News In Brief

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Monica Lewinsky was said to have reached an immunity agreement with special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. According to unnamed legal sources, Lewinsky has told prosecutors in New York that she had a sexual relationship with President Clinton - but did not say he told her to lie about it to investigators. Clinton denied under oath in the Paula Jones sexual-harassment case that he had such a relationship with Lewinsky, and she filed an affidavit in the suit saying she "never had a sexual relationship with the president."

A federal appeals court said presidential adviser Bruce Lindsey must answer a grand jury's questions, rejecting White House claims of attorney-client privilege. A White House official said a decision would be made later on whether to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

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Bell Atlantic and GTE Corp. announced in New York a merger agreement that would create a company with revenues of $53 billion and capable of offering telephone calls, wireless services, and Internet access. The deal, a stock swap in which the Bell Atlantic shares would be used to pay for the transaction, was described as a merger in which the new board would be drawn equally from the two companies.

General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers resolved disputes at two strike-bound parts plants in Flint and two other locations, a UAW official said. A comprehensive settlement seemed near, but was still eluding negotiators, he said.

The Senate passed credit-union legislation designed to give millions of consumers access to low-cost financial services. By a vote of 92 to 6, the Senate approved the measure, which would override a Supreme Court ruling and allow credit unions to take in members from various groups.

Ex-CIA agent Douglas Fred Groat pleaded guilty to trying to extort $1 million from the agency in exchange for refraining from giving away US secrets. In a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped espionage charges that could have carried the death penalty. Instead, they reportedly agreed that Groat would receive five years in prison, plus three years of probation.

The Army and Lockheed Martin announced a cost-sharing deal in which the company must achieve three direct missile-to-missile hits in its next five tests or pay $75 million. Under a $15 billion contract, Lockheed is trying to build a system capable by 2006 of blowing up incoming enemy missiles. The cost-sharing deal had been expected after a May 12 test-flight failure, the fifth in a row.

A court-created panel expelled former Teamsters President Ron Carey from the union for not preventing illegal use of funds in his 1996 reelection campaign. Carey said he would appeal the decision. He had told the Independent Review Board earlier this year he knew nothing about a scheme to funnel $735,000 from the union treasury into his campaign during an election in which he narrowly defeated James Hoffa. The review board also ousted former union political director William Hamilton, who has been indicted by a New York grand jury on charges related to misuse of union funds in the election.

Consumer confidence fell almost 3 points in July as Americans became more concerned that the economy will slow and jobs will be harder to find. The Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence fell to 135.4 in July from a revised 138.2 in June, a 29-year high. The July decline was larger than Wall Street analysts had expected.

Puerto Rican workers were expected to ratify a contract agreement settling a bitter, 41-day strike opposing the sale of the island's state-owned telephone company to a consortium led by GTE Corp.

The World

Apparently headed for defeat in Cambodia's national elections, opposition leaders claimed fraud, vowed to boycott the new parliament, and demanded a new round of balloting. The Constitution requires endorsement by two-thirds of parliament, meaning Premier Hun Sen could not form a new government if the opposition held to its threat. His People's Party shrugged off the boycott vow, with a spokesman saying the current regime would merely remain in power until at least 2003.

Israeli lawmakers prepared to take a three-month recess after the first of four votes on whether to dissolve parliament and hold new national elections. Analysts predicted no immediate passage of the measure, which comes almost at the mid-point of Prime Minister Netanyahu's term. Peace negotiations with the Palestinians have been stalemated for 16 of his 25 months in office. They were to resume yesterday, but senior Palestinians said they would not take Israel's proposals seriously.

South Korean analysts looked for signs of change in reclusive North Korea after word that last weekend's elections had ousted 65 percent of the members of the Supreme People's Assembly, or parliament. Most of the North's leadership was reelected, however, suggesting that a major power shift was unlikely. The election was widely viewed as a prelude to de-facto leader Kim Jong Il's formal rise to the presidency held for almost half a century by his father.

A crucial Kosovo highway closed again only hours after Yugoslav officials proclaimed it open, as Albanian separatists launched a fierce nighttime counterattack against its defenders. The fighting for the Pristina-Pec road, held by the separatists for two months, caused an estimated 20,000 more refugees to flee their homes.

Chinese officials appealed for a "do or die" mobilization to reinforce dikes along the Yangtze River as flooding threatened the huge industrial city of Wuhan. News-agency reports said the third crest this month could undermine embankments already weakened by heavy rains. The worst flooding in 44 years already has killed more than 1,100 people and left almost 1 million others homeless.

Expectations were low for the first face-to-face meeting between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan since their governments conducted underground nuclear weapons tests in May. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, respectively, planned to seek ways to lower tensions between their countries at a regional economic conference in neutral Sri Lanka. Tensions escalated when suspected Muslim separatist guerrillas killed 16 Hindus in early-morning attacks on two villages in the disputed Indian state of Kashmir.

The Rwandan Tutsi soldiers who helped rebel leader Laurent Kabila topple the government of Congo (formerly Zaire) were thanked for their service - but ordered to leave the country by Monday. In a sign of deteriorating relations, the announcement from Kinshasa also thanked Congolese civilians for "tolerating" the Rwandans in their midst since President Mobutu Sese Seko was ousted in May 1997. The number of Rwandans who remained was not immediately clear, but they were said to be "many."

Brazil's failure to defend its World Cup championship has cost coach Mario Zagallo his job, the national soccer foundation announced. Zagallo and his entire staff were fired two weeks after Brazil fell to France, 3-0. A new coach is expected to be named Aug. 31.

Etceteras

" A government attorney may not invoke the attorney-client privilege in response to grand jury questions seeking information relating to the possible commission of a federal crime."

- From a US appeals court ruling requiring White House counsel Bruce Lindsay to testify in the Lewinsky investigation.

You have to give Don Duncan credit for persistence. The advertising sales representative from Sarasota, Fla., defeated 80 other Ernest Hemingway look-alikes in a contest last weekend in Key West, which the world-famous novelist and Nobel laureate made his longtime home. The bell finally tolled for Duncan during his seventh attempt to win the contest, which is a centerpiece of the city's annual Hemingway Days Festival.

It would be hard to gather any dirt on Morgan Wilburn. While others his age - the Salem, Va., resident is 8 - occupy themselves with soccer, skateboards, video games, and MTV, Morgan is, you might say, attached to his collection of vacuum cleaners. It's already at 42 and counting. The unusual hobby has won him feature stories in newspapers, appearances on national TV, even the gift of a savings bond from the Bissell Company to put toward his college fund. It's not known whether Morgan's pleasure extends to using any of the machines to clean the family home.

The Day's List

'Private Ryan' Sells Well, Despite Violent Scenes

Steven Spielberg's graphic World War II film, "Saving Private Ryan," became the seventh movie of the summer to sell more than $30 million in tickets in its opening weekend. This, despite promotional tours on which Spielberg warned that some scenes might be inappropriate for youngsters, noting that his own 13-year-old son is not permitted to see the film. Grosses for the top movies at North American theaters July 24-26 (in millions):

1. "Saving Private Ryan" $30.6

2. "The Mask of Zorro" 13.4

3. "Lethal Weapon 4" 13.1

4. "There's Something About Mary"12.5

5. "Armageddon" 11.2

6. "Dr. Dolittle" 7.3

7. "Disturbing Behavior" 7.0

8. "Mafia" 6.6

9. "Small Soldiers" 5.3

10. "Mulan" 3.5

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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