News In Brief

House and Senate negotiators agreed on $11.7 billion in funding for the war over Kosovo and for a slew of Pentagon programs - almost doubling President Clinton's $6 billion request. But, even after agreeing to a new loan program for smaller steel companies and a proposal to bar the federal government from claiming part of the $200 billion in settlements that states reached with the tobacco industry, negotiators were still far from agreeing on other aspects of the emergency spending bill. It also includes $1 billion to help Central America rebuild from hurricane Mitch and $566 million to aid US farmers.

The Senate rejected a proposal to impose new restrictions on sales at gun shows. On a 53-to-45 vote, senators supported voluntary background checks on private sales at the shows. They also approved a limited anti-trust exemption for entertainment companies exploring a voluntary code of conduct to limit violence aimed at children.

NBC said it had curtailed advertising for a violent TV miniseries about a runaway train with an atomic bomb on board. Much of the action in "Atomic Train" takes place in Denver, where the network's local affiliate has decided not to show the two-part "sweeps week" drama because of the school shootings in nearby Littleton. The station manager said the drama's final hour is "very violent" and reminiscent of the tragedy.

A suspect was arrested in Aurora, Colo., for allegedly planning to bomb a mosque and "kill Iraqis," authorities said. Jack Modig was in a car in front of the Islamic Center before fleeing at the approach of a policeman. In the vehicle, officials found 30 gallons of gasoline, other bomb components, four guns, and 850 rounds of ammunition.

The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines, accusing the carrier of predatory practices that prevent start-up firms from establishing themselves in the Dallas/Fort Worth market.

Clinton plans to nominate retired Navy Adm. Joseph Prueher as ambassador to China to replace James Sasser, The New York Times reported. Prueher retired from the Navy in March, the newspaper said. Sasser, a former US senator from Tennessee, had planned to leave Beijing this month before he was forced to take shelter in the embassy there during protests of NATO's bombing of China's embassy in Yugoslavia.

A bill that would limit Y2K lawsuits was passed by the House on a 236-190 vote. It would cap punitive damage awards, make potential plaintiffs wait 90 days before filing lawsuits, and limit class-action suits arising out of year-2000 computer problems. Clinton has promised to veto the measure.

Singer Bette Midler teamed with conservancy groups to keep New York City from auctioning off 115 municipally owned lots that residents had transformed from eyesores into gardens. Midler gave $250,000 of her own money and got others to put up an additional $4 million to buy the gardens, the New York Restoration Project said.

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