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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert Kilborn and Cynthia Hanson / May 7, 1998

A federal judge rejected a White House plea of executive privilege designed to prevent senior aides from testifying for independent counsel Kenneth Starr.. Sources close to the case in Washington said Judge Norma Holloway Johnson had rejected arguments that advisers Bruce Lindsey and Sidney Blumenthal should be allowed to keep some conversations with President Clinton private.

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Prosecutors disbanded the Whitewater grand jury in Little Rock, Ark. During two years of sifting evidence of questionable financial and legal dealings in Arkansas by Clinton and his wife, Hillary, the jury produced a single indictment - that of former Clinton business associate Susan McDougal.

Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina primaries set the stage for three Senate races in November:

- In North Carolina, attorney John Edwards won his first bid for public office, capturing the Democratic nomination over six opponents. Edwards will face GOP incumbent Lauch Faircloth, who is seeking a second term.

- In Ohio, Gov. George Voinovich easily won the GOP Senate nomination. His Democratic opponent will be Mary Boyle, a county commissioner who had no opposition.

- In Indiana, former Democratic Gov. Evan Bayh faced no opposition. In the GOP contest, Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke beat out two Indianapolis lawyers, Peter Rusthoven and John Price. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Helmke got 35 percent of the vote, Price 33 percent, Rusthoven 31 percent.

Democrats running for House seats where there are no incumbents may have a surprising cash advantage over GOP opponents, a report by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said. Democrats reportedly raised an average of $188,000 to Republicans' $112,000 in the 15 months ending March 31 in contests for open House seats. Overall, however, Republicans raised an average of $380,000, for each House contest, compared to $324,000 for Democrats.

The Congressional Budget Office changed its projections, forecasting a federal surplus for fiscal 1998 of $43 billion to $63 billion. In its formal March estimate, the CBO had foreseen an $8 billion surplus. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department said it will no longer sell three-year notes after May because emerging surpluses mean the US will need to borrow less.

House minority leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri said Democrats would not hold up US contributions to the International Monetary Fund. Backing away from a statement last week, Gephardt said opposing IMF funding would be wrong, despite uneasiness among some Democrats with the agency's push to open capital markets around the world.

A survey of young viewers indicated their awareness of racial stereotypes on TV programs. Children perceive more negative depictions of blacks and Hispanics than of whites and Asians, researchers said after surveying 1,200 youths aged 10 to 17. Conducted for Children Now, an advocacy group based in Oakland, Calif., the poll indicated children more often associate positive qualities - such as leadership and intelligence - with white characters and negative qualities - from lawbreaking to financial hardship - with minority characters.

A top GOP aide involved in the House probe of campaign fund-raising quit as the panel's chairman sought to contain criticism of his handling of the politically charged investigation. Rep. Dan Burton (R) of Indiana told reporters that David Bossie had "chosen to resign" in the wake of controversy over the release of edited excerpts of Webster Hubbell's jailhouse phone conversations.

Orders for manufactured goods rose moderately in March as demand for industrial equipment and electronic devices helped to offset plummeting aircraft orders, the Commerce Department said. New orders increased by 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted $336.23 billion.

The World

Currency and stock trading in Indonesia both took major hits as worry mounted over the ongoing violence fueled by new commodity-price increases and the unpopularity of President Suharto. The rupiah fell 11 percent against the US dollar; the main stock-price index lost 4.7 percent. At least one protester died and dozens of others were hurt as police and rioters clashed in Jakarta, Ban- dung Medan, and other cities.

In what could become history's biggest industrial merger, German luxury carmaker Daimler-Benz confirmed it was negotiating with Chrysler Corp., the No. 3 US automaker. The Wall Street Journal estimated the value of the combined companies at $35 billion.