News In Brief

The US

Bell Atlantic reached a tentative accord with the Communications Workers of America to settle a strike by 73,000 telephone workers in 13 Eastern states and the District of Columbia. The union released a statement saying the deal would give its members greater access to jobs in company subsidiaries that develop new technologies.

British Petroleum said it had agreed to buy Amoco, the fifth-largest US oil company, for $48 billion in stock, which would be the largest industrial merger in history. The new company would be called BP Amoco. But in the US, BP gas stations would be renamed Amoco. The deal ranks as the fifth-largest among mergers of all types. It would make BP, already the third-largest oil company, a bigger rival to No. 1 Royal Dutch/Shell and Exxon Corp., the No. 2 oil firm.

The bodies of 11 of the 12 Americans killed in the bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya will arrive Thursday at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, where President Clinton will speak at a memorial service, the White House said. The 12th US victim, Jean Dalizu, was married to a Kenyan and was to be buried there. Meanwhile, the US offered a reward of up to $2 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who bombed the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Clinton vowed to veto major GOP alternatives to his managed-health-care proposals. He also ordered managed-care firms insuring US workers to eliminate restrictions on what a doctor can tell patients about treatment options.

Productivity of US workers declined during the April-June quarter for the first time in more than three years, the Labor Department said. Productivity of nonfarm, nonsupervisory workers fell at a 0.2 percent annual rate. It increased at a 3.5 percent rate in the first quarter.

More Americans filed for US bankruptcy protection in the 12 months that ended June 30 than in any other one-year period, federal court officials reported. Federal bankruptcy filings rose to a record high 1.42 million in that period, spurred by a 9.2 percent increase in personal bankruptcies.

Two boys accused of gunning down four classmates and a teacher in a school ambush were to face trial on capital murder charges in Jonesboro, Ark. Mitchell Johnson, 14, and Andrew Golden, 12, are accused of setting off a fire alarm at the Westside Middle School March 24 and opening fire on those who filed out of the building.

An Alaska judge struck down a state law limiting political campaign donations, saying it violated constitutional rights of free speech. The law, which went into effect in 1997, limited individual political contributions to $500 per election for state-office campaigns. It barred donations from corporations and labor unions - as well as most out-of-state contributions. The Alaska Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law in court, said the state should institute "meaningful reform" through public financing of campaigns.

Pastors who perform same-sex marriages can be charged with disobedience, the United Methodist Church's highest court ruled. The denomination's Judicial Council declared the church's Social Principles a law, not a guideline, as argued by the Rev. Jimmy Creech. He was acquitted by a church jury of disobedience charges after performing a wedding ceremony for two women in Omaha, Neb., last year.

An independent review of a privately owned Ohio prison where six inmates escaped last month was ordered by US Attorney General Janet Reno. The escapes followed a rash of problems at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown, which opened in May 1997. The facility is owned and operated for profit by Corrections Corp of America. Reno asked Ohio authorities to delay carrying out their own inquiry.

The World

Disarmament negotiators agreed to start talks on a treaty banning production of nuclear-bomb materials. The 61-nation Conference on Disarmament obtained a consensus in Geneva after Israel, the last country holding out on the issue, changed its position at President Clinton's urging. The committee is expected to begin negotiations next year on "fissile materials," plutonium and highly enriched uranium.

Kenyan guards were credited with possibly saving many lives in Friday's bombing at the US Embassy in Nairobi. One of the guards, Joash Okindo, told the Kenya Television Network he and his colleagues, armed only with clubs, confronted five men, forcing them to drive to the rear parking lot. Officials in Tanzania said they had arrested 14 foreigners in connection with the US Embassy bombing there.

Congo President Laurent Kabila's Army had reportedly killed 18 Rwandan soldiers, who were among a group of 100 trying to incite Congolese troops to join an uprising against the leader, state radio said. Rwanda has denied it is behind the ethnic Tutsi-led rebels, who have taken several western and eastern Congolese towns. Government forces said they regained control of a western town, Boma, and were retaking territory "house by house."

