee.

President Clinton and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin were to talk privately in the White House residence last night. The meeting was described as a social jump start to the more formal summit scheduled to begin today with a 21-gun salute and full honors on the South Lawn of the White House, talks in the Oval Office, a joint news conference, and a state dinner. Prior to the summit, Jiang visited colonial Williamsburg, Va.

The nomination of former House Speaker Thomas Foley (D) of Washington to be ambassador to Japan won Senate approval. The Senate also confirmed former Sen. Wyche Fowler Jr. (D) of Georgia as ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

The US is investigating the purchase of American-made supercomputers by two Russian nuclear weapons labs in defiance of an export ban. The State Department said a federal grand jury in Washington, the Commerce Department, and the US Customs Service are looking into IBM's role in the sale. The State Department denied making any statement that "could be fairly construed as indicating a US commitment to provide Russia access to these kinds of computers."

US prosecutors of a onetime Justice Department extradition chief and of another lawyer accused of committing crimes for Colombia's Cal cocaine cartel failed in their efforts to convict the two men. A jury in Miami acquitted Michael Abbell, once a top Justice official, and William Moran on the most serious charge of racketeering and deadlocked on all four other drug-related charges.

Track workers agreed to extend their strike deadline against Amtrak to Nov. 6 after making "significant progress" toward a settlement during contract talks in Washington, a Transportation Department spokesman said. It was the second one-week deadline extension. Track workers are seeking a 3.5 percent annual raise over five years. Amtrak says it cannot afford that much.

Wages and benefits paid US workers rose 0.8 percent in the July-September quarter, the Labor Department said. The moderate increase, a sign that inflation in the labor market is still relatively contained, followed an identical gain in the previous quarter.

Two leaders of a separatist group were repeatedly thrown out of court as they went on trial in Alpine, Texas. Representing themselves in the case, Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren and his chief lieutenant, Robert Otto, were ejected nine times for bombarding the judge with objections and claims of diplomatic immunity. The two are the first of five group members to be tried on charges of organized criminal activity linked to a week-long standoff with police earlier this year.

Philip Berrigan, a former Roman Catholic priest from Baltimore, was sentenced in Portland, Maine, to two years in prison for smashing equipment and spilling blood on the bridge of the destroyer USS Sullivans. At the time of the Ash Wednesday protest, the ship was under construction at the Bath Iron Works shipyard. A US District Court judge also ordered Berrigan to pay restitution for some of the damages.

Clinton signed into law a $40.1 billion bill funding the Transportation Department and related agencies, as well as a $68.4 billion bill funding the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, White House officials said.

The World

Key stock indexes fell again around the world as political and economic leaders sought to reassure investors of the underlying strength of major markets. The Hong Kong Hang Seng index closed down 13.7 percent, followed by Japan's Nikkei (4.26), and Frankfurt's DAX (8), with similar losses in South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Britain's FTSE appeared ready to close down by about 3.6 percent as the Monitor went to press, after falling 458 points in early trading.

With Saddam Hussein presiding, Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council and ruling Baath Party leaders met to decide whether they should adopt parliament's recommendation that cooperation with UN weapons inspectors be suspended. Meanwhile, Iraq was warned by two UN powers considered sympathetic to its cause - Russia and France - that such action would be unwise. Parliament's recommendation was contingent on the UN setting a timetable for ending the sanctions imposed after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.