News In Brief

The US

President Clinton vetoed a bill authorizing tax-free education savings accounts. He said the GOP-backed plan to allow such accounts of up to $2,000 a year to cover education expenses - including parochial-school tuition - would mostly benefit the rich at the expense of public schools. The bill passed both the Senate and House on votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

The House gave the National Endowment for the Arts a strong endorsement. Citing congressionally mandated reforms, 58 Republicans joined Democrats in a 253-to-173 vote providing $98 million for the agency in fiscal 1999, the same amount as the current year. A year ago, the House voted 217 to 216 to abolish the agency, after which the Senate and White House stepped in to restore funding.

Lawyers for General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union began arguments in Detroit before independent arbitrator Thomas Roberts. Earlier, a federal judge had formally ordered the two sides to submit to binding arbitration over the legality of union strikes against the automaker. In doing so, District Judge Paul Gadola signalled his intention to enforce any decisions made by Roberts in the case.

A key Senate panel approved $18 billion for the International Monetary Fund, setting up a likely battle with House lawmakers who say the agency is mismanaged. IMF funding was attached to a $12.6 billion foreign-operations bill the Appropriations Committee sent to the full Senate. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee put off, probably until September, a debate scheduled for yesterday on the IMF measure. A House subcommittee recommended only $3.4 billion in IMF funding.

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr asked an appeals court to overturn a judge's ruling on how much he must disclose in a dispute with Clinton's lawyers over alleged grand-jury leaks, legal sources said. Starr has denied the allegations, but district Judge Norma Holloway Johnson has initiated a "show cause" proceeding in which evidence would be gathered, and the burden shifts to prosecutors to convince her they were not the source of leaks, the sources said. Starr also asked the appeals court to stop Johnson from acting in the leaks case, they said.

A Los Angeles superior court judge told California to stop paying its bills, its employees, and its retirees until state lawmakers either approve emergency funds or sign off on a spending plan for the 1998-99 fiscal year. State Controller Kathleen Connell said she would appeal the ruling, which blocks her from making more than $4 billion in payments through the end of July.

Millionaire businessman Guy Millner led Georgia's GOP gubernatorial primary, but it was not immediately clear whether he would avoid a runoff. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Millner had 50 percent of the votes, compared to 40 percent for Attorney General Mike Bowers. Democrats will need a runoff. State Rep. Roy Barnes and Secretary of State Lewis Massey will be on the ballot again Aug. 11 after finishing ahead of four others. Barnes had 49 percent of the votes; Massey had 28 percent.

Astronaut Alan Shepard, who died in Monterey, Calif., was the first American to fly in space and one of only 12 Americans to walk on the moon. Shepard was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts named by the US space agency in April 1959. On May 5, 1961, he made a 15-minute suborbital flight - five of those minutes in space - aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft. Shepard returned to space for his second and last space flight as commander of Apollo 14 on Jan. 31, 1971.

Clinton signed legislation designed to help preserve sites on the "underground railroad" that helped slaves escape from the South prior to the Civil War. The new statute authorizes the National Park Service to spend $500,000 a year for programs connected with the sites.

The World

Israel pleaded for Washington to revive the deadlocked Mid-east peace process, even as Palestinians indicated they were not inclined to participate in more talks. Israel and the Palestinians concluded three days of talks with no apparent progress. A senior Palestinian adviser called on the US to step up pressure on Israel, saying the country had rejected peace proposals but made no new offers. Israel's defense minister said another summit, with US involvement, was crucial.

Kosovo could face a major "humanitarian disaster" this winter if fighting does not stop soon, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe warned. The head of a visiting OSCE mission said the international community must give top priority to ending the war between ethnic Albanians and Serb forces because the two sides "are obviously no longer capable of finding the solution alone." Meanwhile, the UN Security Council voted to expand its peacekeeping force in neighboring Macedonia by some 300 troops.

Iran's new interior minister called for the government to become more tolerant of opponents and diverse ideas shortly before the country's conservative parliament voted in favor of his appointment. Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari said "real security" could only be achieved when people felt free to express themselves. The vote was a victory for Iran's popular, reformist President Mohammad Khatami, who nominated Mousavi-Lari for the position.

A third round of talks aimed at resolving the tense standoff in Portadown, Northern Ireland, failed to produce an agreement. But go-betweens said some progress was made - and there were indications the Protestant Orange Order and residents of the Catholic neighborhood through which they want to march would continue negotiations. A suspect from Ballymoney, northwest of Belfast, was charged with the murder of three young brothers during an arson attack July 12 at the height of the Orange Order protests. Thomas Robert Garfield Gilmour denied the charges.

Vice President Al Gore was to visit the Chernobyl nuclear power plant today to discuss a new international effort to rebuild the complex. The Ukraine's most infamous landmark, site of the world's worst nuclear accident, has steadily deteriorated, raising concerns radioactive materials could leak out.

In a bid to assure voters will be safe during Sunday's troubled elections, Cambodia's military chief said 95,000 security personnel would be deployed around the country. Political opponents said deployment of forces controlled by leader Hun Sen would do little to stop voter intimidation and fraud.

A French lawyer for families of the victims of TWA Flight 800, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet that exploded off Long Island in 1996, urged legal experts to speed up their inquiry and open the way for a criminal investigation against Boeing and the airline. The lawyer said in Paris he was convinced the investigating magistrate would be persuaded to probe the group's charge that Boeing and TWA were guilty of involuntary manslaughter through negligence in the plane's design and maintenance. All 230 passengers onboard the Paris-bound TWA flight died in the crash.

Four UN workers were shot to death in Tajikistan during a routine patrol about 90 miles east of the capital, Dushanbe. The murders dealt a serious blow to the former Soviet republic's image abroad, the UN said, and demanded a full investigation of the incident.

Etceteras

" We have two ways to go: One is poverty, the other is development.... The day will be one of defeat or success." - Kassie Neou of Cambodia's Election Committee, hoping for international acceptance of Sunday's vote outcome.

Let us - or should that be lettuce? - speak of the Caesar salad. Who could possibly take offense at its blend of fresh greens, croutons, Parmesan cheese, garlic, pepper, egg, anchovies, and olive oil-based dressing? Well, California health officials, for starters. To them, the use of uncooked ingredients was literally criminal and they succeeded in getting the salad banned from restaurant menus. But not for long. Coming to praise the Caesar were enough members of the legislature that the ban was overturned this week. Now, so long as eateries post warnings that some ingredients are uncooked, they may serve it again.

Whether or not you subscribe to the notion that it was Christopher Columbus who discovered America, his legacy as an eminently wise seafaring explorer is secure, right? Not in Honduras, it isn't. Indigenous tribes there consider his arrival in 1492 as the start of centuries of oppression, and they've put him on trial- posthumously - for genocide, robbery, and the destruction of pre-Columbian culture. Acquittal is considered out of the question. The prosecution expects to request the death penalty. The verdict is to be handed down Oct. 12 - Columbus Day.

The Day's List

Environment Group Cites States as 'Beach Bums'

Six states and the territory of Puerto Rico have made the annual "Beach Bums" list issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council for failing to monitor water quality and to notify the public about polluted shores. The environmental group chose to name entire states this year because state governments "have the responsibility of protecting the health of their residents and of visitors to their popular vacation spots," a spokeswoman in Washington said. The offenders:

Alabama

Georgia

Louisiana

Oregon

Texas

Washington

- Reuters

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