News In Brief


The House plans to vote as early as today on whether to repeal a 1993 gasoline tax hike. It will be an up-or-down vote: GOP leaders are blocking all amendments. A separate bill to raise the minimum wage will have to wait for a Wednesday vote when the House takes up a Republican tax-cut plan for small businesses.

The FBI was awaiting word from Washington on a tentative agreement with the "freemen" antigovernment group in Montana. The agreement was struck after three days of face-to-face talks between the group and Colorado state Sen. Charles Duke. He wouldn't divulge details but said it concerned a "major issue."

President Clinton plans to deliver the eulogy for Adm. Mike Boorda at a memorial service at Washington National Cathedral tomorrow. Boorda killed himself Thursday after questions were raised about the legitimacy of the combat valor awards he had worn. Boorda was chief of naval operations, the highest-ranking officer in the Navy. He was to be buried Sunday at Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery.

After a near-perfect launch, the space shuttle "Endeavour" plans to unfurl a satellite today with an experimental antenna that will be inflated to the size of a tennis court. NASA hopes the $14 million experiment will demonstrate the feasibility of using inflatable structures, which are much lighter and cheaper than traditional parts. Also, a prototype NASA rocket burst into flames after its first test flight. NASA is working to develop a new generation of reusable rockets to carry cargo.

President Clinton endorsed Maryland and Wisconsin GOP governors' welfare-to-work plans as solid, bold, and protective of children. If Congress passes a similar program, "I'll sign it right away," he said.

The nation's rail system is threatened by a lack of standards and incomplete inspections. So says a three-month study by US News and World Report and ABC News. Among the findings: safety inspections are sometimes rushed or not done at all; engineers often must work long shifts; national standards don't exist for train signals. More than 1,100 people died in rail accidents in the US last year - more than five times the number killed in plane accidents.

ValuJet Airlines, Inc. never fixed safety problems cited in four government inspections dating to 1993, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Also, three months before a ValuJet DC-9 crashed into Florida's Everglades, federal regulators launched a safety probe of the airline following recommendations by inspectors in Washington and Atlanta. They urged the airline be looked into following a series of incidents in late 1995 and early 1996, the FAA said.

Clinton signed a bill requiring that neighborhoods be notified when convicted sex offenders move in. The bill, known as Megan's law for a murdered New Jersey girl, strengthens requirements in a 1994 anti-crime law.

A forest fire raging across 10,000 acres of dry Ponderosa pine forced hundreds of people from homes and campsites in Colorado's Pike National Forest. Accidentally started by campers, the fire destroyed two homes.

The White House criticized Norway's planned resumption this week of whaling but was silent about imposing sanctions. Environmental groups and 23 members of Congress requested sanctions. Norway plans to kill nearly twice as many minke whales this year as last year.

The US revoked the flying license of Jose Basulto, leader of the Miami-based Brothers to the Rescue, for violating Cuban airspace twice. Cuba downed two planes flying with him Feb. 24, although the US says they were over international waters.

A fugitive on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list for six years surrendered to US authorities in Guatemala after his picture was seen on the Internet. Leslie Isben Rogge escaped from federal custody in Idaho in 1985 following a conviction for armed robbery. It was the first time the Internet listing led to a capture.


Calling it "a clear and unjustified violation of the spirit and text of the April understanding," Hizbullah guerrillas accused Israel of breaking the cease-fire that ended 17 days of fighting in Lebanon. Israel fired solid shells containing no explosives into southern Lebanon, wounding a Lebanese woman. Two guerrillas were killed and an Israeli soldier was wounded in the flare-up. Under the cease-fire, Israel and Hizbullah promised not to target civilians. Hizbullah has not said whether it intends to retaliate. Separately, Israel captured Hamas guerrilla Hassan Salameh, who is suspected of orchestrating recent suicide bombings. Security forces also arrested eight Palestinians suspected of helping Salameh.

Bosnian mediator Carl Bildt said he has secured the "beginning of the end" of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's power. Karadzic said he is turning over some powers to fellow nationalist, Vice President Biljana Plavsic She will represent him in contacts with the international community, which considers Karadzic a wanted war criminal. Also, Karadzic elbowed aside moderate Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic and replaced him with Gojko Klickovic, whose appointment was rammed through in a surprise session of parliament.

Turkish President Suleyman Demirel escaped unhurt after an assassination attempt. A lone gunman tried to shoot Demirel to protest a military agreement between Turkey and Israel. Separately, the Turkish Army killed at least 60 Kurdish rebels in the southeastern Batman Province.

Romano Prodi was sworn in as prime minister to head Italy's 55th post-war government. He vows that his center-left coalition government will combat unemployment and the Mafia. Prodi told a German magazine that he would like to reshape Italy into a German-style republic and would like the prime minister to have similar power as the German chancellor.

Chechen rebels are plotting to kill him, Russian President Yeltsin says, adding that he plans to journey to the separatist region anyway to try and stop the fighting. Also, Yeltsin hinted he may reshuffle his government to make it more attractive to voters, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

An impending trade war over copyright piracy threatens US interests in China's markets, China said in a warning aimed at bringing the US to the negotiating table. Also, China called for an intensified crackdown on Tibetan separatists and criminals, amid reports that monasteries have been sealed off and anti-China protests broken up in the Himalayan province.

Dominicans will vote in a run-off June 30, after last week's presidential elections failed to produce a winner. Opposition leader Jose Francisco Pena Gomez, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, won 45.8 percent of the vote, but failed to obtain an outright majority. He will face Dominican Liberation Party Leonel Fernandez in the runoff.

Britain's ruling Conservative Party received more than $150,000 in donations from businessmen linked to Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic, The Sunday Times reported. A businessmen named in the article dismissed the report as "fantastic nonsense."

Central African Republic troops mutinied for the second time in as many months. Mutineers grabbed six hostages, including the Army chief of staff and the prime minister's father. The troops said they were willing to negotiate and had no political aims. The 200 soldiers once again are demanding their back pay and control of a national armory.

Ecuadorans voted in presidential elections. Only a fraction of voters turned out, and no candidate was likely to receive the 50 percent of votes needed to win. A run-off will be held July 7.


''Tie an anvil to his ankle." -- Chicago Bulls center Bill Wennington when asked how to control Orlando Magic center Shaquille O'Neal in their much-anticipated series that started Sunday.

The J. Paul Getty Museum of Malibu, Calif., bought Paul Cezanne's "Still Life With Apples," a colorful study of fruit in a porcelain bowl, for $25 million, The Los Angeles Times reported. The museum's curator Deborah Gribbon called the acquisition "an embarrassment of riches." Cezanne is considered among the greatest 19th-century artists.

At "The Stand Still Parade" in Whalan, Minn., horses and marching bands stayed put while parade-goers marched around them. Spectators found the event a moving experience. It was part of the annual Sykkle Tur, a bicycle ride that draws thousands.


Summer Job Hot Spots

Here are the top 15 recipients receiving the most money from the Labor Department for the summer jobs program.Total funds (in millions) and the number of expected positions are listed below.

1. Calif. $111.1 96,013

2. Texas 49.9 43,151

3. N.Y. 43.8 37,856

4. Fla. 28.4 24,520

5. Ill. 23.7 20,495

6. Pa. 26.9 23,277

7 Puerto Rico 26.7 23,033

8. Mich. 21.0 18,161

9. La. 15.4 13,297

10. Ohio 21.2 18,312

11. N.J. 18.4 15,889

12 Mass. 12.3 10,635

12. Wash. 12.3 10,631

14. Ga. 11.8 10,196

15. Native Americans 11.4 9,400

- Associated Press

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