News In Brief

The US

President Clinton faced growing pressure to explain his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, whose panel would receive any articles of impeachment from the House, urged the president to speak out, saying on NBC TV that he thinks Congress would forgive Clinton if the case was solely a matter of sexual misconduct. Some Democrats gave the president similar advice. Meanwhile, an administration official said the White House had decided to continue its legal fight seeking to block testimony by presidential confidant Bruce Lindsey on the basis of attorney-client privilege.

Americans' personal savings rate hit an all-time low in June, the Commerce Department reported. Personal incomes rose by just 0.2 percent in June, only half of the 0.4 percent May gain. Meanwhile, consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of economic activity, rose during the month at a strong 0.6 percent clip. The resulting 0.2 percent savings rate was the lowest since the government began keeping monthly statistics in 1959.

The nation's prison population rose by more than 61,000 inmates last year to a record of nearly 1.25 million state and federal prisoners, the Justice Department reported. The increase in the adult prison population was 5.2 percent, slightly lower than the average annual growth rate of 7 percent earlier in the 1990s. Violent offenders accounted for about half the increase, drug offenders for about 25 percent. The numbers do not include people held in local jails, some 567,000 in mid-1997.

Albertson's Inc. said it will acquire American Stores Co. for $15.1 billion in stock and assumed debt in a deal that would form the largest US retail food and drug company. The agreement, which includes $11.7 billion in stock and $3.4 billion in debt, calls for shareholders of Salt Lake City, Utah,-based American Stores to receive 0.63 shares of Albertson's stock for every share of American Stores they own.

Nissan may stop producing 200SX subcompact coupes at its Tennessee plant in 1999, a company spokeswoman said. Ritsuko Harimoto said Japan's struggling No. 2 automaker is considering the move as part of efforts to restructure its North American operations, which reported a $551 million deficit last year. The two-door cars are the first models affected by a restructuring announced in May that calls for a 30 percent reduction in the Nissan's 50-model lineup.

A burning pickup truck crashed into a county courthouse in Lafayette, Ind. - about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis - badly damaging the ground floor in what authorities said was a planned attack. No one was injured, but police sealed off a two-block area and called for help from the FBI and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Sheriff Dave Murtaugh said the truck contained 55-gallon drums of what appeared to be gasoline and another, unknown substance.

A Marine pilot was arraigned on manslaughter and negligent-homicide charges in connection with the deaths of 20 skiers in the Italian Alps earlier this year. The hearing in Camp LeJeune, N.C., was the first since a Marine general recommended courts-martial for Capts. Richard Ashby and Joseph Schweitzer, pilot and navigator of a EA-6B Prowler jet that accidentally cut the cable of a ski gondola Feb. 3 while they were on a training mission in Europe. Schweitzer was to be arraigned later in the day. The men do not have to enter pleas until their court-martial trials.

Temperatures up to 106 degrees were blamed for warping railroad track in Texas, causing several train derailments. There were no injuries reported, but Union Pacific reduced track speed limits by 10 m.p.h. . Heat hampered efforts to fight brush fires charring hundreds of acres in north Texas, forcing evacuation of about 100 people from Parker County west of Fort Worth.

The World

Rebel troops declared a mutiny against Democratic Republic of the Congo President Laurent Kabila, causing senior officials to flee the chaos. Troops from the eastern Congo broadcast on radio their plans to oust Kabila, confirming rumors sweeping through the capital, Kinshasa, since rival soldiers clashed over the weekend. The fighting in Kinshasa was reportedly between troops loyal to Kabila and those supporting his one-time allies from neighboring Rwanda. Witnesses said border posts between Rwanda and the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, had closed.

Mexico's leading opposition party captured the governor's seat in Aguascalientes, a central state. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has long dominated Mexican politics, was way ahead in early returns for the governorship in the gulf state of Veracruz and leading in election returns from the southern state of Oaxaca. The National Action victory in Aguascalientes came a month after the party, known by its Spanish initials as the PAN, lost one of its six governor's seats after being defeated in Chihuahua by the PRI.

