News In Brief

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The US

President Clinton is ready to admit he had an "inappropriate relationship" with Monica Lewinsky, one of his advisers said. Meanwhile a survey conducted on the eve of the president's secret grand-jury testimony in the Lewinsky case found 51.6 percent of respondents thinking the institution of the presidency has been diminished by Clinton but 57.1 percent giving the president's job performance a positive rating. The survey of 631 voters by Zogby America was conducted Friday through Sunday.

A massive underground complex that could house a nuclear-weapons program has been detected in North Korea, The New York Times reported. White House and Defense Department officials are concerned the complex is part of an effort to renege on a 1994 agreement for North Korea to abandon its nuclear-weapons ambitions in exchange for billions of dollars in outside aid, unnamed officials told the Times. North Korea has accused the US of not living up to its part of the accord because Congress has not authorized required fuel shipments to North Korea.

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The State Department warned Americans against travel to Pakistan and ordered nonessential US embassy workers and their families to leave the country. The department issued a separate "worldwide caution" urging all Americans traveling abroad to be extremely careful in the wake of the US-embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. A department spokeswoman refused to comment on whether the announcements were linked to the arrest in Pakistan of a suspect in the twin bombings.

Investigators in Kenya have found a 100-pound drive shaft they believe was part of a pickup truck used in the bombing of the embassy in Nairobi, Newsweek magazine reported. The drive shaft reportedly contains identifying serial numbers. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright left for East Africa to visit the two embassies and to express the nation's grief over both the US and African victims of the bombings.

Millionaire-adventurer Steve Fossett was plucked from the Coral Sea east of Australia after his around-the-world balloon mission fell victim to a thunderstorm. He was to be taken to Townsville in Queensland, Australia, a spokeswoman at his headquarters in St. Louis said. Fossett was said to be at least five days from reaching South America, where he began the flight on Aug. 7. This was Fossett's fourth attempt to circle the globe nonstop in a balloon.

Florida residents remained under advisory to reduce their energy consumption following a fire Friday that damaged natural-gas lines and interrupted gas and electric supplies across the state. Because many Florida power plants are gas-fired, it was anticipated that some would not be able to operate and that others would have to operate at reduced levels until repairs to the gas lines are completed late Wednesday or Thursday. Lightning set off explosions late Friday at a natural-gas compressor station in the northern Florida town of Perry.

No face-to-face talks were scheduled between negotiators for U S West and the striking Communications Workers of America. The two sides talked separately Sunday with a federal mediator. The union, which went on strike Saturday, represents 35,000 of the regional Bell company's 51,000 employees in a region that includes 14 states.

General Motors estimated third-quarter costs of recent strikes by the United Auto Workers union at $1.65 billion. Chairman Jack Smith has said he expects the net loss from the strikes for the fiscal year to be approximately $2 billion after some of the lost production is recovered through overtime work.

The World

Kenyan and American investigators denied news reports that a suspect had confessed to planning the Aug. 7 bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania. They said Mohammed Sadiq Howaida had not admitted responsibility for the attacks nor implicated anyone else. A Pakistani newspaper had reported that Sadiq claimed the attacks were sponsored by a wealthy Saudi dissident living in Afghanistan and believed to be funding a number of violent Islamic groups. Meanwhile, a Kenyan newspaper said FBI agents had arrested another suspect in Dubai.

Some 1,700 troops from 14 countries began a six-day military exercise in Albania, not far from the continued fighting in Kosovo. The operations, involving 11 NATO countries as well as Russia, Albania, and Lithuania, would demonstrate to "belligerents in the region" that NATO is ready to intervene in Kosovo, NATO's commander-in-chief for Southern Europe said. He denied that the exercises, which also include 60 aircraft and helicopters, were "directed at any particular party."

Police in Northern Ireland arrested five people in connection with Sunday's bombing in Omagh. Authorities blamed "the real" IRA, a republican guerrilla group opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process, for the attacks. But a group believed by many to be the organization's political arm denied any involvement in the bombing.

Russia sharply devalued its reeling national currency. The Central Bank said it would permit the ruble to fall about 50 percent - from about 6.3 to the dollar to 9.5 to the dollar. In Moscow, the currency market dipped only slightly in early trading, but the street price for dollars immediately jumped to 9.5 rubles. Devaluation will sharply raise prices of a large percentage of Russian consumer goods, but should make it possible for the government to pay wages and pensions owed to many citizens.

Congolese rebels claimed they had captured the town of Songolo, consolidating their position for a planned advance into Kinshasa. A diplomat said the ethnic Tutsi-led rebels had reportedly neared the town of Mbanza-Ngungu, 95 miles south of Kinshasa. Meanwhile, Western embassies were negotiating with the government for fresh evacuations of foreigners from Kinshasa.

The Iraqi government was preparing its response to UN calls for it to resume cooperation with weapons inspectors, and would make an announcement shortly, a Baghdad-based diplomat said. Meanwhile, the Security Council was expected to meet to discuss the impasse. UN inspections of new weapons sites in Iraq stopped last week after President Saddam Hussein withdrew his cooperation.

Israel increased defense spending for the first time since the Mideast peace process began in 1992. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a defense-budget hike of $543 million, or 6.5 percent, over the current budget, saying the country needed to defend itself against new dangers posed by Iran and Iraq. An Israeli defense expert said the real reason for the increase was that needed upgrades of military equipment could no longer be delayed.

The trial of former South African President P. W. Botha was nearing an end, with a verdict expected next week. Truth and Reconciliation Commission lawyers were investigating Botha's role as head of the State Security Council, which allegedly authorized the murder of antiapartheid activists.

Etceteras

"We have a big force - enough to take Kinshasa." - A rebel commander on his troops' planned advancement into the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Call it chain-gang chic. Fashion experts say Britons are paying up to 50 ($81) for prison-issue shirts displayed at hip London street markets. The blue-and-white stripes apparently blend well with some current men's winter styles, based on standard utility or work wear. In fact, anything with a prison logo - including phone cards - is reportedly selling fast. The sartorial craze has its downside. A former inmate at a prison in northern England was jailed again recently - only 10 minutes after winning his release - for trying to pilfer 25 prison shirts for peddling beyond the penitentiary.

British males may be in dress-down mode, but the city manager of blue-collar Riviera Beach, Fla., is apparently trying to jazz up his work force. The City Council recently gave manager William Hunt a good dressing down over a plan to outfit workers with $150 jogging suits and $46 caps. Hunter has nonetheless managed to collar $520 for personalized staff shirts.

The Day's List

'Private Ryan' Enjoys Yet Another Big Weekend

"Saving Private Ryan" was the most popular movie in North America for the fourth consecutive weekend, according to studio estimates. The World War II epic earned about $12.9 million, fending off challenges from the urban romance "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "The Avengers," a camp spy-comedy-adventure. "Private Ryan" is now estimated to have earned more than $125 million. Ticket sales for the top-10 movies at North American box offices Aug.14-16 (in millions):

1. "Saving Private Ryan" $12.9

2. "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" 11.8

3. "The Avengers" 10.8

4. "There's Something About Mary" 9.1

5. "Snake Eyes" 8.7

6. "Halloween: H2O" 8.4

7. "Ever After" 6.1

8. "The Parent Trap" 5.5

9. "The Negotiator" 4.2

10. "Armageddon" 4.1

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./Reuters

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