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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert KilbornLance Carden, and Caryn Coatney / July 28, 1998

The US

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There were signs negotiators were close to ending the dispute between General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union. Talks were to resume Monday after running nonstop Saturday and Sunday at two strikebound parts plants in Flint, Mich. - as well as at two brakes plants in Dayton, Ohio, a stamping plant in Indianapolis, and the Buick City complex in Flint. Arbitrator Thomas Roberts did not say when he would release a ruling on whether the strikes violate a UAW-GM contract, as alleged by the company. A timely settlement could make his decision moot.

President Clinton was to deliver an address on social security and participate in a forum and town meeting on the subject during a visit to Albuquerque, N.M. Considerable debate was expected on proposals to privatize part of the retirement system.

Temperatures in Dallas set a new record: 24 consecutive days without a reading below 80 degrees F. Neighboring Oklahoma had its third straight day of record-setting temperatures. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman declared 66 counties in southern and central Oklahoma a federal disaster area, making low-interest US loans available to farmers experiencing a loss of 30 percent or more on any single crop. Last week, Clinton declared all Texas counties eligible for aid.

The shootings at the US Capitol gave new force to the idea of erecting a visitors center to add another layer of security to the building. Senate majority leader Trent Lott said $25 million in private money had already been committed to the concept of an underground center, which would cost an estimated $125 million. Meanwhile, Clinton was to attend a brief memorial service today for the two police officers who died in Friday's incident, and the public was to be allowed to file past the men's caskets on display in the Rotunda from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT - a tribute normally accorded only to former presidents and military heroes.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee disagreed about whether a refusal by Clinton to cooperate with a subpoena might be reason enough for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings. Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that it would "certainly be grounds to file articles of impeachment" But Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said on CNN's "Late Edition" that he did not believe ignoring a subpoena would be sufficient grounds for impeachment.

Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp. are discussing a merger that would be worth as much as $55 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. In what would become the latest in a series of high-profile mergers, GTE's dominance in local and long-distance services and Bell Atlantic's virtual monopoly in the Northeast could create a giant that has one-third of the nation's local phone lines and would dwarf the pending union of SBC Communications and Ameritech Corp, the Journal said.

Russia is once again involved in a war in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported. It said the Kremlin is supplying heavy weapons, training, and logistical support to rebel groups holding onto the northern tier of Afghanistan against the Taliban Islamic movement, which controls most of the country. Factions supported by Russia are reportedly controlled by former leaders of CIA-backed Islamic guerrillas who fought the Soviet Army in the 1980s. Senior US officials were quoted as saying Russia may be trying to reassert influence over Central Asia and its oil reserves.

Air Force Lt. Gen. David McCloud, who commanded all military forces in Alaska, died along with a passenger in a private plane crash. McCloud was flying his YAK-54, a Russian-made, single-engine, aerobatic plane, when it crashed in a paratrooper drop zone at Fort Richardson, east of Anchorage. Officials said the cause of the crash was not immediately known.

The World

America and Europe expressed alarm over rising tensions in Burma as police prevented Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from attending a meeting of her pro-democracy party. As the Monitor went to press, Suu Kyi was still living in her car - for the fourth complete day - after police would not allow her to drive to the meeting in Bassein. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the standoff would exacerbate the "already dangerous" situation in Burma, also known as Myanmar, and the US would hold the military government "directly responsible" for Suu Kyi's welfare. The European Union urged the government to start talks with the opposition and hold democratic elections.