CLINTON SPIN DOCTORS HELP HEALTH CARE The White House is working to counter the notion that President Clinton's health care proposals will mean higher costs, less service, or both, for Americans who already have health insurance. Many health care specialists have said overall spending for health care will have to go up if insurance is to be provided to the 35 million people who now have no coverage and service levels are to be kept steady for people already covered. The White House says it would cover costs for the currently uninsured by clamping down on private medical costs and holding down Medicare and Medicaid expenses. Vice President Al Gore Jr. also said Sunday that some people who now pay nothing probably will have to start paying something. Somalia fighting

Three US soldiers were wounded in fresh clashes between UN peacekeepers and Somali gunmen yesterday. But a UN spokesman denied reports that American peacekeepers had been killed in the fighting. ``We had three US soldiers wounded, and all three are in stable condition in our hospital,'' said Maj. David Stockwell, the UN's chief spokesman.

Somali scouts working for Western news organizations said earlier that four American soldiers had been killed in a dawn gun battle. Fighting appeared to have broken out during a weapons search by US and Malaysian troops around the Medina and Benadir hospitals. Arabs protest pact

Lebanese troops fired on Hizbullah militants demonstrating in Beirut yesterday against the historic peace pact between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization yesterday. Five people were killed and 33 wounded, witnesses said.

Palestinian opponents of the deal also marched in Syria and Jordan. In the Israeli-occupied territories, many Palestinians observed a general strike called by the Islamic resistance movement Hamas.

Four Israelis and four Palestinians died on Sunday in violence related to the accord. US ends North Korea talks

The chief US negotiator trying to open two suspected North Korean atomic plants to international inspection said yesterday that Washington will not set deadlines for Pyongyang to toe the nuclear line.

Robert Gallucci told reporters after meeting South Korean leaders the communist North had so far failed to meet the conditions for further negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang. Japan's troops go home

About 450 United Nations peacekeepers from Japan flew to Thailand yesterday, beginning the withdrawal from Cambodia of the first Japanese ground troops to serve abroad since World War II.

The Japanese served in an engineering battalion, clearing mines, building roads, and repairing bridges in southern Cambodia. The troops were to leave for Japan today. The remaining 150 Japanese troops will withdraw from Cambodia by the end of the month. Entertainment merger

Paramount, a leading Hollywood movie studio, and Viacom, a cable television giant, have agreed to an $8.2 billion merger that would create one of the world's biggest media-entertainment companies. The pact would combine Viacom's sizeable capacity to distribute programs over its cable TV networks and cable systems with Paramount's considerable experience as a major Hollywood film maker and TV program producer. Sampras wins US Open

In Sunday's US Open tennis tournament, US competitor Pete Sampras beat Cedric Pioline of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to follow up his Wimbledon championship with a second US Open title. Sampras, who earned $535,000, regained the No. 1 ranking in the world. Raymond Burr, actor

Actor Raymond Burr, who solved countless crimes as popular television attorney Perry Mason, died Sunday night at his ranch in northern California.

As Perry Mason, Burr played a wily defense attorney who always solved his cases, often represented the underdog, and always sought out the truth in a television series that ran from 1957 to 1966, and in TV movies after 1985.

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