Iraq's deputy prime minister accused the UN of pursuing "a game of maneuvering, protraction, and blackmail" to prolong punitive trade sanctions. Tariq Aziz launched the attack after meeting chief weapons-inspector Richard Butler for what he called "unfruitful" discussions on a plan to speed up final verification of Iraq's prohibited weapons. Butler said the UN special commission wanted to wrap up the disarmament phase quickly so the Security Council could reconsider sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Afghanistan's hard-line Islamic military said it had captured an opposition stronghold in the north, moving it closer to controlling the entire country. A spokesman for the Taliban religious militia said it had wrested control of a northern base that supported opposition forces.

Responding to opposition claims of fraud, Cambodia's election commission agreed to recount votes in disputed areas. Since the July 26 election, aimed at easing tensions raised by leader Hun Sen's violent coup last year, the commission released the results from 11 of 23 electoral districts. Hun Sen's party was leading in eight of them. But opposition leaders said they would resist participating in a coalition government until a vote recount.

Germany's Deutsche Bank "probably" knew that gold it purchased in the Nazi era came from Holocaust victims, an international team of historians concluded in a study for the bank. The Wall Street Journal reported that the historians said they found no "hard evidence," and Germany's largest private bank denied the assertion. Nonetheless, the study was seen as bolstering the case of lawyers acting for plaintiffs suing Deutsche Bank, who say the bank knew at least some of the 10,927 pounds of gold it bought during World War II came from Nazi victims.

Suspected Kashmiri separatists gunned down 34 people and wounded six in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, police said. The attack took place close to the border with Jammu and Kashmir Province. Islamic militants in Kashmir are fighting for an independent homeland or for a merger with Pakistan.

Soldiers in southern China were ordered to "fight to the death" to protect major cities along the Yangtze River, at its highest level in more than 40 years. Northern China also mobilized soldiers to prepare for expected storms. Summer flooding in the south and east has reportedly killed thousands of people.


" The president has told the truth about this and will continue to do so." - White House spokesman Barry Toiv, responding to calls for President Clinton to be more forthcoming about the nature of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

The Richmond (Va.) Braves baseball team has extended a hand - presumably not the right one - to the town of Left Hand, W.Va. The team has a home game Aug. 13, which is International Left-handers Day. So it has invited the entire population of Left Hand - about 500 - to attend. So far, Postmaster Jermone Phifer, and a busload of 40 other residents have accepted the offer of tickets and hotel rooms. Phifer is to throw out the first pitch, even though - you guessed it - he's not a southpaw.

Lots of kids dream of performing in Major League Baseball stadiums. Jamie Lynn Bence, a Merton, Wis., fifth-grader, is already 28/30ths of the way to fulfilling her ambition. She's a singer, and has soloed the National Anthem before a home game in every big-league stadium except those of the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees. Arizona is scheduled Aug. 17. The Yankees have "strict requirements," a spokeswoman noted. "We'll get back to them in - probably - two to three weeks."

The Day's List

In Global Economic Poll, Asia Has Most Optimism

In a survey of 16,000 people conducted for The Economist magazine by Angus Reid, a Canadian-based polling group, Asia stands out as more optimistic about its economic future than other world regions. The results of the survey, taken in May and June, are particularly interesting because they come at a time of economic crisis in most of the Far East. Nonetheless, 5 of the poll's 10 most optimistic countries are Asian. Those 10 nations and how they scored on a "hope index" based on expectations for the coming year, for 10 years from now, and for the next generation:

1. Colombia 66

(tie) Malaysia 66

3. Brazil 64

4. South Korea 62

(tie) US 62

6. Thailand 60

7. China 58

8. Taiwan 50

9. Britain 48

10. Canada 45

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