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Secret Service employees must answer grand-jury questions in the Monica Lewinsky inquiry, a US appeals court declared. The panel of three GOP-appointed judges rejected arguments that Secret Service agents should be exempted from grand-jury questioning because their testimony could jeopardize a president's security. There was no immediate word on whether the Clinton administration would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, ask the full appeals court to hear the case, or abide by the decision.
Clinton endorsed a bill designed to limit children's access to guns by encouraging the use of "trigger locks" or other security mechanisms on stored weapons. The proposal by US Sen. Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois and Sen. John Chafee (R) of Rhode Island would impose penalties on owners when juveniles get hold of their guns and use them against another person, show them in a public place, or take them to school. Penalties would not apply when the owner has used a trigger lock or kept the weapon in locked storage.
The Senate agreed to debate product-liability legislation designed to protect businesses from abusive and costly lawsuits. Clinton vetoed a 1996 proposal, but supporters of a scaled-down version say it has his backing. The compromise sets a $250,000 cap only on punitive damages against small companies and individuals. It applies to firms with $5 million or less in annual revenues and 25 or fewer employees. Lobbyists have worked frenetically on both sides of the issue.
Special interests reported spending $1.17 billion last year to lobby Congress and the federal bureaucracy, a study of disclosure reports indicated. In all, companies, labor unions, interest groups, and municipalities reported hiring 14,484 lobbyists, a host that outnumbers members of Congress 27 to 1, according to the computer analysis. The most heavily lobbied issues: the budget, taxes, health, transportation, and defense.
Federal, state, and local governments allow chronic, widespread police brutality, the nation's largest human-rights group said. In a detailed report on police behavior in 14 of the largest US cities, Human Rights Watch said blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately victimized. The National Association of Chiefs of Police characterized the report as unfair and disgusting.
The Senate defeated an effort to end US participation in the international space station - an attempt to send a permanent manned laboratory into orbit. The vote was 66 to 33. By the time it is operational, the joint project with Russia, Canada, Japan, and European countries is projected to cost the US $100 billion. Critics say the bill will be much higher.
The Commerce Department eased export requirements on data-scrambling computer-secrecy software. As a result, US software firms will no longer need export licenses for sales of encryption programs to foreign banks, security firms, brokers, and credit-card companies in 45 countries that enforce strong money-laundering laws.
Democratic Party fund-raiser Maria Hsia was indicted on tax charges by a US grand jury in Los Angeles, the Justice Department said. In February, a grand jury in Washington indicted Hsia for allegedly conspiring to use corporate money belonging to a Buddhist temple to make illegal campaign donations to Clinton's reelection campaign.
Terry Nichols lost his bid for a new trial in the Oklahoma City bombing case. A US district judge in Denver dismissed defense arguments that deliberations were tainted because jurors held improper conver- sations. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, which killed 168 people in April 1995. He has filed notice of intent to appeal.
The number of registered vehicles in the US has topped 200 million for the first time, an annual study of state registrations revealed. The report from the Polk Co. in Detroit said just over 201 million cars and trucks were registered during the year that ended June 30.
Nigeria's major cities were battlegrounds as soldiers and police tried to contain mobs of rioters unwilling to accept the official version of Moshood Abiola's death. At least 14 people were reported killed in the violence. The popular opposition leader died of what doctors called cardiac arrest as he awaited release from prison by the military government. Amid the violence, new President Abubakar disbanded his Cabinet. He was expected to discuss the situation in detail in an address to the nation.