News In Brief

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The US

After months of denial, President Clinton admitted in public - and in grand-jury testimony - that he had engaged in "a relationship ... that was not appropriate" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In a five-minute TV address following more than four hours of secret testimony, the president also acknowledged he had "misled people." But he denied committing perjury or asking others to lie - and he defiantly criticized the special prosecutor's four-year probe of his public and private life.

In polls taken after Clinton's TV appearance, the response was conciliatory. A CBS/New York Times survey taken just after the speech found 60 percent of respondents saying the matter should now be dropped. Sixty-nine percent in an ABC News poll said the probe of the president should end. In a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll, 72 percent said the country would be better off if the president stayed in office - and his job-approval rating held steady at 62 percent.

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A request that Clinton postpone the swearing in of UN Ambassador Bill Richardson as energy secretary was withdrawn by a Senate committee chairman. Sen. Frank Murkowski (R) of Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said there was no evidence Richardson had misled his panel about a job he offered Monica Lewinsky - or that she was given "special treatment."

The US will not act alone to end fighting in the Serbian province of Kosovo, Defense Secretary William Cohen said. But he urged joint action by NATO to halt a clash between ethnic-Albanian rebels and Serb troops that has uprooted an estimated 200,000 people.

The consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in July, following a 0.1 percent rise in June, the Labor Department said. Economists predicted the lack of price pressure would lead Federal Reserve policymakers meeting in Washington to again opt for no change in short-term interest rates.

The nation's trade deficit fell for the first time in five months in June, the Commerce Department said. It credited the decline to the Asian economic crisis, which made the cost of imported goods cheaper. The monthly shortfall between exports and imports decreased a steeper-than-expected 8.9 percent to $14.15 billion from a revised $15.54 billion in May.

Jury selection began in the murder trial of a former Ku Klux Klan leader accused of masterminding a firebomb attack that killed Mississippi civil-rights leader Vernon Dahmer 32 years ago. The trial in Hattiesburg, Miss., is the fifth for Sam Bowers, whose four previous trials in connection with the attack on Dahmer's home ended in deadlocked juries. Four other Klansmen were convicted.

The oceans are being "strip mined" by global fishing fleets far too big for the available catch, a report released by two environmental groups said. The World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Union said a previous estimate by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that fishing fleets are 30 percent larger than they should be had underestimated the problem. The overcapacity is actually 155 percent, the report said.

A federal judge ordered Chrysler Corp. to pay a record $800,000 for delaying the recall of 1995 Chrysler Cirrus and Dodge Stratus sedans to fix seat belts the government said were unsafe. The fine easily eclipsed a 1978 penalty of $405,000 against General Motors for leaky carburetors, a government spokesman said.

Northwest Airlines and its pilots union resumed negotiations to avert a threatened strike. Pilots have set an Aug. 29 deadline for reaching an accord with the fourth-largest US carrier. The airline has said it will not operate if pilots walk off the job. The talks were the first since July 9 on disputed issues of pay, job security, retirement, and work rules.

The World

Around the globe, there were mixed reactions to President Clinton's televised confession. Palestinians voiced concerns over the fate of the Mideast peace process. Iraq characterized the scandal as an Israeli plot to have Clinton replaced with a vice president who may be more pro-Israel.

Failing to persuade Iraq to resume cooperation with weapons inspectors, UN envoy Prakash Shah was due to end his week-long visit today. The Security Council announced its "full support" for arms inspectors who have been prevented since Aug. 5 from searching for new sites of weapons of mass destruction. Bill Richardson, US Ambassador to the UN, said the council had appealed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan "to once again use his skills to deal with this problem." But a UN spokesman said Annan did not expect to take a personal role in the current standoff.

Russia's government denied the drastic financial measures it took to counter a growing economic crisis amounted to a devaluation of the ruble - instead speaking of a "new financial course." But the opposition and Russian commentators gave the semantics short shrift. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov called for mass protests and President Boris Yeltsin's resignation after the government permitted the ruble to fall by about a third. Yeltsin dismissed his top economic adviser over the failure to stem the crisis, but did not accept the resignations of his prime minister and the central bank chairman, Russian media reported.

Kosovo's newly formed Albanian peace team refused to resume talks with Belgrade until the Serb military offensive in the province was stopped, the team's coordinator said. They rejected a Belgrade invitation to meet to discuss a solution to the war, saying the offer was "timed for propaganda" purposes. US envoy Chris Hill arrived in Kosovo to try to expedite the peace talks. In neighboring Albania, NATO forces staged military exercises designed to show the region it was prepared to intervene.

Congo President Laurent Kabila's Army was in increasing disarray as one of his most important battalions defected to the rebels, who were reportedly 125 miles from the capital, Kinshasa. Kabila's whereabouts was not immediately clear. Kinshasa remained calm despite a power outage blamed on the rebels.

Tensions escalated between Jewish settlers and Palestinians from the West Bank's largest city, Nablus. Both sides warned that rioting, which broke out there in 1996, could occur again. The new fighting centered on Joseph's Tomb, valued by Jews and Muslims. Settlers have been occupying the site around-the-clock to commemorate the unsolved killing of two Jewish seminary students nearby. The governor of Palestinian-run Nablus cut bus services to the site and blocked others from going there. A settler leader said the compound was under siege and called on the Israeli Army "to do something about it."

Senior members of Burma's military government met with the pro-democracy opposition for the first time in a year, voicing hopes it would lead to "a series of confidence-building talks" between the two sides. But the government officials did not mention a Friday deadline set by the National League for Democracy (NLP) for the government to convene a parliament elected in 1990. The NLP won the election by a landslide, but the military regime has ignored the result.

Etceteras

"[It was] a strange, eerie day in the history of presidential politics." - Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, on Monday's dramatic events at the White House.

A big-hearted Thai restaurateur made what may have been the world's biggest Chinese dumpling last week. Prapin Thanaviboolphol, who owns a dim-sum shop in Bangkok, said he gave the 1,700-pound bean-paste bun to the poor to celebrate the birthday of Queen Sirikit. She has asked for special charity during Thailand's economic crisis.

Readers may recall Nancy Dingfelder, the imaginative Pennsylvanian who used cheeses to fashion a prize-winning rendition of a cow jumping over the moon. Now comes word Iowans could find no more fitting tribute to Gov. Terry Branstad than having a Wisconsin cheese carver sculpt his likeness from a 150-pound block of cheddar. The public is to feast its eyes on the finished oeuvre at the Iowa State Fair - sans crackers, we assume.

The Day's List

Dartmouth Ranked No. 1 In Use of Computers

To determine its list of "most wired" US colleges and universities, the Internet Web site ZDNet, managed by media-marketing firm Ziff-Davis, checked on more than wiring and hardware. Questions asked in its survey ranged from "Is Internet training required for the faculty?" to "How long is the average wait at the computer lab?" The Web site's top 10:

1. Dartmouth College

2. New Jersey Institute of Technology

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4. Rensselaer Polytechnic

5. University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign

6. Carnegie Mellon University

7. California Institute of Technology

8. Indiana University

9. University of Oregon

10. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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