News In Brief


Senator Dole headed for a rally in Chicago to kick off a rejuvenated campaign and "look to America." He left behind support for the move and speculation over who would succeed him as majority leader. Mississippi's Thad Cochran and assistant majority leader Trent Lott say they're interested. Oklahoma's Don Nickles and New Mexico's Pete Domenici could also seek the post.

The House prepared to vote on three 1997 budget plans: the GOP plan, which is likely to pass; President Clinton's proposal; and a middle-ground approach offered by moderates from both parties. Meanwhile, a 1997 defense authorization bill that adds $12.4 billion to the Clinton plan passed the House 272 to 153.

Clinton was set to announce a new policy on land mines allowing the Pentagon to use its current array of mines until 1999. At that point, the military would stop using "dumb" mines - those that don't destruct after a set time - except in demilitarized zones. Earlier, he met with business executives from around the US to discuss corporate citizenship. Companies with generous benefits, family-friendly workplaces, and that upgrade worker skills were invited to tell their stories. Clinton also attended a memorial service for slain police officers and urged Congress to ban "cop-killer" bullets.

An offer by Philip Morris to back a ban on cigarette vending machines and curb advertising received a cool reception in Washington. At issue was the tobacco giant's conditions: It would follow through only if the Federal Drug Administration backs off on any attempts to regulate cigarettes.

A Federal Aviation Administration internal memo issued nine days before a ValuJet plane crashed raised questions about the safety of ValuJet Airlines Inc., The Chicago Tribune reported. Oxygen generators in the cargo hold that could have caused a fire were classified as hazardous material the airlines was not authorized to haul, federal regulators said. The Washington Post, quoting unidentified sources, reported the containers were mislabeled as empty when they were loaded. And searchers found a scorched electric panel and other burned wreckage - more evidence that a fire may have started in the front of the jet before it crashed.

Senate Whitewater Committee Republicans revealed Clinton engaged in a previously unknown $11,000 real estate transaction with business partner James McDougal in the late 1970s. In Little Rock, Ark., the judge was scheduled to give instructions to the jury as they began deliberations in the Whitewater trial.

Colorado state Sen. Charles Duke began talks with the antigovernment "freemen" after flying to Jordan, Mont., at the request of the FBI. Duke is a critic of big government.

The US Treasury plans to issue inflation-indexed bonds, with returns pegged to price changes in the overall economy. The bonds could cut government costs and help investors manage the risks of inflation, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said.

Orange County's bankruptcy escape plan received court approval, less than 18 months after the California county collapsed into the biggest municipal bankruptcy in US history. It will fully repay bondholders, suppliers, and employees. But schools, cities, and local agencies must sue to recover the final 10 to 20 cents of every dollar lost.

Housing starts unexpectedly rose to 5.9 percent in April, the highest level in two years despite rising mortgage rates. All regions except the Northeast shared in the advance.

The Walt Disney Company purchased 25 percent of the California Angels baseball team. Disney has an option for full ownership on the passing of owner and founder Gene Autry.

The Episcopal church averted the first heresy trial of an Episcopal bishop since the 1920s by ruling that church doctrine does not explicitly bar the ordination of practicing homosexuals. The church court in Wilmington, Del., also declared a 1979 resolution against ordaining practicing homosexuals nonbinding.

NASA began its countdown for Sunday's launch of the shuttle Endeavour. During its mission, the shuttle will test a money-saving, inflatable antenna.


China said the way was open for a deal to avert a trade war with the US over copyright piracy - but only if Washington dropped its "high-handed" tactics. Beijing also unveiled curbs to limit copyright theft. Also, Lt. Gen. Xiong Xuangkai said China would not renounce the use of force against Taiwan and restated China's claim of "indisputable sovereignty" over the Spratly Islands. Five other countries claim the uninhabited chain.

Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic vowed to fight an attempt by hard-liners to remove him from office. Buoyed by international support, Kasagic said his dismissal by leader Radovan Karadzic is illegal until confirmed by parliament. The international community's High Representative to Bosnia Carl Bildt condemned the move to sack Kasagic and pressured Serb President Slobodan Milosevic to force Karadzic from power.

Italian President Oscar Scalfaro was likely to appoint economist Romano Prodi to head a new government - the first to include the left in about 50 years. It will be Italy's 55th postwar government. Elections were held April 21.

Sri Lanka's military gained control of the entire northern Jaffna Peninsula after capturing a Tamil Tiger rebel port. The peninsula is the rebels' homeland and the heart of their 12-year struggle for independence.

Britain will not allow the issue of the surrender of guerrilla weapons to hinder Northern Ireland peace talks June 10, Prime Minister Major said. Also, Sinn Fein demanded the release of prisoners convicted of terrorism on forensic evidence, following revelations that lab equipment used for tests was contaminated.

Former Soviet republics are putting protecting Russia's democracy (supporting President Yeltsin) at the top of this week's Moscow summit, Armenian President Ter-Petrosyan said. The Russian Orthodox Church is quietly asking parishioners to support Yeltsin in upcoming presidential elections. Also, Yeltsin ordered parliament to begin phasing out the death penalty - a move Russia committed to when it joined the Council of Europe this year. No deadline for the complete abolition of capital punishment was given.

Saying a private fund is no substitute for government restitution, a group of Filipinas who say they were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops in World War II announced they will reject all compensation from the Asian Women's Fund. Japan has refused to provide direct compensation, saying all obligations were settled by post-war treaties.

Two Indonesian hostages were killed by rebels in the New Guinea jungle after a Indonesian Army special forces raid freed nine other hostages. Eight rebels were killed and two captured in the raid. The hostages were part of a scientific team kidnapped Jan. 8. Some 15 others were released earlier.

Brazilian Judge Jose Antonio released three policemen awaiting trial for the 1993 Candelaria massacre of eight homeless children, citing lack of evidence. Two other police officers were released last week. Human rights defenders say they are stunned and dismayed by the decision.

Turkey's Cabinet met after the constitutional court's surprise ruling that its March vote of confidence was illegal. So far, Prime Minister Yilmaz has ignored the decision, which is unclear on the question of a new parliamentary mandate. Former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, currently being investigated for corruption, is calling for a new vote.


'' I will seek the presidency with nothing to fall back on but my judgment of the people, and nowhere to go but the White House or home." -- Bob Dole, on resigning from the Senate to campaign full time for president.

Thousands of American and British paratroopers took part in one of the biggest airborne operations since World War II. More than 6,000 troopers jumped from planes that formed a line more than 22 miles long over Fort Bragg, N.C., in an exercise dubbed "Royal Dragon." American Sgt. Kathy Rodriquez lines up for her parachute before the jump.

Neanderthals in France may have engaged in trade with Cro-Magnons, the modern people who eventually replaced them, researchers report in the journal Nature. Tools at a Neanderthal site in France contain jewelry-like bone ornaments usually associated with Cro-Magnons.

A jalapeo pepper that's not hot? Five years of Pace Foods's top-secret research in Texas and Hawaii, code-named Operation Big Chill, did the trick, according to The New York Times. No-heat salsa may soon be here. The breeding process eliminated all traces of capsaicin, the chemical in the vegetable that produces a burning sensation when chewed.


Average Age of Airlines

Number of planes in each US airline fleet and the average age of the planes (in years).

1. Alaska 74 7.2

2. Southwest 226 8.3

3. American 664 9.2

4. America West 93 10.1

5. Delta 539 11.5

6. United 577 11.6

7 USAir 434 12.3

8. Continental 299 13.9

9. America Trans Air 48 15.4

10. Northwest 389 19.1

11 TWA 195 19.8

12. Kiwi 16 22.8

13. Tower 19 23.3

14. ValuJet 40 26.4

- The Wall Street Journal/Aviation Daily

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