News In Brief

The US

His host's economic and political woes were expected to dominate President Clinton's two-day summit with Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Clinton was also expected to raise arms-control and nuclear-nonproliferation issues, as well as his efforts to stamp out terrorism.

The Senate returned from a summer recess with the threat of a government shutdown looming over a funding confrontation between Congress and the White House. Clinton has threatened to veto seven of 13 bills that would authorize spending in the fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1. He says they shortchange some of his favorite programs and include unacceptable policies.

US West and union workers reached a tentative agreement to end a 15-day strike at the regional Bell telephone company. A new three-year contract provides a 10.9 percent pay increase, a 21 percent rise in pensions, a voluntary pay-for-performance bonus plan, and a reduction in overtime hours, spokesmen for the union and the company said. More than 35,000 Communications Workers of America members in 13 states had walked off the job. All were expected to be back to work today.

Costs mounted as the Northwest Airlines pilots' strike entered its third day with no talks in sight. One analyst said the stoppage could cost the nation's fourth-largest carrier more than $15 million a day. Rep. John Dingell (D) of Michigan, said on Fox TV that as a result of the strike he would introduce legislation to increase airline competition. Officials at the White House said if the strike lasts until the Labor Day, Sept. 7, the president might order be forced to order a 60-day "cooling off" period.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell below the 8000 level for the first time since Feb. 2. The Dow had lost more than 170 points as the Monitor went to press. Investors were said to be reacting to reports about the worldwide economy.

Sales of new homes fell in July, the Commerce Department said. And, in an indication that the bloom may be off the nation's booming housing market, the department also revised down earlier estimates for new home sales in May and June. Sales dropped 1.6 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 886,000 - well below Wall Street analysts' forecasts for a 918,000-unit sales rate. The South, with a 1.4 percent rise, was the only region where July new-home sales increased. In the Midwest, they plunged 11.7 percent.

The more time people spend on the Internet, the more depressed and lonely they feel, a new study indicated. Robert Kraut, a social-psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said one reason may be that using the Internet leaves less time for relationships with friends and family. He said the findings contradict researchers' expectation that Internet use fosters social contact, especially via e-mail and chat rooms. The study followed 93 Pittsburgh-area families' use of the Internet over two years.

Massachusetts pulled out of talks with cigarettemakers in which nine states were trying to reach an out-of-court settlement with the tobacco industry. The state's attorney general, Scott Harshbarger, said he wanted his office to now focus its efforts on a lawsuit designed to force tobacco companies to reimburse Massachusetts billions of dollars for funds it had spent on treating illnesses that were said to be smoking-related.

An attorney for Nazi victims who worked as slave laborers during World War II filed a lawsuit in New York demanding compensation from a number of German and Austrian companies, including Volkswagen, Siemens, Krupp Daimler-Benz, and Audi. A similar class-action suit was expected to be filed in Newark, N.J.

The World

President Clinton was due in Moscow for a two-day summit with Boris Yeltsin, despite a chaotic Russian political climate. Acting Prime Minister Chernomyrdin pleaded with the Communist-dominated parliament to approve his Cabinet despite the collapse of a deal to allow time to deal with the country's worsening economic crisis. The Communists said they'd refuse confirmation because Yeltsin had made too few concessions on reducing his powers.

North Korea raised new security concerns in already anxious East Asia by test-firing a long-range ballistic missile. Defense sources said it probably was aimed at the Sea of Japan between the Russian port of Vladivostok and Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido. Its range - 1,240 miles - would put much of Japan within reach. The launch came despite the devastating famine under which the Communist state continues to labor - and five days before its new parliament is scheduled to convene in Pyongyang.

Activity was said to be returning to normal in Congo's capital, Kinshasa, after five days of fighting between government troops and Tutsi-led rebels seeking to overthrow President Laurent Kabila. Kabila also proclaimed victory in southwestern Congo and said his forces had encircled a rebel stronghold in the east and were preparing to attack.

All opposition complaints of fraud in Cambodia's July 26 election were rejected by a council packed with supporters of Premier Hun Sen. Opposition leader Sam Rainsy protested the ruling but said his supporters were ready to drop a planned boycott of parliament when it convenes in three weeks. The opposition will control enough votes to deny Hun Sen the majority he needs to form a Cabinet.

Angry crowds harassed Indonesian Army troops as they completed a promised withdrawal from troubled Aceh Province - throwing rocks at their trucks and shouting abuse. As soon as the trucks had left, mobs set buildings and cars in the industrial city of Lhokseumawe on fire. Aceh residents hold the Army responsible for rape, torture, kidnappings, and hundreds of deaths in a nine-year crackdown against a separatist insurgency. The violence prompted an official apology early last month from Indonesia's armed forces chief.

By an overwhelming margin, voters in Panama rejected a referendum that would have allowed President Ernesto Perez Balladares to seek reelection next year. As ballot-counting neared completion, the "no" vote on rewriting the Constitution was just under 64 percent, to 34 percent favoring the change. Balladares said he accepted the outcome "humbly."

Political candidates wasted no time in hitting the campaign trail in Australia after Prime Minister John Howard issued his long-awaited announcement of a national election Oct. 3. Howard's Liberals trailed the opposition Labor Party by one point in most early opinion polls, but the latter would have to pick up 27 seats in Parliament to take power. Four former prime ministers issued an open letter, urging voters to shun candidates who base their appeal on racism.

Bouquets of flowers piled up at the gates to former residences of Diana, Princess of Wales, as Britons observed the first anniversary of her death. But there was no repeat of the massive outpouring of emotion following the auto accident in which she was killed last Aug. 31. Across Britain, flags flew at half-staff on government buildings and royal residences.

Etceteras

"I'd say there's a conflict with other things that needed to get done. The grass didn't get mowed sometimes. And the car didn't get washed." - Internet-survey participant Peter Rubinsky of Pittsburgh, on problems users run into as they spend more time online.

As the guests filed into the hall in Halifax, England, for Clare and Anthony Hegney's wedding reception, they couldn't possibly miss the cake. It was lavish: five feet long, with a pumpkin-shaped carriage, six horses, and mice footmen - all made of icing-covered sponges. The $6,600 confection looked too good to eat. The very conclusion, in fact, that the couple came to. Lacking the heart to cut it, they sent the cake back to the designer, who put it on sale a second time.

Surfers are self-absorbed dudes interested mostly in catching the next perfect wave, right? Not Miguel Roman. The teenager and a companion paddled furiously into the frothing ocean at a Middletown, R.I., beach late last week to rescue two younger children who'd been swept away by a hurricane Bonnie rip tide. Said Miguel: "I've never put my life on the line for anything. But you can't watch somebody drown in front of your face."

The Day's List

Colleges Whose Students Actually Like the Food

There may be better reasons for choosing a school, but - other things being equal - one can't be blamed for being curious about the meals. Princeton Review's guidebook, "The Best 311 Colleges" ($20/Random House), depends on opinions of 56,000 students around the US for its rankings of social life, politics, academics - and, yes, campus cuisine. St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., came in last. The guidebook's top 10:

1. College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine

2. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

3. Gettysburg College (Pa.)

4. Sweet Briar College (Va.)

5. Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

6. Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.

7. Randolph-Macon Women's College, Lynchburg, Va.

8. Bennington College (Vt.)

9. Colby College, Waterville, Maine

10. Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

- PR Newswire

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