News In Brief


The US Air Force announced three commanders in Germany were relieved of duty as a result of an investigation of the plane crash in Croatia that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others. The brigadier general and two colonels were responsible for overseeing maintenance of the aircraft. The Air Force said its local commander had lost confidence in their ability to perform their duties.

The House dropped plans to vote on holding the White House in contempt over documents related to the travel office firings. President Clinton turned over an 11-page list of documents he has been withholding based on a claim of executive privilege. Also, the House Appropriations Committee approved an $11.9 billion foreign aid budget for 1997. The bill would include a $200 million reduction from 1996, and is $1 billion less than what Clinton requested. The House expects to vote on the bill next week. Also, the House voted for cuts in the $19.7 billion civilian science authorization bill. The cuts would affect programs at the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department.

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 1996. That's more than four times faster than the rate of growth for the gross domestic product during the fourth quarter of 1994. Also, sales of new homes increased by 6.7 percent in April, exceeding 700,000 for the fourth consecutive month as activity surged in the Northeast. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve said banks are tightening their standards for loaning money because of a rising rate of delinquencies.

US authorities arrested 11 people in an international immigrant smuggling ring. The alleged ringleader, a Honduran woman, earned as much as $1 million a year, The New York Times reported. The illegal immigrants, who paid up to $28,000 each for passage, were ferried across the border to Reynosa, Texas, on inner tubes.

Clinton, in New Orleans, was scheduled to endorse a Justice Department report that supports curfews for youths. He planned to laud a New Orleans curfew for youths under age 17 credited with reducing juvenile crime by 27 percent and lowering auto theft by 42 percent. The government plan would exempt youths who are married, accompanied by an adult, traveling to or from work, responding to an emergency, or participating in a supervised event. Clinton also announced a new program to train teachers in computer use at a Washington ceremony honoring US blue-ribbon schools.

Federal agents evicted reporters and cameramen from a two-mile range of the "freemen" compound in Jordan, Mont. The action took place after a Fox network news crew arranged interviews with the antigovernment group without informing the FBI.

An international group of scientists and physicians in Washington said certain man-made chemicals such as dioxin and PCBs can cause physical and behavioral abnormalities in humans and wildlife. Governments must urgently work to stem the problem, they added. After a week-long meeting in Italy, they said there may be no safe threshold for the chemicals.

Tornados touched down during severe storms in North Carolina and Texas. In Kentucky, officials estimated that 192 homes were destroyed and more than 250 sustained major damage after a tornado tore through suburbs south of Louisville.

The Clinton administration sent letters to Canadian, Mexican, and Italian businesses warning they may be subject to sanctions because of their Cuba investments. In response, visiting British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind and Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Hans van Mierlo decried the law in separate statements in Washington. Mexico also protested US pressure on a company that owns a 49 percent stake in Cuba's phone company.

Community groups, schools, and churches are to descend on Washington tomorrow for the Stand for Children rally. More than 3,000 organizations are sponsoring the event, which includes a children's march to the Lincoln Memorial.


Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres trailed Likud Party's Benjamin Netanyahu by less than 1 percent. With 100,000 absentee votes left to be counted, Netanyahu led Peres 50.3 percent to 49.6 percent. Most of the absentee votes were soldiers, who tend to favor Likud. Small parties were the big winners in parliamentary elections: Religious parties seemed headed for a record 24 seats in the 120-seat parliament.

Hizbullah guerrillas exploded two bombs in south Lebanon, killing three Israeli soldiers and wounding seven. They were the first fatalities since April's cease-fire ended 17 days of fighting.

Northern Irish Protestants and Catholics voted for peace negotiators. Some 24 parties were seeking a place at the negotiating table, but only the top 10 overall will attend the peace talks beginning June 10. Results were expected today. Also, the US urged the IRA to renew a cease-fire to give new hope to the talks.

