News In Brief


Iraq signed an agreement with the UN in New York to sell oil to buy food and medicine. The agreement allows Iraq to sell $1 billion in oil every 90 days - its first exports since the UN imposed sanctions in 1990. The pact will likely reduce gasoline prices worldwide.

Talks were expected to resume between the FBI and "freemen" regarding children holed up with the antigovernment group on a Montana ranch. Earlier, two families returned to the compound after meeting with the FBI and mediator Charles Duke, a Colorado state senator. Negotiators are concentrating their efforts on the Ward family, which has two girls. Unlike other freemen at the farm, they are not wanted on state and federal charges that range from writing bad checks to threatening a federal judge.

President Clinton proposed extending China's Most Favored Nation trade status in a speech to the Pacific Basin Economic Council in Washington. The announcement is likely to ease tensions between the two countries.

The Supreme Court struck down an anti-gay rights measure in Colorado, saying it violates homosexuals' constitutional right to equal protection. In other decisions, the court curtailed jury awards for punitive damages for an Alabama doctor dissatisfied with his car, and let stand a ruling that allows police who stop cars for routine traffic violations to order all passengers to get out.

Two well-known department stores, J.C. Penney Company and Talbots Inc., bought goods made under sweatshop conditions, the Labor Department planned to announce. The companies were repeatedly warned by the government that they were receiving garments produced illegally, but continued to do so, Secretary of Labor Robert Reich said.

Searchers at the Everglades crash site found singed oxygen canister parts and melted tires - more evidence the ValuJet plane experienced a fire or explosion before going down. About 119 oxygen canisters were in the cargo hold. None was fitted with safety caps, which prevent accidental ignition, the National Transportation Board said. Investigators said several bundles of electrical wring located so far had no evidence of fire or heat damage. A new radar system is being used to find the cockpit voice recorder. And searchers are looking for circuit breakers that were repaired in Atlanta before the plane flew to Miami.

An explosive device placed on a Laredo, Texas, sidewalk blew out windows at a building where a small FBI office is located. There were no serious injuries.

The space shuttle "Endeavour" inflated a giant antenna 180 miles above Australia. The parachute-shaped antenna measures 50 feet across and is attached to a satellite. NASA hopes the experiment will be a model for future projects.

Calm winds and cooler temperatures helped firefighters battle a 10,000-acre Colorado blaze. Twelve structures, including at least two homes, were destroyed in the fire that apparently began at a campsite in the Pike National Forest, about 30 miles south of Denver. Meanwhile, strong winds caused a blaze that started Saturday in Arizona's Coconino National Forest to grow to 5,800 acres, forcing closure of the main route between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.

The 65-and-over population will grow from 1 in 8 American today to 1 in 6 by 2020 and 1 in 5 by 2050, according to a US Census Bureau report. The "oldest old" - 85 and over - are expected to double in number to 7 million by 2020.

McDonnell-Douglas machinists in the St. Louis area voted to strike after the company failed to submit a contract proposal. The machinists' contract expired Sunday.

A heat wave hit much of the East Coast. Baltimore-Washington International Airport expected 100 degree temperatures, some 5 degrees hotter than the previous record in 1962.

Kermit the Frog addressed graduates at Southampton College of Long Island University (NY), known for its marine and environmental sciences. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of amphibious letters.


Bosnian Serb Vice President Biljana Plavic said hard-liner Radovan Karadzic is still in charge, despite massive international pressure for him to resign. Karadzic handed over some of his duties to Plavsic in lieu of stepping down, as orally promised. International mediator Carl Bildt has a firm understanding, rather than a formal agreement, with Serb authorities that Karadzic will leave public life, Bildt's spokesman said. Bildt was expected to meet with Serb President Milosevic to increase pressure for Karadzic's resignation.

Lee Teng-hui was inaugurated as the first popularly elected president of Taiwan. Taiwanese cheered loudly when Lee spoke of traveling to China for peace talks between the island and mainland and ending 47 years of dtente.

Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said he would fulfill an order by President Yeltsin to end conscription and switch to an all-professional army. Opponents, including Grachev, say the switch will be very expensive. Also, Mayor Anatoly Sobchak will face his deputy, Vladimir Yakovlev, in runoff elections in St. Petersburg Sunday. Sobchack, a Yeltsin supporter, said the elections, in which pro-Communists were soundly defeated, would serve as a preview for June presidential elections.

South Korea's ruling New Korea Party won a majority in parliament by recruiting an independent, Im Jin Chul, who was elected in last month's general elections. The opposition called for street protests in response. Separately, Seoul vowed to respond firmly to incursions by North Korea into the demilitarized zone between the nations.

Ecuador's Jaime Nebot, a rightist rancher, and Abdala Bucaram, a populist former mayor, will square off in a runoff election July 7 for the presidency. Nebot took 28.8 percent of the vote, while Bucaram, who calls himself "the force for the poor," came in second with 24.8 percent.

South Africa's Truth Commission heard its first plea for amnesty from criminals who said they killed for political reasons. Also, the country wants to ease its ban on whaling by reviewing its membership of the International Whaling Commission, which maintains a moratorium on whale hunting, a confidential document said. South Africa's IWC commissioner said the document is a proposal and not yet official policy. South Africa is a sanctuary for the right whale.

Troops were put on alert after Bangladeshi President Abdur Biswas fired the Army chief, Lt. Gen. Abu Nasim, for seditious activity and disobeying orders. Nasim disputed a presidential order to forcably retire two senior officers and reportedly asked troops loyal to him to march to the capital, Dhaka.

After two days of street fighting and rampant looting, Central African Republic mutineers agreed to a cease-fire. Talks were to begin between the government and the troops, which are demanding control of their armory and back pay. At least three civilians and two mutineers were killed and 50 wounded.

Britain expelled three Sudanese diplomats over their country's refusal to hand over suspects in an assassination attempt against Egyptian President Mubarak. Also, few countries have heeded UN diplomatic sanctions against Sudan, which went into effect more than a week ago.

A bomb killed a Spanish Army sergeant and narrowly missed a busload of soldiers in Cordoba. It was the first attack blamed on Basque separatist rebels since Prime Minister Jos Mara Aznar took office two weeks ago.

The peacekeeping troops in Liberia must be more than doubled to restore peace in the war-wracked country, peacekeeping head Gen. John Inienger said. The current force of about 9,000 has been accused of doing virtually nothing to stop the fighting, which continues unabated.


''I have been teaching now for 62 years across the river [at Harvard]. And I have always said that there is no idea, however fragile, that I cannot extend for at least 55 minutes." -- "Distinguished Bostonian" recipient John Kenneth Galbraith, when asked to limit his remarks to one minute.

Call it trickle-in economics: In recent weeks the United Nations received about 1,600 checks totalling $24,000 from Americans who want to pay off their country's UN debt. The debt comes to $4.40 per person, and checks go into the UN's general fund.

Want to see the Mona Lisa frown? Kai's Power Goo, a new $50 software from MetaTools Inc., allows users to bend and stretch images. Kodak plans to include Power Goo with its digital cameras, enabling people to load photographs on a computer and toy with the images.

A chalk sketch by Renaissance master Raphael was discovered after 50 years in storage at the Art Institute of Chicago. The sketch is of a right hand, outstretched as if in blessing. The Art Institute won't estimate the value of the drawing expected to go on display next April.

Marriages last longer when couples share humor - especially when problems arise. A University of Oregon graduate student concluded that after interviewing 70 couples who had been together an average 19 years. They all used humor as a tool to avoid confrontation or to release emotions.


Sports Stars' Salaries

Here are the 10 highest-ever-paid athletes from Forbes Magazine's Top 40. Figures (in millions) represent salary or winnings and other income.

1. Michael Jordan

Basketball $36.0

2. Riddick Bowe

Boxing $25.0

3. Ayrton Senna

Auto Racing $18.5

4. Alain Prost

Auto Racing $16.0

5. George Foreman

Boxing $15.8

6. Shaquille O'Neal

Basketball $15.2

7. Lennox Lewis

Boxing $15.0

8. Cecil Fielder

Baseball $12.7

9. Jim Courier

Tennis $12.6

10. Joe Montana

Football $11.5

-- Associated Press

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