News In Brief

A bipartisan group of Western governors passed a resolution urging Congress to take care in how it appropriates block grants to states for welfare and Medicaid. The 11 governors acted after Senate Budget Chairman Domenici told them they will get less federal money, with fewer strings attached, as Congress attempts to balance the budget. The resolution asks Congress to keep in mind that state populations are growing at different rates; that benefit levels for welfare and Medicaid vary from state to state; and that welfare and Medicaid spending is tied to business cycles. The governors also asked for "maximum flexibility" for states to run the programs. A poll released by Time magazine and CNN, meanwhile, shows more Americans favor President Clinton's budget proposal over the GOP plan, but most don't like either one.

A new report by the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that the Republican capture of Congress last fall reflected a Southern shift toward the GOP and not a national trend. The report also finds that voter turnout rose slightly in almost every region of the country last November, and that increasing numbers of voters are registering as independents.

The Supreme Court set aside a federal appeals court ruling that barred student-led prayers at public school graduation ceremonies in nine Western states. In a 6-to-3 ruling, the high court also said public school athletes are subject to drug testing even if they are not individually suspected of using drugs. (Story, Page 1.)

National Rifle Association leaders point to the group's increasing numbers and its heavier lobbying against gun-control laws. But these same leaders have allowed the once financially strong organization to deteriorate into deficit, with bookkeeping practices so sloppy that even some of its most loyal members have become alarmed, the New York Times said. In a confidential letter to the association's president, the chairman of the NRA's finance committee wrote that the "disintegration of the assets of the NRA under current spending policies have eroded our future viability." The letter and other documents were provided to the Times by members concerned about the group's finances.

Faced with a base-closure decision that would hit California hard, Clinton is considering rejecting the closure list, something no president has done in three previous rounds. Analysts say winning California is essential to Clinton's reelection chances, and saddling the state with closures that could claim 18,000 jobs would not be the way to kick off his campaign. Vice President Gore said administration officials were "concerned" about the base-closing decisions, but that it was too early to draw conclusions.

A new report on the collapse of an Arkansas savings and loan backs up most of the Clintons' assertions about their Whitewater real estate investment, the Wall Street Journal reported. The report submitted to the Resolution Trust Corp. shows that the Clintons were passive investors in Whitewater Development Corp. and weren't involved in its financial transactions until 1986, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources who read the document.

Sales of existing homes rose 4.7 percent in May, the National Association of Realtors reported. Analysts had expected a drop in sales. The group said the increase reflects pent-up demand from prospective buyers who were waiting for mortgage rates to drop.

Saying the public has a right to know more about the man charged with killing 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing, Timothy McVeigh's lawyers released flattering photos and 40 pages of Army records in which he is called an "inspiration" to young soldiers. The lawyers' action followed McVeigh's first interview, which appeared in Newsweek magazine yesterday.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.9 shook Southern California yesterday. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The quake was an aftershock to last year's Northridge earthquake, which killed 61 people and caused $20 billion in damage.

The World

Egypt's President Mubarak returned unharmed to Cairo after a failed attempt on his life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he was to attend an African summit. Four of the seven gunmen who shot at him were killed, and one was captured. The Ethiopia attack was the most serious of three attempts on Mubarak's life in the past three years. More than 30 African heads of state met in Addis Ababa to discuss heavy debts, lagging economies, and the half-dozen civil wars on the continent.

EU leaders began a summit in Cannes, France, by discussing newly launched rules for their trading bloc, including how much national power to shift to the bloc. Talk of a single European currency was put on hold, while Germany's Chancellor Kohl was expected to lobby to do away with each government's right to veto decisions reached by a majority of member states. With unemployment at 11 percent in Europe, jobs and economic growth were key topics. Leaders also focused on the war in Bosnia.

French peacekeepers patrolling the only road into Sarajevo were robbed by government troops and harassed by Bosnian Serbs, the UN said. Germany decided to support NATO's rapid reaction force for Bosnia by sending planes and 1,500 troops, Bonn's first potential fighting mission since World War II. Serb shelling Sunday killed nine civilians in Sarajevo, including three children.

Right-wing minister John Redwood resigned his Cabinet post to run against British Prime Minister Major for the leadership of the Conservative Party. The move shattered Major's bid to keep his Cabinet behind him in voting that begins July 4.

The prime ministers of Russia and China signed accords on economic topics and said no one should dictate their politics. Russia's Chernomyrdin and China's Li Peng agreed to build a bridge across their Amur River border. They also agreed on mutual extradition of criminals. They announced that Russia will help build a nuclear power plant in China.

Russian President Yeltsin summoned lawmakers to the Kremlin in an effort to avert a major showdown in his power struggle with parliament. The lawmakers earlier dealt him a vote of no-confidence for his handling of the recent hostage crisis; a second vote is expected on Saturday.

Financial markets were skeptical that the US and Japan could avoid a trade war, as US trade representative Kantor and Japanese trade minister Hashimoto met in Geneva in a last-ditch effort to find common ground.

Burundi Foreign Minister Ngendahayo resigned and obtained a temporary visa in South Africa. He said he was quitting because he felt that the government could not guarantee the right to life for all Burundian citizens. There is concern that the Tutsi-dominated government will permit an ethnic massacre of Hutus.

Confusion dominated Haiti's first elections since President Aristide returned to power, but officials said the vote was fair and promised that voters who couldn't vote Sunday because of intimidation or chaos would have a second chance yesterday.

Communist rebels in the Philippines postponed the start of peace talks with their government in Brussels until a Communist leader is released from prison to join the talks.

US President Clinton was the keynote speaker in San Francisco in ceremonies marking the UN's 50th anniversary. Taiwan, meanwhile, offered the cash-strapped UN $1 billion for membership in the world body. Taiwan lost its UN seat in 1971 to China.


A West Virginia woman has used her Internet connections to gather pieces for an old-fashioned memorial to victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. By tapping into needlework and quilting user groups, Bonnie Brooks of Maidsville solicited 208 squares for a 9-by-20 foot quilt. It will be presented to Oklahoma City in mid-July.

It was a good day for American soccer. On Sunday, the US national team tied Colombia 0-0 to win the third US Cup tournament. US Soccer Federation President Alan Rothenburg announced that national team defender Alexi Lalas will play in America's Major League Soccer next May. Lalas was the first American to play in Italy's "Series A," considered the best league in the world.

Nuclear Waste-Fuel Fund

State contributions in millions of dollars into a federal fund to develop a disposal site for high-level radioactive wastes.

1. Pennsylvania $634.2M

2. New York 584.7

3. South Carolina 563.7

4. Connecticut 463.0

5. Michigan 436.4

6. California 374.3

7. Florida 364.7

8. New Jersey 343.2

9. Alabama 337.6

10. Virginia 331.9

The fund reflects a 1-cent charge to customers for each kilowatt hour of electricity use. It applies to all utilities where some of the power comes from a nuclear power plant.

- Associated Press

There is a possibility that we will have our first fighting mission since World War II."

- A defense ministry spokesman on Germany's decision to send jets and soldiers to reinforce UN troops in Bosnia

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