News In Brief


Senator Bradley is mulling an independent White House bid, he said yesterday. On Wednesday the former New York Knicks star said he would not seek a fourth Senate term. And he criticized both Democrats and Republicans, saying most Americans had lost faith in the political process.


The US trade deficit swelled to $11.31 billion in June, the second-highest imbalance in history, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Analysts had expected the gap to narrow as the economy slows and consumers' appetite for imports abates. Imports did fall, but exports fell more, creating the large gap. Separately, new jobless claims rose by 6,000 last week to their highest level since July 22.


Hurricane Felix was dawdling off the North Carolina coast yesterday. Residents had seen 50-m.p.h winds Wednesday night, but the gusts had calmed down by yesterday. Felix's approach had caused tens of thousands of people to leave vacations and homes, so patience was wearing thin: "Felix - you cat - scram" read a spray-painted message on one building.


Media mogul Ted Turner may be warming up for a CBS bid. Turner Broadcasting System's board of directors will consider on Monday a buyout of cash-rich King World Productions, which produces such hits as "Oprah." Industry sources say King World's cash and the backing of other big investors - including perhaps Microsoft - would set Turner up to compete with Westinghouse's $5.4 billion CBS bid.


New York's Rockefeller Center may be getting new owners, including a mouse named Mickey. Real estate dealmaker Sam Zell and a group including the Walt Disney Company plan to invest $250 million in Rockefeller Center Properties Inc. and create a new company that could seize control of the landmark in the heart of Manhattan.


The Senate Ethics Committee has evidence that Senator Packwood altered the diaries he was forced to surrender under court order. On Wednesday, Packwood denied for the first time publicly that he changed the diaries. But unnamed sources said yesterday that the diaries showed evidence of alteration. Although allegations about Packwood have centered on sexual harassment and improperly seeking employment for his wife, the sources said that the diary charges are more serious because, if proven, they would point to obstruction of a Senate investigation.


Test scores are up for minority incoming college students, a national profile shows. The national average for the ACT test, which is taken by 945,000 high school students, remained steady this year at 20.8. But the average for black students went from 17.0 to 17.1. Native American and Mexican American students also raised their scores. Similar trends have been seen on the SAT. Education Secretary Riley said the results show that "tough standards and rigorous courses" are paying off.


Compaq reduced its home- and office-computer prices by as much as 25 percent on Wednesday. Its Pentium-chip machine with 8 megabytes of memory and 630 megabytes of storage space will now retail for $1,599, the New York Times reported. Dell and Hewlett-Packard, Compaq competitors, recently charged $1,650 and $1,799 for machines with less storage.


It took a 2-1/2-year struggle for Shannon Faulkner to get into The Citadel's cadet corps, and now she may just be worn out, her father said yesterday. Ms. Faulkner remains hospitalized after reportedly becoming ill while marching in 100-degree heat during rigorous training that cadets call "hell week."


There won't be any more pesky sales calls during dinner: The Federal Trade Commission adopted a rule Wednesday that gives enforcement agencies tough new tools that protect Americans from telemarketing fraud. Under the new rules, telemarketers are not allowed to call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Also, telemarketers must tell consumers at the outset of the call that they are making a sales call.


Sales of Grateful Dead music soared following the passing of lead singer Jerry Garcia. The 3- million-selling album "The Best of Skeletons from the Closet" is atop Billboard's list.


A US proposal to end the war in the former Yugoslavia has won positive responses from Croatia, Bosnia, and Bosnian Serb rebels. The US plan was to be presented yesterday to the Serbian president in Belgrade. Military action, meanwhile, continued. Croatian Army troops aimed to protect Dubrovnik from Serb guns. In Western Bosnia, Croatian and Bosnian Croat soldiers closed in on Serb-held Drvar.


The Clinton administration wants to persuade Jordan to sever most economic ties with Iraq to put pressure on the Baghdad government, in the wake of last week's defection to Jordan of two high-ranking Iraqi officials, sons-in-law of Saddam Hussein. A US delegation left Wednesday to tell Jordanian officials that the US is trying to convince Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to sell oil to Jordan to replace oil supplied by Iraq.


Yesterday's issue of the journal Nature reports a new fossil study in which a previously unknown human ancestor who lived 4 million years ago was discovered. The ancestor, part of whose shin bone and other fossils were found in northwestern Kenya, is believed to have walked upright and not climbed trees much. Scientists had previously contended that the first upright-walking ancestor lived nearly half a million years later.


Despite two decades of material progress, no country treats its women as well as its men, a UN Human Development Report released yesterday finds. The report - aimed at providing statistics for a women's conference in Beijing next month - concludes that development in all nations suffers if women's capabilities are ignored. Scandinavian nations are the best at providing political and economic equality. A second report, by New York-based Human Rights in China, says that millions of Chinese women have been abducted and sold, forced to have abortions, and discriminated against at work.


Asian and Pacific countries have called on Beijing to halt underground nuclear tests. Japan repeated a threat to cut back financial aid to China. China conducted its second test in three months yesterday.


South Pacific environment ministers yesterday demanded an end to nuclear testing in the region by France, which plans underground tests there starting in September. The declaration called for the closing of military facilities on Mururoa and Fangataufa Atolls and making available all French scientific studies on the tests' effects. An Australian report released Wednesday said there was no evidence the tests would affect the health of people outside the test site; but tests had hurt the environment.


Colombian President Samper declared a 90-day state of emergency Wednesday to fight what he described as growing spiral of violence. The emergency measure would allow the government to crack down on criminals, drug lords, leftist guerrillas, and right-wing paramilitary groups. But opposition leaders said the measure was intended to muzzle them during the country's explosive political scandal. (Story, Page 7.)


About 70 activists, police, and journalists were injured in Wednesday's antigovernment protest rally in Seoul. Some 6,000 protesters demanded punishment for two former South Korean presidents for the bloody crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising in 1980.


Early yesterday, with almost 7,000 votes counted, about 75 percent of Bermuda's voters opposed a split with Britain; only 25 percent favored independence. The leader of the independence campaign conceded almost certain defeat after polls closed following the colony's referendum.


I have not ruled out an independent route. My objective is to get the political process to focus on the lives of people who are now disconnected from it."

- Retiring Sen. Bill Bradley, refusing to rule out an independent bid for the White House

An Air France Concorde set a new around-the-world speed record for passenger jets on Wednesday: 31 hours, 27 minutes, and 49 seconds. The jet flew from and to New York. Its average speed was 1,114.5 m.p.h. On the trip, passengers saw three sunrises and three sunsets.


The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has urged Russian authorities to remove Lenin from his Red Square mausoleum and bury him. And a church spokesman said yesterday that the church would not sanction a religious ceremony for the Soviet founder.


The "Miss Manners" of the New York Police Department wears his hair in a flattop. George Thompson teaches cops "verbal judo" to help them talk their way out of flare-ups. He prescribes a step-by-step script, sprinkled with "sirs," in which officers explain what they're doing, and why, and ask for cooperation. This "allows anyone to go along with the program without losing face," he says.

Women of the World: How Equal Are They?

A UN report released yesterday evaluated the equality of men and women in 130 countries. Criteria included education, health, and economic and political power.

Most Least

Equality Equality

1. Sweden Afghanistan

2. Finland Sierra Leone

3. Norway Mali

4. Denmark Niger

5. US Burkina Faso

6. Australia Guinea

7. France Ethiopia

8. Japan Mozambique

9. Canada Chad

10. Austria Burundi

- UN/Associated Press

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