News In Brief
Hearings begin this week on the incident at Waco, Texas, in 1993 when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents stormed David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound. The hearings will center on how dangerous the Branch Davidians actually were. and involved in illegal activities - such as drug use and storing illicit guns - the Branch Davidians actually were. Also in question is whether government agents - with the approval of officials as high as Attorney General Reno - acted with excessive force. Republicans are under fire for holding the hearings, which some charge are driven by an extreme antigovernment ideology. (Stories, Pages 1 and 10.)
Whitewater hearings resume this week. The first agenda item is the death two years ago of presidential aide Vincent Foster and the White House reaction to the incident. Questions remain as to whether Foster committed suicide whether aides improperly removed files from Foster's office after his death. The first witness is to be Webster Hubbell, Clinton's friend and former associate attorney general. The questions could dog Clinton into the 1996 campaign. But failure to unearth substantial wrongdoing could open the GOP to charges of mean- spirited politics and needless taxpayer expense.
High temperatures across the nation abated somewhat, but the heat wave's effects are still being felt. The heat-related death toll stands at 222 nationwide. In Chicago, 118 deaths have been reported, and officials there say the count could reach 300. Fatalaties are attributed to lack of money, failure of electrical systems, or victims simply not being aware of the danger causes fatalities.
China's prison system ''crushes all vestiges of humanity,'' wrote jailed Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu in this week's New Yorker magazine. He penned the article four years ago and asked that it be printed only upon his arrest. In San Francisco, meanwhile, Wu's wife and California Congresswoman Pelosi joined a rally that heckled Mayors Jordan of San Francisco and Xu of Shanghai during a sister-city celebration. (Story, Page 6; Opinion, Page 19.)
A two-pronged GOP approach to environmental regulations could seriously impact the protection of everything from endangered species to drinking water. A regulatory-reform bill that was to be voted on last night would confront the EPA with many new procedural requirements in procuring regulations. And a House spending bill to be voted on Tuesday would curtail the EPA's budget by one-third and cut its enforcement program by $130 million.
Unwitting victims of government radiation experiments should receive apologies and small amounts of financial compensation, a presidential panel said. The US conducted tests on citizens - sometimes without their knowledge - to determine the effects of radiation from the mid-1940s until as late as 1974. Energy Secretary O'Leary and Clinton ordered the release of documents on the tests in 1993.
Republicans are proposing changes in Medicare that would impose spending limits and offer private health insurance as an alternative to elderly beneficiaries, the New York Times reported. The proposals were contained in confidential documents drafted by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, the paper said.
Legislators nationwide are moving to require that insurance companies pay for hospital stays for mothers. They want to avoid so-called ''drive-through delivery.'' Senators Bradley and Kassebaum are sponsoring a bill to require insurers to pay for at least two days in a hospital after normal childbirth.
As Congress moves toward limiting the punitive damages juries can award, a Justice Department study showed that punitive awards occur in only a fraction of civil cases, and half of them are for less than $50,000. Punitive damages were awarded in 364 of 762,000 cases studied.
Kimberly-Clark Corp, the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, will acquire Scott Paper Co. in a $6.8 billion merger. The combination $11 billion company will likely be a formidable competitor to industry leader Proctor & Gamble.
Two Boston subway trains collided Copley Square yesterday, injuring about 30 people.
In a meeting on Bosnia that began yesterday, US President Clinton's national security team is reconsidering strengthening the UN mission there. Earlier, top US officials ruled out sending ground troops to the region but said they would transfer military equipment to their European allies to bolster UN peacekeepers. Bosnian government soldiers who seized Ukrainian peacekeepers' weapons over the weekend held off the Serb advance on the Muslim enclave of Zepa yesterday. Serb rebels, situated about a mile from town, threatened to shoot UN peacekeepers if NATO planes were called in. The Serbs also began an attack on Osijek, the first since peacekeepers began protecting the town. (Story, Page 1.)
