News In Brief

The US

A balanced-budget bill should emerge from House and Senate negotiations this week, Senator Dole said. The legislation would provide a tax cut in the range of $230 billion to $260 billion over seven years and bring the deficit to zero by 2002. Dole said President Clinton's plan to balance the budget within 10 years comes too late to have any immediate impact. Jesse Jackson said he is closer to challenging Clinton in the 1996 race because of the president's budget proposal. GOP Senator Domenici said Clinton needs to accept the neutral budget figures of the Congressional Budget Office, but Treasury Secretary Rubin said the administration has the right to use its own figures. (Story, Page 1.)

The Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts may not force the sponsor of Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade to include gays, saying such a mandate would violate the rights of citizens under the First Amendment. The high court rejected efforts by the adoptive parents of "Baby Richard" to regain custody of the child. It turned down a constitutional challenge to a Florida law that punishes vandalism against churches and other places of worship more severely than vandalism of other properties. The court refused to order the government to admit Haitian children refugees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the US under the same standard applied to Cuban children. The high court limited prisoners' rights to a hearing before they can be isolated from other inmates as discipline for misconduct. It also refused to revive an age-bias lawsuit against a private Chicago school that would not hire a 63-year-old man because he had too much teaching experience. The court ruled that taxpayers cannot rely on a much-used federal civil rights law to attack an unconstitutional state tax if relief is available under state law. (Story, Page 3.)

The Senate is expected to vote on a highway bill today, but there may be some bumps in the road to passage. Controversial amendments are expected to be offered, including eliminating the national speed limit and ending federal regulations concerning seat belts and motorcycle helmets. The bill provides more than $6 billion for construction and maintenance of the nation's highways, which translates into jobs for states.

The US was under pressure to defend recent cuts in food aid at a donors' meting in Helsinki yesterday, but there was little likelihood it would reverse its decision. Other exporters, citing dwindling world food stocks, are angry over US cuts.

Senator Dole said he will talk with surgeon general-nominee Dr. Henry Foster this week before deciding whether to allow a Senate vote on the nomination. Opponents, citing Foster's abortion record, have said they will try to filibuster the vote. Democratic women senators warned they would hold up other legislation if Foster's nomination remained on hold.

Defense Secretary Perry confirmed that the Pentagon is considering resuming underground testing of nuclear bombs and expects to decide soon on which course of action to take.

President Clinton reportedly apologized to gay elected officials who visited the White House last week and were met by Secret Service officers wearing rubber gloves. Clinton admitted the action was "inappropriate." During Gay Pride Day Sunday, a group of protesters festooned the White House fence with rubber gloves, chanting "shame, shame."

First Union bank announced yesterday that it was buying First Fidelity for $5.4 billion. The deal would be the largest acquisition ever in the US banking industry.

Saudi Arabia said it would buy 61 aircraft from US manufacturers. Twenty-eight planes will come from Boeing and 33 from McDonnell Douglas. The deal includes 23 of Boeing's next-generation 777s, more than expected.

"Batman Forever" took in $53.3 million at the box office, the highest grossing three-day film opening in history, according to Warner Bros. The performance shattered the record set by "Jurassic Park," which took in $47 million over three days.

The World

As Bosnian Serbs freed the last of the peacekeepers they had taken hostage, UN soldiers abandoned nine posts around Sarajevo, saying conditions had become too dangerous for them to stay. In return for releasing the UN hostages, a senior Bosnian Serb official said the Serbs had been assured there would be no more NATO airstrikes. UN officials refuted the claim. US Defense Secretary Perry, meanwhile, said lifting the arms embargo against Bosnia would lead to an increase in bloodshed that could extend beyond the Balkan nation. (Story, Page 1.)

Chechen rebels left Budennovsk, the southern Russian town where they had held hostages for five days, after being promised safe passage home. The heavily armed Chechens took hospital staff, Russian journalists, and civilians with them as insurance against a trap. It was not clear whether the civilians on board had gone along of their own free will. Soon after the rebels left yesterday, hundreds of hostages poured out of the hospital where they were being held.

Australia and New Zealand stepped up their diplomatic offensive against France yesterday. Pressure has increased for South Pacific nations to take a tougher stand against French plans to renew nuclear tests in the region. Both countries said the planned eight tests in French Polynesia threatened to harm the prospects for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The US, meanwhile, said it is considering resuming nuclear testing ahead of the CTBT due by September 1996.

France's far-right National Front took the large Mediterranean port city of Toulon in municipal elections Sunday but lost two key towns thought to be easy victories. Toulon has a population of 200,000, making it a major victory for the extreme-right party. (Story, Page 6.)

Sinn Fein leader Adams said yesterday his party would never pull out of the peace process aimed at ending decades of strife in Northern Ireland. A day earlier, Sinn Fein strategist Martin McGuinness said in a speech in Dublin that exploratory talks with the British had come to an end. Adams met with South African President Mandela in Johannesburg.

The UN Special Commission in charge of disarming Iraq was to present a report to the Security Council yesterday on how far Baghdad has complied with UN weapons demands. A favorable report could lead to the easing or lifting of an oil embargo that has blocked Iraq's main source of revenue, but Iraq admitted this was highly unlikely. Iraq said a negative report would provide enough reason for it to reconsider its relationship with the UN Special Commission.

OPEC ministers, arriving in Vienna yesterday for the start of their summer meeting, said OPEC is bedeviled by a shrinking share of the world oil market. Saudi Arabia's oil minister said although world demand for oil is rising, non-OPEC countries are filling the gap.

The countries of the new Mercosur common market - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay - began a three-day summit Sunday in Sao Paulo. The main thrust of the meeting will be to convince the more than 250 attending business leaders from multinational companies that they can profit by doing business in the region.

Less than 10 days before a US-imposed deadline, Japan and the US appear to be easing their hard-line stance in stalled auto talks and plan to propose compromises this week, reports said yesterday.


A pastor in Hiroshima, a city that says it has tried to educate the world about the horrors of nuclear weapons, opened a museum to educate Japanese about Nazi Germany's slaughter of 6 million Jews. "The Holocaust must not be forgotten," Hannah Pick, from Jerusalem, said at the opening of the Holocaust Education Center.

The epithet "woman driver" should no longer be a term of derision, according to Britain's Royal Automobile Club. The club released statistics showing women are safer drivers than men.

Corey Pavin, until now the best player on the pro-golf tour without a major championship, has won the US Open. Greg Norman finished second.

Best-Selling Books, Hardcover Fiction

1. "The Bridges of Madison County," Robert James Waller (Warner)

2. "The Rainmaker," John Grisham (Doubleday)

3. "The Apocalypse Watch," Robert Ludlum (Bantam)

4. "The Celestine Prophecy," James Redfield (Warner)

5. "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster)

6. "Ladder of Years," Anne Tyler (Knopf)

7. "Mind Prey," John Sandford (Putnam)

8. "Once Upon a More Enlightened Time," James Finn Garner (Macmillan)

9. "Moo," Jane Smiley (Knopf)

10. "Of Love and Other Demons," Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Knopf)

- Publishers Weekly

" I am not asking for the moon."

- PLO leader Arafat, requesting that Israel begin a phased release of Palestinian prisoners

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