News In Brief

The US

Congressionally imposed sanctions make it "impossible" to conduct foreign policy, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright complained on CNN. The US has imposed automatic sanctions on India and Pakistan for exploding nuclear test devices. Congress also is considering proposals to use sanctions against nations accused of religious persecution, against Russia for selling nuclear technology to Iran, and against China for its human-rights record.

A teacher and a member of the school staff were wounded in a shooting at a Richmond, Va., high school. Police spokesman Bill Chorney said two suspects were in custody after the incident in a hallway at Armstrong High. The attack was the latest in a recent series of school-related shootings that have occurred throughout the country.

Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr came under attack after saying he had briefed reporters about the Monica Lewinsky inquiry. In excerpts from an interview with Steven Brill, editor of Brill's Content magazine, Starr was quoted as saying he spoke privately with reporters "on some occasions." Brill accused Starr of abusing his authority, and the White House called for an inquiry into alleged violations of grand-jury secrecy rules.

A plan that might put US troops on the Mexico border to battle drugs and illegal immigrants drew fire from the governor of Arizona. A House proposal that would authorize the military to join civilian law-enforcement agencies on the border would create "a terrifying image that threatens our very nature as a peaceful nation," Gov. Jane Hull (R) said in a letter to her state's senior US senator, John McCain. Ohio Rep. James Traficant (D) said his amendment would not deploy troops but merely authorize the Pentagon to do so if requested by the US attorney general or Treasury secretary.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center defended its latest Holocaust report, even after it was criticized by the famed Nazi hunter for whom the center is named. Simon Wiesenthal told a Swiss newspaper the document contained "unreliable generalizations." His comment came after State Department spokesman James Rubin denied the premise of the report - aired last week on ABC News - that most Swiss sympathized with the Nazis. Swiss President Flavio Cotti said the document by historian Alan Schom "insults an entire generation."

Goldman, Sachs & Co. decided to end the last major private partnership on Wall Street by selling as much as 15 percent of the investment company's stock to the public. The offering will probably occur this fall, the firm said in a statement. A public offering would, analysts said, give Goldman the currency it needs to buy other firms and strengthen areas where it is at a disadvantage in competition with rapidly expanding competitors.

State prison inmates are protected by a federal law that bans discrimination against the disabled, the US Supreme Court ruled. The unanimous ruling will allow a former Pennsylvania prisoner to sue over his exclusion from a boot-camp program that could have shortened his sentence.

Republicans may have little to fear in the approaching mid-term congressional elections, a new poll suggested. In a survey by the Pew Research Institute, 46 percent of respondents favored Democrats and 44 percent Republicans. As recently as March, Democrats held a 52 -to-40 percent advantage in the Pew survey.

A Louisville, Ky., social worker began a bid to become the first woman to row solo across the North Atlantic. Tori Murden began the summer-long, 3,635-mile journey toward France from Oregon Inlet near Nags Head, N.C. She is rowing an 800-pound boat stocked with 700 pounds of food and gear, including stacks of audio tapes.

The World

NATO warplanes thundered over the southern Balkans in a warning to Yugoslav President Milosevic that he faced his last opportunity to avoid a military strike. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said the jets demonstrated the alliance's resolve to act over "this terrible problem of Kosovo." But Russia expressed displeasure, saying it had not been informed. Meanwhile, Milosevic was due in Moscow for talks on the crisis with Russian President Yeltsin.

"All or many of" the US economic sanctions against China could be lifted "in the not-too-distant future" because of the latter's progress in human rights, Ambassador James Sasser said. He gave no time-table but said Chinese officials were increasingly willing to discuss the issue with their US counterparts. He also noted a willingness to allow outsiders to tour restive Tibet, plus the recent releases from prison of dissidents Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan. But he said it was unlikely President Clinton's visit next week would bring additional releases.

Financial markets across Asia took another beating, and China blasted Japan and the US for failing to halt the slide of the yen. The yen was trading as low as 146 to the dollar, causing stock indices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Malaysia, and the Philippines to plunge. Financial newspapers in Beijing said US and Japanese inaction on the yen were making it difficult to honor a pledge not to devalue China's currency, the renminbi.

Without elaborating, UN weapons-inspection chief Richard Butler said he sensed Iraq has become serious about dismantling its strategic-weapons arsenal and could soon be free of punitive sanctions. Butler was preparing to leave Baghdad after agreeing to end UN arms-inspection activities by August "provided Iraq fulfills its promises."

Moving to dispel concerns that mass protests would sweep across Russia if its economic woes were not reversed, the Kremlin announced it would unveil an "anti-crisis" program tomorrow. Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov said it would include measures to combat the downturn, which - since late last month - has sparked concerns that the ruble would be devalued and inflation would increase sharply.

Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to halt their air war under a truce brokered by Clinton. Eritrean officials said they hoped it would lead to the end of all hostilities, but an Ethiopian spokeswoman said her country would defend itself again "if our sovereignty is under threat." The resolution came after Clinton spoke to the leaders of both countries by phone.

The reputation of British soccer fans was once again in shambles after a pregame street brawl with police and followers of Tunisia's World Cup team in Marseilles, France. It resulted in 37 injuries and more than 50 arrests. Prime Minister Tony Blair called the behavior of the rioters a "total disgrace," and analysts said the incident seriously damaged Britain's hopes to serve as host of the World Cup in 2006. British fans developed a reputation for hooliganism in the 1980s that led to a four-year ban from European competition.

After winning a promise to respond to their demands by Friday, union leaders in Surinam called off a five-day nationwide strike that had closed schools and halted most economic activity. President Jules Wijdenbosch, who offered the pledge, is under pressure to resign because of his widely unpopular plan to privatize the government-owned oil and banana companies. Surinam is the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti.

Etceteras

" We're going to think about tomorrow tomorrow and the next day the next day."

- Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, on speculation that the team's coach and top stars may not return next season after winning their sixth NBA championship in eight years.

Maggi Scott teaches school in Middlesbrough, England, and could not arrange enough time off to attend her daughter's wedding on the south Atlantic island of St. Helena. But she wasn't about to miss it. Solution: a "virtual" wedding, staged in the family's backyard that brought assembled guests the entire ceremony via a live telephone hookup. The happy couple were represented by appropriately attired mannequins borrowed from a store.

Trust the Japanese to add a little spice to the global technology race. Summoning every ounce of their inventive genius, engineers for Sumitomo Electric have found a way to keep rodents from chewing through the company's fiber-optic cables. Protecting the strands is a polyethylene layer coated with . . . synthetic red pepper. Laboratory tests show it repels mice but is environmentally benign and harmless to humans - except for a tendency to cause sneezing.

The Day's List

The Teams Are Women's, But Their Coaches Aren't

At a time when women's sports enjoy their highest visibility, a new study indicates most of the jobs coaching women's teams go to men. A report from Brooklyn College shows that at every level of intercollegiate athletics, men now hold 52.6 percent of head-coaching positions for such teams. That's a long way from the 90 percent the study says were coached by women in 1972, when Title IX legislation banned gender discrimination at schools receiving federal funds. The following shows the decline in alternate years over the past two decades of women coaching women's college teams:

1998 47.4%

1996 47.7%

1994 49.4%

1992 48.3%

1990 47.3%

1988 48.3%

1986 50.6%

1984 53.8%

1982 52.4%

1980 54.2%

1978 58.2%

- Associated Press

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