CLINTON RALLIES HEALTH-CARE SUPPORT President Clinton insists that scaled-down health-care reform proposals moving through Congress still satisfy his demand to put the United States on track toward coverage for all. Counting noses on Capitol Hill, he conceded that more ambitious proposals simply won't fly. With the health-care debate entering a critical period, the president met in a strategy session with his Cabinet yesterday and dispatched Vice President Al Gore Jr. to a Capitol Hill rally with ``reform riders'' who converged on Washington from a cross-country bus caravan. In a wide-ranging news conference Wednesday night, Clinton sought to showcase his administration's work on health care, crime, and the economy while discounting the distraction of congressional hearings into the Whitewater affair. Shrugging off polls showing his popularity slipping, Clinton suggested that ``maybe it's partly a function of the times in which we live'' or a failure to adequately communicate his accomplishments. Spanish tuna war

Spanish fishermen cut the nets of an Irish trawler in the Bay of Biscay yesterday, ensnaring a fourth country in a bitter ``tuna war'' over illegal nets. The incident came as a British gunboat headed to the area after clashes between British and Spanish boats Wednesday. Representatives from France, Britain, Ireland, and Spain were meeting in Brussels yesterday in a bid to solve the conflict. Strike stalls Nigeria

Shops in Nigeria's main commercial center remained closed yesterday on another day of strikes aimed at toppling the military government. Leaders of the striking National Labor Congress were to meet in Lagos yesterday to consider latest offers from the military government. Compliance with the strike was scattered nationwide but heavy in Lagos and other southern areas, the hotbed of antigovernment sentiment. The strikers are protesting the imprisonment of Moshood Abiola, the apparent victor in the June 1993 election that was annulled by the military government. US jobless claims dip

The number of Americans seeking state unemployment benefits declined for the second consecutive week last week, dropping to the lowest level since February, the government reported yesterday. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 319,000 in the week ended July 30. Amtrak accident probed

Investigators are looking at track conditions and the possibility of mechanical failure in an Amtrak derailment that led US Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena to call yesterday for a rail-safety summit. About 110 of the 360 people on board were injured when the Chicago-bound Lake Shore Limited jumped the tracks Wednesday morning just outside Batavia, N.Y., 30 miles east of Buffalo. Breyer sworn in

New Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was sworn in at Chief Justice William Rehnquist's summer home in Vermont Wednesday. Judge Breyer and his wife, Joanna, traveled from their home in the Boston area to Justice Rehnquist's house in the mountains of Greensboro, Vt. Mrs. Breyer was the only witness as Rehnquist administered the oath that made her husband the nation's 108th justice.

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