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The US

The full weight of the special prosecutor's inquiry arrived on Capitol Hill in 36 sealed boxes containing "substantial and credible" evidence of wrongdoing by President Clinton. But, after a series of quick meetings among House members, much remained unsettled about how to proceed with reviewing the material. House Judiciary chairman Henry Hyde said 445 pages, including the introduction and a 280-page narrative, would be "immediately" assembled and disseminated through the Internet.

Clinton asked the American people for forgiveness in a pair of speeches to Democratic supporters in Florida. "I'm determined to redeem the trust of all the American people," he said, asking donors at an Orlando fund-raising luncheon for Florida gubernatorial candidate Buddy MacKay to spread the word. He later made a similar plea to donors in Coral Gables.

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The deficit in the broadest measure of US trade performance jumped 20 percent in the April-June quarter to a record $56.5 billion, the Commerce Department said. Reflecting global economic turmoil, the current-account deficit rose from a record $46.7 billion in the first quarter to put the nation on track for a deficit above $200 billion for the year - the biggest since officials began tracking the data in the 1940s.

A measure requiring deployment of a national missile-defense system "as soon as technologically feasible" failed by one vote to pass the Senate. The Republican initiative is likely to be debated later this month in the House, where it is expected to win approval. Also, Senate Republicans said they had given up on an attempt to override Clinton's veto of tax-preferred savings accounts for educational expenses.

It costs about $72.7 billion a year to treat smokers for medical problems caused by cigarettes, a new study said. Health economists at the University of California reviewed public and private health-care spending and found that smoking accounted for about 11.8 percent of US medical expenditures in 1993. The report indicates costs of treating illnesses related to smoking over many years may be far larger than the proposed $368.5 billion settlement that fell through after being negotiated last year between states and the tobacco industry.

An additional $20 million in US aid was being sent to Kosovo to help avert a humanitarian disaster for thousands of refugees fleeing Serb shelling of ethnic-Albanian villages, State Department officials said. But one of the officials expressed skepticism about whether the new aid package would be effective without a pullback of Serb forces.

A new poll indicated so-called binge drinking is becoming more popular among those who consume alcohol on college campuses. A Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Journal of American College Health found the proportion of student drinkers saying they "drank to get drunk" had increased from 39 percent in 1993 to 52 percent in 1997. On a more positive note, the study also showed the number of students saying they do not drink alcohol increasing from 15.6 percent in 1993 to 19 percent in 1997.

A human-rights group criticized the Immigration and Naturalization Service for holding detainees in jails where they are mixed with criminals and subject to abuse. In a report on jails in seven states, Human Rights Watch cited - as examples of abuse detainees are subject to - the denial of medical care, frequent transfers to other jails, lack of outdoor exercise, and isolation from friends and relatives.

Chiquita Brands International was urged to meet with a group representing banana workers in Latin America. Sixty US and European human-rights, environmental, labor, and citizen groups released a letter saying they were disappointed the Cincinnati-based company had not responded to repeated requests for meetings.

The World

Almost certain confirmation of Yevgeny Primakov as new prime minister of Russia is expected as the Communist-dominated lower house of parliament prepares to vote on his nomination today. The veteran diplomat and former spymaster was proposed for the job by President Yeltsin after parliament twice rejected his first nominee, Viktor Chernomyrdin. Primakov's principal weakness appeared to be largely untested economic skills.

UN and African leaders made a fourth try to forge a cease-fire between Congolese troops and rebels trying to depose self-declared President Laurent Kabila. Fighting surged in eastern Congo after rebels stormed out of negotiations earlier this week just as a draft truce agreement was to be signed. Back in the capital, Kinshasa, for the first time in two weeks, Kabila shrugged off peace efforts and called for an invasion of Rwanda, whose troops he accused of backing the rebels.