Iraqi leader Hussein threatened yesterday to end cooperation with the UN unless trade sanctions against his nation were lifted. A team of UN biological experts arrived in Baghdad yesterday seeking data on Iraq's past germ warfare activities. Meanwhile, two US defense contractors released from an Iraqi prison Sunday crossed the border into Jordan yesterday.
Nigerian human rights activists raced yesterday to stop the government from carrying out death sentences. Former head of state General Olusegun Obasanjo was sentenced to life imprisonment along with 11 others. His then deputy Major General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua and 13 others received a death sentence. The trial has been shrouded in secrecy since March when the government said it uncovered a coup plot.
Japan tried the first member of the Aum Shinri Kyo cult yesterday. A judgment is expected in September for the accused, who denounced the cult. Meanwhile, Japan announced yesterday that its trade surplus shrank in the first half of 1995 and fell a steep 16.6 percent in June.
The Burmese government invited a major Japanese stockbroking firm to start a brokerage in Burma in preparation for reestablishing a stock exchange in Rangoon. The deal came despite requests from recently freed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for foreign investors to wait for real changes in Burma's human rights situation before dealing with the government. Suu Kyi met yesterday with 60 followers to rebuild her National League for Democracy party.
A French ex-minister of culture suggested Sunday that the French people should have the last word on nuclear testing in the South Pacific. A vote could give embattled President Chirac a way out of the controversy, Socialist Jack Lang said. Meanwhile, Chirac issued a long-awaited public apology, becoming the first French president to publicly acknowledge his nation's role in deporting thousands of Jews in World War II.
US Secretary of State Christopher said he would be willing to return to the Middle East if the peace process between Israel and Syria continues to stall. The countries have been sparring, and a spokesman for Syria said Saturday it would not send its chief of staff to Washington for upcoming military talks. Israel is ''conducting negotiations just for the sake of negotiations,'' he said. Israel said yesterday the next move is up to Damascus.
The World Bank, which normally lends only to governments, has announced a new program of lending small amounts of money to individuals in developing countries. The Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest plans to dole out $200 million to nongovernmental organizations and ''banks for the poor'' that have sprung up in several countries.
The death toll yesterday stood at 410 in the collapse of a Seoul department store. More than 200 people were still missing. Rescuers said they expected to reach most of the remaining bodies in the next two or three days.
What would you name baby twin gorillas? Officials at New York's Bronx Zoo looked at nearly 30,000 contest entries before settling on two Swahili names: Ngoma, meaning ''to drum or to dance'' and Tambo, meaning ''to strut proudly.'' Caitlin Quinn, with her mom's help, found and submitted the names.
British songbirds are going tone deaf because of the roar of traffic, and their discordant notes are affecting their breeding patterns, according to the British Ecological Society. Birds from wrens to pheasants have been so off-note they cannot ward off intruders from their territory or attract mates.
US exports may be struggling, but the humble tomato is wowing taste buds overseas, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Exports have doubled in the last five years to a projected $200 million by year's end. Overseas buyers are gobbling up tomato paste and tomato sauce at a record pace, and ketchup is fast gaining ground as a culinary favorite.
Scientists planned to dig up the purported bones of outlaw Jesse James yesterday in northwest Missouri. They hope to lay to rest a controversy: Did James fake his death in 1882 and live a long life under aliases? Jesse Franklin James of Leander, Texas, who claims to be a great-grandson, says that's what happened.
Top 10 Video Rentals
1. ''Disclosure,'' (Warner)
2. ''Interview With the Vampire,'' (Warner)
3. ''Dumb and Dumber,'' (New Line)
4. ''Legends of the Fall,'' (Columbia TriStar)
5. ''Junior,'' (MCA-Universal)
6. ''The Shawshank Redemption,'' (Columbia TriStar)
7. ''Murder in the First,'' (Warner)
8. ''The Professional,'' (Columbia TriStar)
9. ''Drop Zone,'' (Paramount)
10. ''Little Women,'' (Columbia)
- Billboard Publications Inc.
'' This is about shutting us down, there can be no mistake.''
- EPA Administrator Carol Browner on GOP campaign to undo major environmental programs