News In Brief


Former Green Beret James "Bo" Gritz decided to leave Montana after the "freemen" rejected an offer of leniency on state charges in return for their surrender. Gritz has been mediating between the antigovernment group and federal agents. The freemen told him they took an "oath to God" not to leave the compound until their demands are met, which include a tribunal of their choosing rather than a trial in federal courts.

The Senate moved toward a vote on an immigration-reform bill. It would nearly double border patrol guards to more than 10,000, increase penalties for document fraud and alien smuggling, and deny welfare and other government benefits to illegal aliens.

Clinton planned to veto a bill limiting damages in product liability lawsuits, saying it would trample states' rights and deprive consumers of legal redress against manufacturers of unsafe products. The GOP has accused him of siding with trial lawyers, his biggest political contributors.

Investment banker Dan Lasater, who contributed to Clinton's campaigns and later was imprisoned on cocaine charges, told the Whitewater committee he never received favors or special treatment from Clinton when he was governor. His testimony was followed by a surprise witness: Charles Stout, a former chairman of the Arkansas Housing Development Authority who was appointed by a Republican governor. Stout said an aide to then-governor Clinton advised him to give 15 percent of his agency's bond underwriting business to Lasater's firm.

Seven congresswomen urged the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to seek a court order to prevent Mitsubishi from retaliating against workers while the agency pursues a sexual harassment lawsuit against it. The women charged Mitsubishi with coercing employees to join its campaign against the EEOC.

The House National Security Committee approved legislation requiring development of an antimissile system for defense of the US by 2003. And Congress is working on $267 billion defense authorization bills for next year, $13 billion more than President Clinton requested. Some Republicans questioned the GOP's wisdom in picking another budget fight only months after completion of the 1996 defense bill.

The Senate voted unanimously for a conservation package that includes turning the Presidio, a former San Francisco military base, into a national park. The bill passed after Dole removed controversial legislation opposed by environmentalists. Also included in the package of about 60 items: a Selma-to-Montgomery National Historical Trail in Alabama to commemorate the civil rights struggle.

Records from a prepaid phone-calling card found in the home of Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols show two-dozen calls to suppliers of bomb components about seven months before the bombing, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The House passed the Ryan White CARE Act. The long-stalled bill increases federal AIDS funding. It also encourages voluntary HIV testing of pregnant women, but calls for mandatory testing of newborns in four years if the voluntary program fails. The Senate is expected to approve the legislation and send it on to Clinton.

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 1996. The growth was five times better than 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 1995.

Ford Motor Company's recall of more than 9 million cars and trucks in the US and Canada last week for faulty ignitions left out vehicles that may be even more fire-prone, USA Today reported. The paper says a Ford internal memo lists Econoline full-size vans and Aerostar minivans as also having the defect.


South Africa's new Constitution may go to a nationwide referendum. Negotiators say they may have to declare a formal deadlock today, after failing to resolve apartheid-era issues. Also, police arrested nine people for an attack on the Zulu king's palace in which a queen was wounded and his niece was killed.

Indians voted in the second phase of general elections. Thousands of people detained in an effort to prevent election violence will likely be released after the balloting ends. Four people were killed in Bihar, and one policeman was killed and two injured in a land mine explosion in Andhra Pradesh. Overall, the violence was much less than in previous elections. Also, Prime Minister Rao suffered a blow when two governors were linked to a bribery scandal.

"The result of the election hinges on security," Israeli Prime Minister Peres said in a Paris interview, explaining that the closure of Palestinian-ruled areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip would remain in force until after Israel's elections May 29. Also, a foreign minister hinted Israeli troops won't pull out from the West Bank town of Hebron until after elections. And Yigal Amir, confessed assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court.

Fighting continued as US Assistant Secretary of State George Moose left Liberia after failing to meet with rival warlords. Peacekeepers regained control of two key bridges and used tanks to block fighters from entering Monrovia. Thousands of civilians are fleeing the fighting, which has moved away from the US Embassy and into surrounding neighborhoods.

The cafeteria near Hobart, Australia, where a gunman killed 35 tourists will be torn down after the trial of Martin Bryant, Tasmanian Prime Minister Tony Rundel said.

The World Bank approved a $200 million loan to Russia. The money will be used to improve schools, hospitals,water supplies, and sanitation.

Britain was to begin slaughtering thousands of cows in an effort to restore confidence in its beef after the "mad cow" scare. Also, two High Court judges quashed the 15-year minimum sentences given to two child murderers as unlawful. The two boys were convicted of the 1993 killing of toddler John Bulger.

Bosnian Serbs have not yet signed a document intended to prevent ethnic clashes during refugees' visits home, a UN spokesman said. Officials from the Muslim-Croat federation have already signed the document. Also, NATO said it will investigate this week's slaying of Muslims trying to exercise their right to return home. And Bosnian Serbs released two prisoners investigated for war crimes.

Canadian lawmakers voted 178 to 53 in preliminary approval of a bill banning discrimination against homosexuals. The bill is expected to pass a final House vote next week.

Yemen and Eritrea have agreed to a French-brokered arbitration plan over disputed islands in the Red Sea, Paris said. Both countries claim sovereignty over Great Hanish island and two other islands, which are located near busy oil tanker routes.

South Korean prosecutors arrested the heads of the nation's largest bank and a large construction company on charges of bribery and fraud.

The World Bank and UN agriculture agency are ignoring an impending global food crisis and overestimating world food production, the Worldwatch Institute said. Overly optimistic projections of food production are causing underinvestment in agriculture and population control.


''No one can hide the sun with his fingers." -- Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, reaffirming his faith in the emergence of a Palestinian state.

John Garcia had not seen his son Nueng for 27 years until they were reunited in a Pueblo, Colo., gas station this week. They had not been together since 1969, when John was a GI in Thailand. Nueng, a cashier, recognized his father's name on a check he wrote. John generally pays in cash.

Mark and Scott Kelly are making space history: They are the first twins selected as NASA astronauts. Both are fighter pilots stationed at the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Md. Of the more than 2,400 people who applied to the astronaut class of 1996, two of the 35 chosen were the Kellys.

The Luftwaffe is taking up permanent residence on US soil. A German Air Force squadron will use Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico to train its pilots in their own planes. Holloman will eventually be home to 66 German aircraft and some 860 German military and civilian personnel.


What's Hot in Hong Kong

Every five years Hong Kong's government surveys 5,600 households on how they spend money and then uses the list of popular products to measure inflation. Below are a smattering of 80 new household goods and services added this year.

1. Mobile telephones

2. Pianos

3. Edible frogs

4. Fax machines

5. Laser video discs

6. Cable television

7. Pagers

8. Portable CD players

9. Electronic dictionaries

10. Sewage fees

11. Water purifiers

12. Thai, Japanese, and Malaysian restaurants

13. Mandarin Chinese classes

14. Strawberries

- Associated Press

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to News In Brief
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today