News In Brief


Volunteerism and fireworks marked Fourth of July celebrations around the US. President Clinton celebrated with the citizens of Youngstown, Ohio, whose Independence Day festivities turned 200 this year. He planned to return to Washington in time for fireworks. Also, teenagers with Washington-based Operation Understanding abandoned festivities to help volunteers repair four burned-out black churches in Boligee, Ala. And in Philadelphia, two descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence commemorated the signing with 13 taps on the Liberty Bell that set hundreds of bells pealing across the City of Brotherly Love. Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres received the Liberty Medal at Independence Hall.

A federal judge dismissed a union's claim that the line-item veto "unconstitutionally shifts broad lawmaking power from Congress to the executive branch." The National Treasury Employee Union, which says the line-item veto will allow the president to cut government workers' pay, has no legal standing in the case, Judge Charles Richey ruled. His ruling does not address the question of unconstitutionality. The union says it hasn't decided whether to appeal.

Federal agents loaded four pickup trucks with grenades, gas masks, body armor, and several thousand rounds of ammunition confiscated from the Phoenix homes of "Viper Militia" members accused of plotting to blow up government buildings. Two members of the group are to be arraigned today; 12 others were charged Monday. FBI investigators are also looking into the possibility the group was behind the October derailment of a passenger train in the Arizona desert that killed one and injured 78.

Lockheed Martin Corp.'s $900 million project to produce the next generation of rocketship will bring 2,000 new jobs to southern California immediately. Tens of thousands of new jobs could be created if the project leads to a fleet of new rockets. The VentureStar X-33 rocket, designed to be completely reusable, cheaper, and expected to send more people into space.

Researchers found "the clearest evidence yet" that human actions are contributing to global warming and other climate changes. They used computer simulations to investigate the effects of factors such as a buildup of carbon dioxide and production of particles from burning coal and oil. The simulated atmosphere showed similar patterns to those seen in the real one from 1963 to 1987.

Worldwide arms sales are falling overall, but the US accounts for more than half of them, an annual Arms Control and Disarmament Agency report. The $12.4 billion worth of US arms transfers makes up 56 percent of the total $22 billion in 1994 - down from $28 billion the previous year.

A wildfire in southern California's San Jacinto Mountains has been contained.The US Forest Service predicts the 9,600-acre Bee Canyon fire will be under control by tomorrow night.

The government approved the over-the-counter sale of Nicotrol, a nicotine patch designed to help people quit smoking. But only 20 percent of people using the patch in tests succeeded in quitting - about the same rate as other antismoking aids, the Food and Drug Administration said.

A judge gave preliminary approval to a $5 billion settlement over GM's 1973-86 C-K trucks and 1987-91 R-V trucks. Critics said the pickups were a fire hazard because their gas tanks were mounted outside the frame. About 5 million truck owners will receive $1,000 certificates toward a new GM car or truck. A final hearing is set for Nov. 6.

California must get rid of its 4,000 lottery-ticket vending machines, State Attorney General Dan Lungren decreed. He says they are technically slot machines, and therefore illegal.

Ground was broken on a high-speed rail line that will knock 1-1/2 hours off the trip from New York to Boston, zipping passengers between cities in three hours. The price of a round-trip ticket, now $86 to $128, is expected to double to help pay for the new system.


Russian President Yeltsin vowed to rebuild Russia as a great power and called for national reconciliation after winning presidential runoff elections. Yeltsin won 54 percent of the vote to Communist Gennady Zyuganov's 41 percent, who later hinted at election fraud. Foreign observers reported no major voting violations but criticized media bias toward Yeltsin during the campaign. President Clinton, like many Western leaders, called the election "a triumph for democracy."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed creating a Ministry of National Infrastructure to make room for hard-liner Ariel Sharon in his Cabinet. The decision was spurred by Foreign Minister David Levy publicly threatening to quit unless Sharon, a champion of Jewish settlers and architect of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, was included in the government. The Cabinet is to vote on the proposed ministry today. But at least one coalition member opposes the move: A deputy minister is refusing to give up some of his powers to accommodate Sharon.

Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic abandoned his bid for reelection in Sept. 14 elections, the Bosnian Serb News Agency reported. "It is a further sign that we are squeezing him out of power, but we still have a good ways to go," international mediator Carl Bildt said. Also, US Defense Secretary William Perry spent the Fourth of July with US troops in Tuzla, Bosnia.

Czech President Vaclav Havel swore in a new center-right coalition government headed by Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus. Klaus, the helmsman of Czech economic reform since the 1989 fall of communism, still has to win support from the opposition Social Democrats. The coalition holds 99 of parliament's 200 seats.

Democracy activist Enkhsaikhan was nominated as Mongolia's prime minister by the Democratic Union Coalition, even though he was not a candidate in Sunday's elections. Coalition leader Gonchigdorj was tipped as speaker of parliament. In a stunning election victory, democrats ended 75 years of Communist rule.

A Sri Lankan Tamil rebel suicide bomber threw herself in front of a government motorcade, killing 22 people and injuring 50 others. The attack occurred in Jaffna City, which the military captured in December from Tamil rebels. Housing Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was slightly injured.

The US and three European governments appealed to Kashmiri militants to release four Western hostages, who yesterday began their second year in captivity. The Al-Faran Muslim separatist group had threatend to kill the hostages if India refused to release jailed militants.

Kim Soo-han was elected speaker of South Korea's parliament, ending a month-long stand-off. The opposition maintains the ruling party recaptured the majority it lost in April elections by poaching 12 parliamentarians, mostly independents. Opposition members forcibly ejected Acting Speaker Kim Hur-nam from the speaker's podium in an attempt to delay the election.

Floods and landslides hit southern China, killing at least 121 people, and leaving nearly 450,000 people homeless. The government estimated more than $1.2 billion in property damages.

The Philippines celebrated 50 years of independence, reenacting a July 4, 1946, ceremony that ended US colonial power.

A bomb exploded under a Burmese government billboard denouncing prodemocracy activists near the US Embassy in Rangoon. No casualties were reported. It was the second act of rare defiance in the city in recent weeks. Recently, someone spray-painted "We love democracy" slogans on the US, British, and Australian embassies.


"Out in these open places, we saw the stars, felt the rain - we were so close to nature. I think I learned about human nature from this."

-- Mongolian opposition leader Gonchigdorj, nominated as speaker of the new parliament, on his life as a nomad.

The Swiss Army sent its 7,000carrier pigeons on a final mission: retirement. Discharging the corps of pigeons, the last in the world, will save $476,000 a year in costs. The birds will take up a new roost at a military outpost near Bern, to be cared for by a new foundation.

Uncle Sam celebrated the Fourth of July by getting married in Boston. Uncle Sam Rounseville - who legally changed his name on Flag Day in 1991 - wed Jean Kenney of Quincy, Mass. Gov. William Weld officiated. The groom wore a top hat and red-white-and-blue tails; the bride simply wore white.


The Richest of the Rich

The 10 richest private individuals and families in the US, as compiled by Forbes magazine, including source of wealth and hometown.

1. William Gates III, $18 billion, Microsoft Corp., Bellevue, Wash.

2. Warren Buffett, $15.29 billion, stock market, Omaha, Neb.

3. Pierre Samuel du Pont II family, $10 billion, inheritance, Wilmington, Del.

4. Paul Allen, $7.46 billion, Microsoft Corp., Mercer Island, Wash.

5. Cargill/MacMillan families, $7.2 billion, Cargill Inc., Minneapolis and La Jolla, Calif.

6. John Kluge, $6.84 billion, Metromedia Co., New York and Charlottesville, Va.

7. John Rockefeller family, $6.2 billion, inheritance, New York.

8. Mellon family, $5.4 billion, inheritance, Pittsburgh.

9. Philip Hampson Knight, $5.12 billion, Nike Inc., Portland, Ore.

10. Lawrence Ellison, $4.92 billion, Oracle Corp., Atherton, Calif.

-- Associated Press

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