News In Brief

The US GOP congressional leaders want to put a welfare-reform bill on President Clinton's desk this fall. The Senate's welfare-reform bill passed Tuesday. But first they must reconcile gaps between the Senate and more conservative House versions. The differences are many. The Senate would save $65 billion over seven years; the House would save $102 billion. The Senate requires states to maintain a minimum spending level; the House has no such strictures. The Senate allows states to prohibit aid to unwed underage moms; the House requires it. Both mandate that recipients work after two years of benefits. (Editorial, Page 20.) The US trade deficit hit a record high - $11.50 billion - for the second time in as many months, the Commerce Department said yesterday. A majority in the House ethics committee supports hiring an outside counsel to investigate Speaker Gingrich's book deal. But there is no agreement on how much authority the counsel would command. Randy Weaver's neighbors were to testify yesterday in Senate Ruby Ridge hearings. And now-suspended deputy FBI director Larry Potts is slated to be on the stand tomorrow. He will likely refute the on-site FBI commander's assertion on Tuesday that Potts gave ''shoot-on-sight'' orders. Four FBI agents cited the Fifth Amendment and would not testify Tuesday. Committee chair Senator Specter may challenge them in court. AT&T is ending its failed bid to enter the personal computer business and plans to split into three separate firms, the telecom giant said yesterday. It will focus on long-distance service and will eliminate about 8,500 jobs. The tax-system overhaul continued Tuesday as the House Ways and Means Committee approved measures that would trim $38 billion from the seven-year budget. They included: cutting $23 billion from the low-income tax credit; raising $9.5 billion by allowing corporations to withdraw excess funds from their pension plans and levying a tax on the withdrawals; and taxing Indian-tribe gambling proceeds. Put the blame for TV violence where it belongs: the movies, a study says. Because the bloodiest hours on TV contain action-adventure movie reruns, according to new a University of California, Los Angeles survey. But regular TV shows were also blasted. Among the most egregious: ''Walker, Texas Ranger,'' ''Mantis,'' and ''The X-Files. '' And the most violent cartoons: ''X-Men'' and ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.'' Also, Clinton endorsed a controversial plan requiring TV stations to air three hours of educational shows weekly. Seattle voters rejected a plan for a 60-acre downtown park yesterday. Supporters saw it as a green reprieve from the city's concrete. It would have cost $111 million. And an evenly split vote on a $285 million stadium to replace the King Dome will be decided by the absentee ballots. Former President Carter was to meet Cuban exiles yesterday in Atlanta for talks aimed at opening communication between them and the Cuban government. Carter said his role will be limited to ''listening'' but did not rule out a breakthrough. Cuba's President Fidel Castro is said to support the talks. A House panel voted to open the Arctic wildlife refuge in northern Alaska to oil and gas drilling. The GOP is counting on $1.3 billion in revenue from drilling leases to help balance the deficit. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said he will ask Clinton to veto the bill. The World The Bosnian Serbs said yesterday Serb troops are coming to their defense in northwestern Bosnia, where they've been besieged by Croat and Bosnian government forces. The foreign minister of the self-styled Serb government has asked Russia to provide military help. Also, the Serbs continued to withdraw heavy weapons from around Sarajevo to meet yesterday's deadline, but some NATO planes were fired at. (Story, Page 1.) r Turkey's Prime Minister Tansu Ciller resigned yesterday after the new leader of the Republican People Party, made up of social democrats, said he could not work with the prime minister in the coalition. Meanwhile, Turkey's foreign ministry dismissed as biased a US Senate report that criticizes Ankara's policy on its minority Kurds. Japan's biggest economic stimulus package ever won Cabinet approval yesterday. Meanwhile, US Ambassador Walter Mondale apologized Tuesday for the alleged rape of a schoolgirl by three US servicemen on Japan's southern island of Okinawa. Anti-US anger rose after US authorities refused to turn over the suspects to Japanese police, citing a clause in the Status of Forces Agreement. The incident has prompted calls to revise the agreement. Israeli-PLO talks resumed yesterday after Arafat stormed out Tuesday over a dispute sparked by Israeli troop redeployment maps. Arafat's aides called the maps a fig leaf for continued occupation. Peres said Arafat misunderstood the maps, which are to be redrawn by a neutral committee. Israel sealed off the Gaza Strip yesterday, citing terrorism concerns. Israel delayed release of a hijacked Iranian plane and its passengers. The hijacker - a disgruntled flight attendant - will be detained. The British Foreign Office denied allegations yesterday by the Labor Party's defense spokesman that Britain is secretly collaborating with France on its nuclear test program. David Clark quoted sources close to the Geneva test ban negotiations as saying France agreed to pass Britain data drawn from the tests. A reputed bookkeeper for the Cali drug cartel surrendered to US drug agents in Washington, Colombia's top prosecutor said Tuesday. He could provide information on whether President Samper's 1994 election campaign took millions of dollars from the cartel. The prosecutor is also investigating whether more than a dozen congressmen and the nation's comptroller accepted cartel payoffs. Argentine President Menem Tuesday hailed a draft agreement with Britain on oil exploration around the Falklands as the greatest progress in the sovereignty dispute in more than 160 years. The countries fought a 10-week war in 1982 over the remote South Atlantic territory Argentina calls the Malvinas. Revenge may be involved in embarrassing leaks that claimed Spain's Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez approved kidnappings and murders by so-called Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups. Press reports say a former chairman of a bank that collapsed two years ago faces fraud charges. Burma denied allegations yesterday that the military government was abusing AIDS virus carriers. Health experts at an international conference on AIDS in Asia in Chiang Mai, Thailand, said 200,000 to 400,000 Burmese are HIV positive. They cited Burma's political isolation for the epidemic's growth. Burma ranks third in Asian for the number of HIV infected. Etceteera British bird-watchers who traveled long distances to glimpse a rare migrating bird watched in horror as a four-foot pike scarfed it down. ''There was a snap and a splash and it vanished,'' a shocked observer said of the red-necked phalarope, which was making a pit stop on its way to Africa. The royal Bengal tiger, rescued from trigger-happy maharajahs, has a new predator - poachers. Wildlife officials in India say multimillion-dollar exports of tiger parts to China are pushing it toward extinction. A bowl of tiger-parts soup - hailed as an aphrodisiac by some Chinese - can fetch $320. In the age of the micro-chip, make sure your resume is computer-friendly, says Gregory Morse, a software manufacturer. Most Fortune 500 companies process resumes by scanners that look for key words. His suggestion: Never generalize. Despite grumbling at the water cooler, US workers are pretty content with their jobs, the Gallup Organization found. Half of all employed adults say they're ''very satisfied,'' another 38 percent say they're ''somewhat satisfied.'' Jimmy Carter's latest effort is a children's book penned with his daughter, Amy. ''The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer,'' a story about a dragon and a disabled child, is based on a bedtime story he used to tell. Top Grossing Films, Sept. 15-17 1. ''To Wong Foo, Thanks Everything! Julie Newmar,'' $6.6 million 2. ''Clockers,'' $4.5 million 3. ''Dangerous Minds,'' $3.4 million 4. ''Hackers,'' $3.2 million 5. ''The Usual Suspects,'' $3 million 6. ''Braveheart,'' $2.32 million 7. ''Mortal Kombat,'' $2.26 million 8. ''Angus,'' $1.91 million 9. ''Babe,'' $1.85 million 10. ''A Walk in the Clouds,'' $1.7 million - Exhibitor Relations/AP '' Today we begin to write a new American story. A story about Americans who earn a paycheck rather than drawing a welfare check.'' -Senator Dole on the welfare reform bill passed by the Senate Tuesday.

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