News In Brief


A judge threw out four charges each against Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and Susan McDougal in the Whitewater trial, saying prosecutors had not produced enough evidence. President Clinton's videotaped deposition for the trial was to be shown to jurors as early as today. And Senate investigators planned to make public their findings on how Hillary Rodham Clinton's legal records appeared on a table in the White House. The committee plans to question Arkansas bank officials today and take testimony from presidential aide Patsy Thomasson tomorrow.

Clinton is on a campaign to stomp out smoking. The president planned to meet with students at the Woodbridge High School in New Jersey to join in an antismoking rally - one of a dozen scheduled across the country yesterday. He is proposing to ban cigarette vending machines and cigarette advertising at major sporting events.

House Republicans were uncertain whether to vote on repealing the 1993 gas tax, possibly delaying it until the end of this week or next week. House Republican leader Dick Armey said his party was searching for a way to make up the lost tax revenue, which if not replaced, would increase the budget deficit. And Senator Dole planned to meet with Senate minority whip Daschle (D) to propose timing and conditions on a minimum wage vote. Democrats threatened to filibuster a bill to help fired White House travel office employees unless it was combined with a minimum wage vote.

Phone companies want to increase the cost of your basic local services. So say Washington consumer groups. The companies are asking federal regulators to boost the cost by $10 per customer over the next five years, they contend. The companies say bills for most consumers would not increase because fees for other services, such as caller ID, would go down.

A federal judge temporarily blocked a new Wisconsin law requiring women to meet with a doctor and wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. The law, considered the most restrictive in the nation, requires doctors to provide information about the procedure, alternatives, and social services programs, risks, and booklets with photos of fetuses.

Gov. Gary Johnson declared a state of emergency throughout fire-plagued New Mexico. In the north, residents of Red River, a town of 450 at the base of a ski resort, fled an approaching fire. Winds hampered efforts to control the blaze that has charred at least 27 building and burned 7,500 acres. A 16,683-acre blaze outside Los Alamos National Laboratory was contained last week. Meanwhile, Clinton declared two counties in Illinois disaster areas after severe storms and flooding.

The FBI appears to be turning up the heat on the antigovernment "freemen" group holed up in Jordan, Mont. Federal agents heightened aerial surveillance, and no one has visited the compound for three days. In the past, visitors have been allowed almost every day.

Some 55 top TV producers and programmers reluctantly agreed to development of a TV ratings system. They met in Beverly Hills, Calif., to discuss the system with Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Top black-owned businesses showed stronger sales for the fourth straight year, topping the 9.9 percent revenue jump reported for the same period on the Fortune 500 and Forbes 500 lists, Black Enterprise magazine reported. Sales for the businesses rose 11.8 percent last year.

Ford Motor Company is facing another recall. It is notifying owners of some 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria cars about a rear seat-belt problem. Meanwhile, child safety seats made by Century Products Co. of Macedonia, Ohio, and Evenflo of Piqua, Ohio, also are being recalled.

Sen. John Breaux (D) of Louisiana happily after taking a successful shot at a clay pigeon during the first annual Congressional Shootout in Glenn Dale, Md. Republican's proved themselves the top guns in Congress: GOP 388, Democrats 370.


The first international war crimes trial in 50 years opened. Dusan Tadic, the first person to face the tribunal since the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II, is charged with torturing and killing Muslims in Bosnia's Omarska prison camp in 1992. Tadic denies any wrongdoing. Also, Bosnian Serb leader Ra-dovan Karadzic's and Gen. Ratko Mladic's popularity is on the rise, according to a US Information Agency poll. Karadzic's approval rating is 68 percent; Mladic's is 93 percent. The two have been charged with war crimes and are clinging to power illegally.

Russia expelled nine British diplomats it accused of running a spy ring. Britain said Russia was overreacting and warned it plans a "significant" response. Also, a Russian scientist was arrested for allegedly smuggling more than two pounds of weapons-grade nuclear materials out of the country, ITAR-Tass news agency said. This would be the first time officials have admitted to the smuggling of nuclear materials out of Russia.

