US TRADE DEFICIT DIPPED IN JUNE The United States trade deficit narrowed slightly to $9.37 billion in June, the first decline in three months, the government said yesterday. Still, the annual merchandise trade gap appeared headed toward the second highest on record. The Commerce Department reported that the deficit in both goods and services was 1.6 percent less than the revised $9.52 billion a month earlier, when the gap shot up 11.6 percent. The original May estimate was $9.17 billion. Many analysts had expected the imbalance to shrink about 2 percent. Exports rose 3.6 percent, or $2 billion, to $58.17 billion, led by sales of aircraft, and telecommunications and computer equipment. Imports grew 2.8 percent, or $1.86 billion, to a $67.54 billion. Earthquake in Algeria
An earthquake struck northwest Algeria early yesterday, killing at least 147 people, local rescue officials said. At least 289 people were injured and there was considerable damage to buildings and property, according to officials. Rescue work was hampered because roads were blocked by debris, they said. Between 8,000 to 10,000 people were reportedly left without shelter. Texas districts voided
Three Texas congressional districts drawn to increase minority representation have been ruled unconstitutional. On Wednesday, a three-judge panel struck down two districts in Houston and one in Dallas, saying they ``bear the odious imprint of racial apartheid.'' The Texas lawsuit was filed by six Republicans - four white, one Hispanic, and one Asian - who claimed that 24 of the state's 30 districts were racially gerrymandered and should be redrawn. The judges said the other 21 districts were fair because they were drawn more to favor incumbents than to help a certain ethnic group. House passes defense bill
Lawmakers have added money to Air Force bomber programs, cut funds for peacekeeping, increased the military pay raise, and urged President Clinton to end the arms embargo over Bosnia. But in other respects, the $263.8 billion defense spending plan for 1995 closely reflects White House priorities. With a 280-to-137 House vote Wednesday evening, only final Senate action - which could come this week - remains. Florida and Cuban refugees
Florida's governor asked the US government for emergency help in handling the largest wave of Cuban refugees to arrive in the state since the 1980 Mariel boatlift. Gov. Lawton Chiles's plea came amid reports that Cubans were fleeing the Communist-ruled island without police interference.