In a symbol of possible sectarian healing, Northern Ireland's Protestant "first minister," David Trimble, and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams met directly for the first time to discuss formation of a compromise government. Adams said he believed "we can do business," but called their meeting "only the beginning." Trimble said the talks were "encouraging" and "civilized."

Desperate efforts by Army troops, police, and ordinary volunteers were under way to try to save a vital levee protecting tens of thousands of houses in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. But a power station, fuel terminals, and many water pumps were shut down after being submerged in the worst flooding in the nation's history. Foreign governments were finalizing plans to evacuate non- essential embassy personnel.

Voters across Bosnia go to the polls tomorrow and Sunday for the second internationally supervised election since civil war ended in 1995. About 2.7 million Bosnians are eligible to cast ballots for a three-person presidency representing the Muslim, Serb, and Croat communities, plus national and regional legislatures. But analysts said it was likely that voters would resist choosing candidates who were prepared to put national interests above those of their own ethnic groups.

Saying, "We don't want to raise expectations about the outcome of our talks," Pakistani officials prepared to greet a delegation of major international lenders. Support to the cash-strapped government ground to a halt after it exploded six nuclear-test devices in May. Analysts said new low-interest loans to help pay down a $32 billion foreign debt appeared to hinge on signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - a move that was to be debated by a special session of parliament beginning today.

Efforts to eradicate coca-leaf production in Colombia have failed and need "a profound revision," the country's new antinarcotics chief said. Reuben Olarte, accepting his oath of office, said the acreage devoted to growing the raw material for cocaine is more than 1-1/2 times larger than in 1994, despite an ambitious aerial herbicide-spraying program using donated US planes and pilots.

Twelve US communications satellites built by the controversial Loral space-systems company were destroyed in the failure of a Russian rocket launch. Soon after liftoff from the Baikonur cosmodrome, which Russia leases from Kazakstan, the rocket's motors stopped. Fragments of the satellites and the rocket fell in a sparsely populated region of Siberia, the Russian space agency said. No estimates of the loss were announced. Loral also is linked to the transfer of sensitive US satellite technology to China.

Etceteras

" Freedom of speech in debate in the House ... should never be denied or abridged. But [it] does not mean license to indulge in personal abuses or ridicule." - Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the House prepared to consider impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

Dan Dent loves sled rides and thinks inner-city children should, too. So the investment banker is inviting a youth - to be chosen from one of Baltimore's Police Athletic League centers - to join him this winter and experience the thrill of whizzing along on a blanket of snow. But what if the city doesn't get enough of the white stuff? No problem; that's not the venue Dent has in mind anyway. He wants to take his guest, all expenses paid, to Alaska for the 1,150-mile Iditarod race, which he's entering for the first time.

No sexist jokes, please, but the lower house of Congress in Colombia is imposing a strict new dress code, effective immediately: no more miniskirts or jeans on the job. Just to be fair, the jeans ban also applies to men. No word yet on whether the Senate will adopt the code too.

The Day's List

Baseball Records That Will Be Tough to Break

Lost in the excitement over eclipsing Roger Maris's 1961 home-run record is the possibility that Mark McGwire also could set another single-season record: most walks. McGwire needed 21 more (prior to Thursday night's game) before Babe Ruth's 1923 mark of 170 would be his as well. Here are other long-standing seasonal marks (for hitters and pitchers) that will survive 1998 and perhaps many more years to come:

Batting Average: Rogers Hornsby (1924) .424

Hits: George Sisler (1920) 257

Consecutive-game hits: Joe DiMaggio (1941) 56

Runs: Billy Hamilton (1894) 196

Runs batted in: Hack Wilson (1930) 190

Victories: Jack Chesbro (1904) 41

Shutouts: Grover Cleveland Alexander (1916) 16

Strikeouts: Nolan Ryan (1973) 383

Complete games: Amos Rusie (1893) 50

Appearances: Mike Marshall (1974) 106

- Fastball/Cox Interactive Media Inc.

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