South African negotiators were likely to end the deadlock on the new constitution, an ANC negotiator said. A possible breakthrough came less than 24 hours before today's deadline. Also, elections in the KwaZulu-Natal Province were postponed from May 29 to the end of June so that measures to ensure a peaceful poll could be implemented.

North Korea says it is waiting for further explanations from the US before it decides whether to accept Washington's and Seoul's proposal for four-party peace talks with China. Pyongyang has said it would only hold peace talks with the US. Separately, South Korean President Kim Young Sam appointed former unification minister Lee Hong Koo to lead the ruling party and pledged to prepare for reunification with North Korea.

EU's agriculture chief Franz Fischler said he will propose easing the ban on British beef exports. Meanwhile, Britain's slaughtering program began amid delays and confusion.

Syria called for Israel's leaders to be put on trial as war criminals for the shelling of a UN base in Lebanon, in which at least 91 Lebanese civilians were killed. Israeli Prime Minister Peres said UN peacekeepers are partly to blame, because they let Hizbullah guerrillas establish a position so close to their base and allowed their families in the camp. Israel has said the massacre was an accident that occurred when its artillery returned guerrilla fire. An amateur video showed that an entire barrage of shells hit the camp, and there was an Israeli reconnaissance plane in the area the UN says could have warned off gunners.

The EU would like China to enter the World Trade Organization as soon as possible, but it will not grant special exceptions to the membership terms, the EU Trade Commissioner said. China disagreed, saying it was already qualified for membership.

US and Mexico may be heading for a confrontation over migrants, Mexican Secretary of State Gurria said in the first day of talks between the neighbors.

Ugandans vote in the first presidential election in a decade tomorrow. It will be the first time the president is elected directly, rather than appointed by the winning party.

Indian police fired tear gas on demonstrators in Kashmir, who were protesting the first election held since its fight for independence began in 1989. Despite militant groups urging people to boycott the parliamentary election, there was an unexpectedly high turnout in the Jammu-Kashmir Province.

A new foreign aid plan was announced by the world's 20 richest nations in Paris. Struggling to do more with less, they agreed on an ambitious 20-year plan to fight hunger, expand women's access to schools, and reduce the infant mortality rate.

Gopal Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, was appointed Indian ambassador to South Africa.


''The commission has been reliably informed that some husbands are taking away their wives' cards if they find they will not vote for the candidate they support." -- Uganda's electoral commission on husbands who are violating their wives' right to vote in tomorrow's elections.

A survey by the American Management Association indicates that 1 in 3 job applicants who were tested by major US companies in 1995 lacked the reading or math skills needed to perform the jobs. And that's an improvement. In 1994, more than 38 percent didn't have the required basic skills.

Billionaire Warren Buffett's investment firm authorized sale of a "cheaper" new class of stock. Nicknamed "Baby Berkshires" for Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., they will sell at $1,000 per share and become Wall Street's second-most expensive issue, behind regular Class A Berkshire stock, which sells for $33,800.

Defying an international ban on whaling, Norway raised its quota to 425 minke whales for the 1996 season, beginning May 21. The quota is up from 232 last season.


Black-Owned Businesses

Top black-owned businesses showed stronger sales for the fourth straight year, outperforming Fortune and Forbes 500 lists.

1. TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc.: food processing and distribution, $2.1 billion.

2. Johnson Publishing Co. Inc.: publishing, broadcasting, beauty products, $316.2 million.

3. Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co.: soft drink bottling, $315 million.

4. H.J. Russell & Co.: construction, property management, airport concessions, real estate develo pment, $172.8 million.

5. Pulsar Data Systems Inc.: systems integration, office automation, computer reseller, $165.1 million.

6. Uniworld Group Inc.: advertising, public relations, TV programming, event marketing, $133.7 million.

7. Burrell Communications Group: advertising, public relations, consumer promotions, entertainment, $127.9 million.

8. Anderson-Dubose Co.: food distributor, $119.50 million.

9. Granite Broadcasting Corp.: network television affiliates, $119.47 million.

10. BET Holdings: cable television network, magazine publishing, $115 million.

- Black Enterprise magazine/AP

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