News In Brief

The US

States may not limit the time anyone serves in Congress, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday. It struck down as unconstitutional an Arkansas term-limits measure, a step 21 other states have taken in various forms. The 5-4 decision could put more pressure on Congress to pass a constitutional term-limits amendment and could loom large as an issue in the '96 elections. (Story, Page 1.) The high court also ruled that police with court warrants usually must knock and announce their presence before searching a home. And the court refused to let the University of Maryland reinstate a scholarship program limited to black students that was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court.

High flood waters of the Missouri River receded in St. Charles, Mo., yesterday after cresting several feet below 1993 levels. Residents kept a wary eye on strained levees and piles of sandbags. On Sunday, Congressman Gephardt promised federal aid during a tour of flood-ravaged areas along the Mississippi. Governor Carnahan has declared a state of emergency for the state of Missouri.

Senator Gramm said he would continue to fight to add tax breaks to a balanced-budget plan moving through the Senate; he criticized fellow presidential hopeful Senator Dole, saying he had not done enough to include tax breaks in the budget package. (Story, Page 1.) Gramm also said Sunday on a TV talk show that he would keep fighting to block Dr. Henry Foster's nomination to be surgeon general.

Thousands of people took a last look at the bomb-shattered federal building in Oklahoma City as final plans were made to implode the ruins today. Newsweek magazine reported in its May 29 issue that the FBI expects to arrest a group of major players in the bombing within weeks, including husbands, wives, and children.

Human-rights groups are criticizing the Pentagon for developing laser weapons that could blind enemy soldiers. A decision may come next month on whether to approve full-scale production of one such Army weapon. The Army said its purpose is to disable electro-optical systems such as infrared sensors on tanks. The Human Rights Watch group said in a report the Pentagon is pursuing five laser weapons that could blind people.

Unaccompanied Haitian children will be cleared out of refugee camps at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay by June 30, the Miami Herald reported. It is still unclear where the children will go, however. Children whose cases have not been fully reviewed by that date -- or whose relatives have not been located -- will be brought to the US.

Former Defense Secretary Aspin, who died yesterday, served as a Wisconsin congressman for 22 years. At the time of his Pentagon appointment, he was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Aspin took the defense job with plans to downsize the military, but became entangled in President Clinton's plan to drop the ban on gay men and women in the services.

Cynicism and distrust toward government, corporate executives, and religious leaders is greater among the public than the media, according to a poll by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press. However, nearly two-thirds of the public -- and the same percentage of opinion leaders -- see the press as too adversarial. Only one-third of journalists surveyed for the poll agreed with the viewpoint. (Story, Page 18.)

In a Louis Harris and Associates poll to be released today, most Americans don't know the inflation, unemployment, or economic-growth rates. The best showing was the 44 percent of respondents who almost named the mortgage rate.

Washington commuters eased in to work without the nightmare scenarios predicted for the first business day since Pennsylvania Avenue was closed to traffic in front of the White House. The move was made to increase security for the presidential family and home.

The World

The Israeli government suspended its plan to confiscate Arab land in Jerusalem rather than face a vote of no-confidence that threatened to bring down the coalition. Foreign Minister Peres made the announcement in parliament yesterday shortly before the vote was to begin. The confiscation plans caused an uproar in the Arab world and strained relations with the PLO.

Gunners broke several days of silence in Sarajevo yesterday with a sudden surge of mortar and sniper fire. The violence came after Serbs broke into a UN-controlled collection point for heavy weapons and took two artillery pieces. The Serbs seemed encouraged by UN passivity during fighting around the city last week. Hundreds of projectiles landed in the city without a UN response. (Story, Page 1.)

Economic growth in the major industrialized countries will be less robust than predicted, chiefly because of a worsening outlook for Japan, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said. Its figures indicated that GDP in the 25 OECD countries will rise at an inflation-adjusted rate of 2.7 percent this year and next, compared with December forecasts of 3.0 percent in 1995 and 2.9 percent in 1996.

