News In Brief

The US

Uncertainty hung over the Mideast peace talks outside Washington. President Clinton returned to the White House yesterday morning without the agreement he had fought for, but was expected to return later in the day to the Wye Plantation on Maryland's eastern shore to again confront deep divisions preventing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat from taking the next step in the peace process.

Lawyers for Paula Jones were to argue for reinstatement of her sexual-harassment lawsuit against Clinton today in a US appeals court in St. Paul, Minn. The suit was thrown out of court by a district judge in April. As attempts continued to settle the dispute out of court, previously secret materials in the case were released via the Internet by district Judge Susan Webber Wright. She said Sept. 1 that she would relax her gag order because much of the file had been leaked.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said there was not enough bipartisan support to remove Clinton from office, although he believed there was sufficient evidence to do so. Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah said on Fox TV he thought the House would vote for impeachment, but there would not be enough Senate votes to convict the president.

Opening arguments were heard in a landmark antitrust case accusing Microsoft of breaking the law to stamp out competition. Legal experts said it may be the nation's most significant antitrust case since the government went after AT&T in 1974. The trial, in Washington, D.C., is expected to last about six weeks.

An aviator kicked out of the Navy after appearing on national TV in 1992 to say he was homosexual lost a Supreme Court appeal. It was the fourth time in two years the court has turned down an appeal of the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which went into effect after Congress relaxed the military's 50-year ban on gays in 1993. The latest case was brought by Tracy Thorne, a Navy lieutenant who stated he was gay in a letter to his commanding officer and in a May 19, 1992, TV appearance. Despite winning a Navy achievement award, Thorne was discharged in 1995 because of his declaration.

Twice as many prisoners have been shot and killed in California since late 1994 by guards trying to break up fights than in all other states combined, the Los Angeles Times reported. Over that period, the newspaper said, 12 prisoners have been shot dead and 32 wounded by California guards firing guns to stop fights - compared with six in the rest of the nation. Guards in other states do not shoot at fighting inmates, the paper said - choosing instead to break up brawls with pepper spray, tactical teams, or warning shots.

McKesson Corp., a wholesale-drug giant, announced acquisition of HBO & Co., a leader in health care data systems. McKesson described it as a $14.5 billion stock deal that would create the first supply and information-management company in the health-care industry. Combining Atlanta-based HBOC and San Francisco-based McKesson would create a company with $21 billion in annual revenues, the announcement said. The agreement comes about three months after the collapse of a proposed HBOC acquisition of McKesson.

Rain, floods, and tornadoes pummeled central and southeast Texas, where at least 14 people died as a result of weekend storms. In some parts of San Antonio, rising creeks and rivers carried away cars and mobile homes, inundated buildings, and closed highways. The Union Pacific rail line between Austin and San Antonio was washed out in at least 20 places.

About 1,000 firefighters battled a wind-driven blaze in California's Los Padres National Forest. The fire began Friday when a tractor pulling a mower - to reduce the fire hazard - hit a rock, causing a spark, a US Forest Service spokesman said.

The World

A bus-station attack by a suspected Palestinian militant will not cause Israel to pull out of peace talks in the US, Prime Minister Netanyahu said. But he said he wouldn't sign any deal yielding more West Bank land to the Palestinian Authority until the latter "fights terror in both word and deed." Sixty-four people, many of them soldiers, were hurt when two grenades exploded in their midst at the peak of the morning rush hour in Beersheba.

UN officials canceled aid convoys to refugees in western Kosovo after reports of heavy shelling a day after three Serb policemen were killed at a highway checkpoint. Witnesses said hundreds more Albanians were fleeing the advance of Serb troops after the incident. Serb sources denied any knowledge of the shelling, but NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana warned that the alliance "would not allow" a new outbreak of violence in Kosovo.

In as surprise move, Mexico's Zapatista rebel movement said it wanted to reopen peace negotiations - but with a special commission rather than the government of President Ernesto Zedillo. The commission, known by the acronym COCOPA, was viewed as having lost credibility when an autonomy deal it had negotiated with the Zapatistas in 1996 was rejected by the government and all talks broke off.

Evidence that Colombia's second-largest rebel movement is responsible for an oil-pipeline explosion that killed or injured 115 people would be "a severe blow" to peace efforts, the Defense Ministry said. The early-morning blast Sunday came one week after the leftist National Liberation Army opened talks with the government on setting the agenda for formal peace negotiations in February to end 34 years of civil war.

Sabotage was suspected as the cause of a gasoline pipeline rupture that burst into flames at a refinery in southern Nigeria. Witnesses said hundreds of people who'd been collecting the leaking fuel in buckets died in the blaze. Emergency crews shut off the flow and were allowing the fire to burn out.

An 11-week cease-fire ended in Guinea-Bissau, whose capital reverberated with heavy-weapons fire, causing thousands of residents to flee for their safety. Shooting within a mile of the presidential palace indicated that rebel soldiers may have penetrated the defenses manned by government troops. Attempts to negotiate a lasting peace between the two sides have made little headway since ex-military chief Ansumane Mane began his bid to topple civilian President Joao Bernardo Vieira June 7.

To try to quell the spiral of violence wracking Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, 5,000 more police will be deployed on the streets, government officials said. Most of the violence is blamed on rival groups of Indian Muslims, who settled in the city at the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Karachi already is patrolled by 42,000 police and paramilitary troops.

Tanks and artillery blocking access to Georgia's second-largest city, Kutaisi, exchanged fire with hundreds of rebellious troops opposed to President Edouard Shevardnadze. Shevardnadze threatened force against the mutineers, who were believed to be supporters of his late predecessor, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. The incident brought an immediate halt in construction of an oil pipeline being built by a foreign consortium that is considered vital to Georgia's economic future.

Rescue crews said they were ending efforts to find survivors in the wreckage of a high-speed passenger train that derailed near Alexandria in northern Egypt. At least 52 people died in the accident; more than 100 others were hurt.


"This deed, this terrorist attack, strengthens the Israeli position in the negotiations with the Palestinians." - Aviv Bushinsky, spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu, after grenade explosions hurt 64 Israelis in Beersheba.

OK, you fancy yourself quite a movie buff. You've seen hundreds of releases, if not more. What would you say is the most memorable line of dialogue uttered on celluloid? If the decision of the compilers of the "Guinness Book of Films" counts for anything, it's "Bond - James Bond," by Sean Connery in the 1962 hit, "Dr. No." A close second, according to the publisher: Humphrey Bogart's "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine" - from, of course, the 1942 classic, "Casablanca."

There are lawbreakers who delight in taunting the police, and then there's the inmate who escaped from Norway's Bastoey Prison one night last week. The facility is on an island in Oslo Fjord, so to make it to freedom on the mainland he had to steal the prison's rowboat. Once in the clear, he phoned back to report that he'd been successful. And then he complained that the boat was too heavy.

The Day's List

States With Most Firms On Fastest-Growing List

California has nurtured more of the nation's 500 fastest-growing private companies than any other state, according to an annual survey by Inc. magazine. To qualify, firms had to have been independent and privately held through 1997. They had to have generated revenue for at least half of 1993 and reached $200,000 in sales in 1997. States with the most companies on Inc.'s top-500 list and the number listed for each:

1. California 83

2. Texas 44

3. Massachusetts 31

4. Virginia 26

5. New York 24

6. Florida 22

(tie) Illinois 22

8. New Jersey 20

9. Pennsylvania 19

10. Georgia 17

11. Maryland 16

12. Ohio 14

13. Colorado 13

(tie) Michigan 13

15. Missouri 12

- Associated Press

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