News In Brief

The US

Hurricane Georges was heading for the Mississippi River delta after leaving a trail of wreckage along the Florida Keys. More than 1.5 million people were ordered or urged to leave New Orleans and low-lying coastal areas. The storm, expected to reach the mouth of the Mississippi yesterday, could pack winds of 110 m.p.h. or more, forecasters said. After killing more than 300 people in the Caribbean, Georges took no lives in Florida. The path of the storm reportedly spared much of the southern part of the state, but damage was widespread from Key Largo to Key West.

The House approved an $80 billion tax cut and President Clinton renewed his vow to veto it. In an uncommon weekend session, the House passed the five-year tax reduction 229 to 195. Funded almost entirely by an expected budget surplus, it is designed to benefit some married couples, farmers, and the self-employed. Clinton says none of the surplus should be used until a long-term plan is developed to bolster Social Security.

The House Judiciary Committee agreed to make public an estimated 60,000 additional pages of material from independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Republicans rejected a Democratic proposal that Starr be asked to provide other papers he has gathered during his probe of Clinton. Rep. John Conyers (D) of Michigan said the material might contain evidence that the president did not commit impeachable offenses and that Starr had unfairly expanded his inquiry.

The Senate approved 92 to 1 a bill designed to increase airline competition, improve service to less-populous areas, and enhance airport security. The most contentious aspect of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill involves adding flights at four major airports: O'Hare in Chicago, Reagan National in Washington, and LaGuardia and Kennedy in New York.

A top aide to Islamic extremist Osama bin Laden was charged with helping finance, train, and arm members of a terrorist group, including the alleged bombers of US embassies in East Africa. Mamdouh Mahmud Salim was charged in a New York federal court with murder conspiracy and use of weapons of mass destruction. Salim is in custody in Germany, awaiting extradition to the US.

Consumer spending bounced back in August, the Commerce Department said. The 0.6 percent rise last month followed a revised 0.1 percent decline in July. A return to work by striking General Motors employees was reportedly a strong factor in the August rebound.

Sales of previously owned homes sagged in August after hitting their highest level in 30 years in July, the National Association of Realtors reported. Home sales fell 3.7 percent from July's torrid pace, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.73 million units, the lowest since January 1998.

Congress passed a $2.35 billion measure to run its operations in the next fiscal year. The vote came just hours after Clinton signed a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded through Oct. 9. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, but Congress has passed only two of 13 spending measures normally needed to fund government beyond that date.

A fourth test of the US nuclear stockpile took place at the Nevada Test Site, the Energy Department said. The experiment, designed to determine the reliability of US plutonium reserves, remained subcritical, and no self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction occurred, a spokesman said. Two similar tests took place last year and another in March, the first nuclear-related experiments at the site since a 1992 nuclear-test moratorium took effect.

An estimated 43.4 million Americans had no health insurance last year, up 1.7 million from the previous year, the Census Bureau reported.

The World

Under generally favorable weather conditions, Germans voted in larger numbers than in their previous national election, officials said. Chancellor Helmut Kohl, seeking a fifth consecutive term, cast his ballot after rallying from a 12-point deficit in early public opinion polls. Challenger Gerhard Schrder conceded he was nervous about the outcome, which many analysts said would be too close to call. Thirty-three parties entered candidates for the 656 seats in parliament.

Malaysia's capital braced for more turmoil as antigovernment protesters shrugged off the police breakup of their Saturday protest and planned another mass rally. At least 20 police vehicles were deployed around the city's main square to try to prevent the nighttime gathering. Meanwhile, major opposition parties announced they'd formed a coalition to try to topple Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. The protests began after Mahathir fired his deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, accusing him of homosexual behavior.

Seven Albanian villages in southern Kosovo came under heavy fire from Serb forces, causing an exodus of an estimated 15,000 more civilian refugees. The Serbs appeared to be targeting a small separatist force that had regrouped after a series of defeats earlier this year. On the diplomatic front, a Serb response was expected to the draft of a US- mediated "interim solution" to the Kosovo crisis that would set aside the issue of independence for three years.

A highly charged meeting is expected today between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraq's No. 2 leader. Annan is believed likely to remind Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz that the Security Council proclaimed last week it will not conduct a promised "comprehensive review" of the Iraqi situation until the Baghdad government rescinds its Aug. 5 decision to stop cooperating with UN weapons inspectors. Iraq has complained that its past cooperation with the inspectors has brought an end to eight years of economic sanctions no nearer.

Angered by a deal that ends years of bitter feuding between rival Kurdish groups, the Turkish government announced it was restoring diplomatic relations with neighboring Iraq. The Kurdish pact was brokered by the US. The Ankara and Baghdad governments are concerned about the security threat posed by the Kurds, who occupy a haven in northern Iraq set up by Western allies after the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq welcomed the Turkish gesture, but did not say whether it would reciprocate.

There were new doubts about whether the "death sentence" against controversial author Salman Rushdie had indeed been disavowed by the government of Iran. After separate remarks late last week by President Mohamad Khatami and another senior official that their government would distance itself from the 1989 decree against Rushdie, the Foreign Ministry in Tehran said yesterday, "the irrevocability of the edict is a fact." Rushdie said Friday that he did not regret and wouldn't apologize for writing "The Satanic Verses," a novel that the late Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini said insults Islam.

Saying, "they have brought the best they have," Sudan's president warned of an imminent and "final" battle between his troops and a rebel movement for control of a vital southern city. Lt. Gen. Omar al-Bashir's government also suspended classes at all Sudanese universities except those for women to free students to join the fighting for Juba. Analysts view the city as crucial to the rebel Sudanese People's Liberation Army's campaign for autonomy in the Christian and animist southern region.

Etceteras

"Here, at least, I had four walls to call my own. Of course, now I don't have a roof."

- Ponce, Puerto Rico, squatter Francisco Collazo Santiago, after hurricane Georges swept across the island.

Reflecting on what had just happened in Oklahoma City, Gregory Johnson said: "It feels great! It feels great! It was well overdue, but it all worked out. Words can't express the way I feel right now!" Had he welcomed the birth of his first child? Perhaps he'd finally paid off his mortgage? No. Johnson, you see, coached Prairie View A&M, a small Texas college, to its first football victory since Oct. 28, 1989 - a streak of 80 consecutive losses, the longest in modern history. The waiting ended when his team edged Langston College, 14-12.

In Slovakia, Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar had some explaining to do earlier this month because of his reelection-campaign billboards. They featured a picture of rugged mountains, lush countryside, and the words "The country of your heart." What could possibly be controversial about that, you ask? Well, his opponents discovered the photo had been taken in Switzerland.

The Day's List

Most Powerful Women In US Business - Fortune

Carly Fiorina, group president of Lucent Technologies' Global Service Provider Business, heads a new list of 50 most powerful American businesswomen published by Fortune. In measuring their power, the magazine considered such factors as revenues and profits controlled, the importance of the business to the global economy, and its impact on US culture. The top 10:

1. Carly Fiorina, Lucent Technologies

2. Oprah Winfrey, Harpo Entertainment Group

3. Heidi Miller, Travelers Group

4. Shelly Lazarus, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

5. Sherry Lansing, Paramount Pictures

6. Jill Barad, Mattel

7. Marilyn Carlson, Carlson Cos.

8. Andrea Jung, Avon Products

9. Abby Joseph Cohen, Goldman Sachs

10. Marjorie Scardino, Pearson PLC

- PR Newswire

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