Nigeria's military ruler gave his new electoral commission a two-week deadline to prepare guidelines on restoring the country to civilian rule. Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar set the handover date for May 29, 1999. He also repealed decrees under his predecessor, Sani Abacha, that restricted unions.

Trading in Russian stocks was suspended for 45 minutes due to sharp losses on the main exchange in Moscow. When trading was suspended Tuesday, the market's main index had fallen 11.8 percent to 106.61 from 120.91 on Monday. The timeout signaled a continuing lack of investor confidence in Russian markets, despite a recent $22.6 billion international bailout package.

Fighting erupted on two fronts in Angola between the Cuban-backed government and the Western-supported National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The conflict came shortly after a UN envoy's visit to the country, which appeared to have averted a renewed civil war. State media said UNITA forces massacred 150 civilians in the northern Malanje province.

The Indonesian military announced it would withdraw hundreds of combat troops from the troubled northern province of Aceh after allegations of government-sponsored atrocities emerged last week. A military spokesman said by Sept. 8, 800 to 1,200 troops would leave the province.

Tuvalu's 9,000 inhabitants clinched a deal with a Canadian computer-marketing company, which will pay them $60 million to $100 million a year to use their internet address, "tv." Tuvalu has joined several undeveloped countries who are selling their unique two-letter suffixes to firms searching for new internet addresses. The Tuvalu deal with Information.ca Corp. means the nation of nine islands in the Pacific is likely to become one of the world's wealthiest on a per-capita basis. The money is expected to be spent on development projects, regional donations, and global-warming prevention.

Secessionists' hopes that Nevis would vote to become one of the world's smallest nations were dashed when the final results of a referendum fell shy of the two-thirds majority needed for independence. Election officials said only 61.7 percent of voters supported breaking from a union with St. Kitts, a neighboring Caribbean island.

Etceteras

"The great expectation of our people now is for free and fair elections." - Nigerian military ruler Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, after swearing in an Independent National Electoral Commission as a step toward restoring the country to civilian rule.

"Honestly," thought Cheryl Brown as she searched a State College, Pa., parking garage, "where did I leave my car?" She found the vehicle - plus a lot more: a billfold with $6,700 in cash. The only form of ID was a name, S.H. Park. Unsure whether this was a person, place, or business, she turned the wallet and the money in to police, who found the owner. Park, a South Korean student, was grateful to have the money back; it was needed for tuition at Pennsylvania State University. "No big deal," Ms. Brown said. "Anyone would have done it."

Former Army ranger Rusty Smith has faced challenges, but nothing like reforming his teenage brother, Jason. In desperation, Rusty drove his sibling to Atlanta recently and made him stand at a busy intersection wearing a sign saying, "I'm a thief." The response of passersby was surprising. One gave him a Bible, another a soft drink, and yet another some bagels. Jason's comment: "I know what I've done was wrong - and believe me, I've paid for it."

The Day's List

'Private Ryan' Stays Atop Movie Box-Office Charts

"Saving Private Ryan" held onto the No. 1 spot at movie theaters for the third straight weekend with an estimated $17.6 million in ticket sales. However, the Steven Spielberg war film barely withstood a challenge from "Snake Eyes," a conspiracy thriller starring Nicholas Cage and Gary Sinise, which opened in second place. "Halloween: H20" claimed the No. 3 spot. Estimated grosses for top movies at North American theaters Aug. 7-9 (in millions):

1. "Saving Private Ryan" $17.6

2. "Snake Eyes" 16.5

3. "Halloween: H20" 16.0

4. "There's Something About Mary" 9.8

5. "The Parent Trap" 8.2

6. "Ever After" 7.8

7. "The Negotiator" 6.6

8. "The Mask of Zorro" 5.6

9. "Armageddon" 5.2

10. "Lethal Weapon 4" 4.8

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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