The first two people to be charged by a UN tribunal for the 1994 slaughter of about 1 million people in Rwanda were arraigned for genocide and crimes against humanity in Arusha, Tanzania. Clement Kayishema, the former governor of Kibuye Province and the highest-ranking person to be indicted, was to be arraigned today. Separately, a Tanzanian ferry crew was charged with the deaths of 615 passengers when the boat capsized in Lake Victoria last week. Survivors said the crew took bribes and overloaded the boat.

Serbian President Milosevic was to meet with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher this weekend. Milosevic may face renewed sanctions if he doesn't make good on promises to oust Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Also, EU administrator Ricardo Perez Casado set June 30 as the date for elections in the divided Bosnian town of Mostar.

The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague charged Bosnian Serb soldier Drazen Erdemovic with taking part in the slaughter of 1,200 Muslims. He is the first person charged with the slaughter following the fall of the UN safe area in Srebenica, Bosnia.

China says its cracking down on copyright piracy in advance of next week's talks with the US, and urged Washington not to inject politics in the negotiations. US negotiator Lee Sands returns to Beijing next week for talks on halting rampant piracy of US videos, music, and computer software. If negotiations are not successful, Washington has threatened to slap punitive tariffs on $2 billion in Chinese imports.

Russian President Yeltsin offered Chechnya a power-sharing deal, whereby it would control its finances and resources, in an effort to keep the breakaway republic within Russia. Meanwhile, Chechen rebels continued skirmishing with Russian soldiers, casting doubt on the efficacy of today's scheduled cease-fire.

Two North Koreans are seeking asylum in Seoul, a South Korean official said. The asylum-seekers, one a scientist, are safe and due to arrive in Seoul soon, but he refused to name them, citing security reasons.

Indonesia said it will start sending home 4,628 Vietnamese and Cambodian boat people Saturday. It plans to finish repatriations by June 30.

The Khmer Rouge kidnapped more than 300 Cambodians, mostly children, and is forcing them to work in the rice fields and as porters, officials said.

Europe's Organization for Security and Development urged Albania to consider a partial rerun of elections. President Berisha said he is satisfied and parliament will sit a full term.

About 400 people marched to the gates of Panama's National Assembly to protest a proposed amnesty that would drop charges on more than 900 people charged with political crimes, mostly committed during the Noriega era.


''We want this day to be for children what the 1963 march did for civil rights and what Earth Day did for the environment, because it is time."

-- Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman on Saturday's Stand for Children rally in Washington.

Defending French Open champion Thomas Muster of Austria won all three sets against France's Gerard Solves in second-round play.

A handwritten page of the 1789 inaugural speech President Washington never made was found under a sofa near London, Philips Auctioneers said. It will be auctioned June 13 and is expected to go for $200,000. Washington abandoned the florid 64-page draft, of which the sheet is part, in favor of a leaner 11-page speech.


Where in the World

Seyi Fayanju, the 12-year-old son of Nigerian immigrants from Verona, N.J., didn't miss a single question in the National Geography Bee. He cinched the $25,000 scholarship with the answer to the question: Name the European co-principality whose heads of state are the president of France and the bishop of Urgel (answer below). Other final-round questions:

1. Kenya's chief port was founded on an island in the Indian Ocean. Name this city.

2. The discovery of what resource was a major factor in causing Australia's population to almost triple between 1850-60?

3. Most of what country's coastline lies between the deltas of the Red and Mekong rivers?

4. Devil's Island, a penal colony in the19th and 20th centuries, is off the coast of which French overseas Department?

5. The Kurile Islands, which extend from Hokkaido to the Kamchatka Peninsula, stretch across the entrance to what sea?

6. Thessaly is a region located east of the Pindus Mountains in which Mediterranean country?

Championship answer: Andorra. Others: 1. Mombasa 2. gold 3. Vietnam 4. French Guiana 5.Sea of Okhotsk 6.Greece.

- AP

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