US Commerce Secretary Brown said Washington would abide by any ruling of the World Trade Organization over sanctions it has imposed on Japan in their car-trade dispute. EU Trade Commissioner Brittan criticized the sanctions before meeting US trade representative Kantor in Brussels yesterday. Some major Japanese automakers, meanwhile, said they may suspend exports and reduce production of luxury car models.

Sect leader Shoko Asahara plotted guerrilla attacks on Japanese cities and ordered weapons stockpiled, news reports said. The reports cited the confessions of top members of the Aum Shinri Kyo sect, whom police are interrogating about the March 20 gas attack.

Conservative French Prime Minister Juppe is to unveil the first practical measures in President Chirac's war on unemployment when he puts his policy program to a parliamentary confidence vote today. Juppe is expected to outline a $10 billion package of tax breaks and subsidies to stimulate job creation.

Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. appealed to the election commission to investigate alleged vote fraud. His supporters threatened officials they said deprived the late president's son of a Senate seat. Violence surrounding the May 8 national elections continued as an election official and his son were killed.

Belgian politicians began maneuvering for coalition talks yesterday after voters stayed loyal to familiar mainstream parties, ignoring corruption scandals and resisting a gamble on the far right. After Sunday's election, Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene's center-left coalition held a slim majority in the 150-seat lower house.

Chamlong Srimuang, the controversial party leader who brought down the Thai government last week, said yesterday he was stepping down from national politics. Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai dissolved parliament after Chamlong pulled his Palang Dharma party out of the ruling coalition hours before a no-confidence vote was due.

Talks between the US and North Korea, aimed at containing the North's nuclear program, stalled yesterday. Japan, meanwhile, announced it would trim grant aid to China to protest Beijing's recent nuclear test but didn't offer specifics.

Afghan government forces launched an offensive against the opposition Taleban militia and said it captured positions from the militia southwest of Kabul.


The first women to attend a Japanese Navy long-distance training course set sail yesterday on a half-year round-the-world tour. The 15 women join 128 men, a Defense Agency spokesman said. Until now, training vessels have had no accommodations for women.

A herd of 50 elephants making its annual rainy-season quest for food caused $48,000 worth of damage to pineapple and banana plantations south of Bangkok. Irate Thai villagers burned tires and fired weapons in the air, trying to drive the elephants away.

Pat Riley may have coached his last game for the New York Knicks. The team lost in the NBA semifinals to the Indiana Pacers. Riley had no comment pending talks with club officials.

Ostrich fillets and burgers are on the menu at the National Restaurant Show at Chicago's McCormick Place. Processors, who say ostrich tastes like beef, hope it catches on.

Top 10 Singles

1. ''This Is How We Do It,'' Montell Jordan (Island) (Platinum)

2. ''Have You Really Ever Loved a Woman?'' Bryan Adams (A&M)

3. ''Water Runs Dry,'' Boyz II Men (Motown)

4. ''I'll Be There for You (You're All I Need to Get By),'' Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige (Def Jam)

5. ''Freak Like Me,'' Adina Howard (Mecca Don-EastWest (Gold)

6. ''Total Eclipse of the Heart,'' Nicki French (Critique)

7. ''I Know,'' Dionne Farris (Columbia)

8. ''Red Light Special,'' TLC (LaFace) (Gold)

9. ''I Believe,'' Blessid Union of Souls (EMI)

10. ''Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days),'' Monica (Rowdy)

(Platinum signifies more than 1 million copies sold; Gold signifies more than 500,000 copies sold.)

Billboard-Soundscan Inc.- Broadcast Data Systems

''I believe he's going to go forward, I believe he will get out of committee, and I believe that fair-minded senators will vote for him.''

White House adviser George Stephanopoulos on Dr. Henry Foster's nomination for surgeon general

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