News In Brief

The US

With a draft accord finally on the table, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began a second week of Mideast peace talks after averting a threatened late-night Israeli walkout. Details of the proposal were not released. "I hope the parties will seize this opportunity and not retreat," President Clinton said as he left the White House for yet another day of trying to bring negotiations between the wary parties to a positive conclusion.

The 105th Congress wrapped up its two-year session, and lawmakers went home to campaign for the Nov. 3 elections. But the House Judiciary Committee will keep working on the Clinton impeachment inquiry with a self-imposed goal of finishing by the end of the year. And the full House could be called back in late November of December to take up articles of impeachment or related matters. Meanwhile, Clinton signed the $500 billion election-year spending bill.

White House lawyers were rebuffed in an effort to restrict the impeachment inquiry to Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky and charges of lying and obstructing justice arising from it. In the first meeting between administration lawyers and Judiciary Committee attorneys since the House approved the probe, Republicans made it clear they were not ready to limit the scope of charges that might be brought against the president based on evidence already referred - or yet to be referred - by independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

Clinton vetoed a bill to pay about $1 billion in US arrears to the UN, saying it was improperly tied to antiabortion provisions. However, the president approved paying just enough - $50 million - to allow the US to maintain its right to vote in the General Assembly. Congress had agreed to pay most of the $1.6 billion owed to the UN, but funding was linked to a provision barring any aid to international family-planning groups that press countries to liberalize their abortion laws.

The Senate confirmed a score of Clinton's foreign-policy nominees, including John Shattuck as the envoy to Prague and Michael Sullivan to Ireland - but allowed the nomination of James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg to die without a vote. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California urged the president to appoint Hormel as the first openly gay US ambassador while the Congress is out of session. She said there was no question that the San Francisco civic leader would have been confirmed if Republican leaders had permitted a vote on the nomination.

The Senate also confirmed a score of judicial appointees, including more than a dozen judges who will serve on district courts. Judiciary chairman Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah said the judicial vacancy rate had been reduced to 5.9 percent, the lowest in the 1990s.

An ecology group took responsibility for a series of fires on Colorado's Vail Mountain in what may be the costliest eco-terrorist act in US history. The Earth Liberation Front, linked to other arson incidents in the Northwest, said it had torched the Vail Associates' buildings and chairlifts to protest the company's plans for expansion at the nation's busiest ski resort. In an e-mail message to several news groups, the Earth Liberation Front said expansion would "ruin the last, best lynx habitat in the state." Damage was estimated at $12 million.

There was joy in Gotham, as the New York Yankees crowned an extraordinary season by beating the San Diego Padres 3-0 and sweeping a four-game World Series. The Yankees had already set an American League record by winning 114 games during baseball's regular season.

The World

Amid predictions that their work would be "very daunting," leaders of the international observer mission in Kosovo planned a phased arrival of their 2,000 monitors. An advance party already is in place. A US spokesman for the mission said a major concern was the possibility that Serb forces and Albanian separatists in the province would try to take the unarmed monitors hostage.

The first public sign of conflict among Germany's new coalition government partners emerged over military strength. Chancellor-elect Schrder's Social Democrats angrily rejected Green Party calls to cut the number of Army troops by half over the next four years and to end compulsory military service. The clash surfaced as the Greens prepared to meet in national convention this weekend to OK the coalition, which would give them their first share of power.

Despite plans for a major counterattack by allies of President Laurent Kabila, rebels in Congo said their fight for a key diamond-mining center had begun. Mbuji-Mayi is of strategic importance; its mines earn much of the nation's revenue. The rebels' claim could not immediately be confirmed. But, if true, it would represent an impressive advance. Barely a week ago they captured Kabila's last stronghold in eastern Congo, Kindu, almost 300 miles to the northeast.

The struggle for control of Guinea-Bissau appeared to resume in full force as clashes were reported in the capital and in a key southern city. Rebels led by former Army chief Ansumane Mane also captured the country's No. 2 city, Bafata. The fighting came despite a unilateral cease-fire declaration earlier this week by President Joao Bernardo Vieira. Rebel spokesmen said they had "no solid reasons to believe" Vieira's order.

Turkey warned it would use force to ensure that Syria enforces their agreement to close Kurdish rebel camps on the latter's soil. Syria's foreign minister said his government was committed to the deal but intended to try to undercut Turkey's growing ties with Israel. Up to 300 rebels, already out of the camps, reportedly clashed with rival Kurdish militiamen as they crossed into neighboring Iraq.

Sixty-five million Brazilians are due to vote Sunday in state elections that could make or break President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's efforts to bring the country's financial crisis under control. State governors have wide latitude in raising and spending tax money and also hold considerable influence over Congress, which must vote on Cardoso's proposed austerity measures. Polls showed opposition-party candidates ahead in several states. Cardoso was reelected Oct. 4.

An agreement to phase out thousands of child laborers from the carpet industry in Pakistan was signed by the International Labor Organization and the country's manufacturers and exporters association. It requires that at least 8,000 children be sent to school and that their work be monitored. But analysts called the agreement only a first step, since it covers fewer than 40 of the 450 towns and villages where carpets are hand-woven. An estimated 30,000 Pakistani children work in carpetmaking, for wages of about $2.16 a day.

More than 2-1/2 tons of cocaine, the largest seizure to date in Guyana, were found welded into the hull of a Panamanian cargo ship. Guyanese agents defied a court injunction to cut through the hull of the freighter, which had docked in Georgetown to pick up rice for delivery to the Netherlands. The cocaine, believed to have come from Colombia, would have a street value of $220 million, authorities estimated.

Etceteras

"If we were amazin', they're just incredible." - Bud Harrelson, a member of New York's so-called 'Miracle Mets' 1969 championship team, on the exploits of this year's Yankees, who swept the San Diego Padres in a four-game World Series.

In Sortland, Norway, folks are already excited about the coming millenium. But they won't be painting the town red on New Year's Eve, 1999. That's because it already will have been painted blue. Four local people came up with the idea, which they claim will transform the Arctic coastal community into "a work of art." Many homeowners and at least one church have said they'll cooperate, and town officials are applying for a government grant to buy the 12,500 gallons they figure it will take to do the job.

Liz Seymour knew she'd spent a tad extravagantly on her vacation. But when the Greater London resident returned home and opened her mail she found a letter from her bank demanding immediate repayment of $206 billion - more than one-third of Britain's national debt. Or, she could pay in installments, plus $4.2 billion a month interest. Yes, the bank admitted to having made an "administrative error."

The Day's List

O'Meara Wins the PGA's Player of the Year Award

The season isn't over yet, but Mark O'Meara clinched the Professional Golfers Association of America Player of the Year Award by picking up the World Match Play title last Sunday in Virginia Water, England. Fittingly, he edged out 1997 player of the year Tiger Woods to win the tourney. That boosted to 134 O'Meara's point total - based on tournament wins, official money standings, and scoring average - to assure him of the honor. O'Meara won both the Masters and British Open championships this year. The 10 most recent PGA of America players of the year:

1998 Mark O'Meara

1997 Tiger Woods

1996 Tom Lehman

1995 Greg Norman

1994 Nick Price

1993 Nick Price

1992 Fred Couples

1991 Corey Pavin

1990 Nick Faldo

1989 Tom Kite

- Reuters/ESPN 1998 Sports Almanac

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