News In Brief


Investigators began the complex job of untangling a 1-ton mass of wires and steel that was once the cockpit of TWA Flight 800. Also, a search vessel found wreckage with luggage and clothing closer to the airport than any other debris, adding to theories that a bomb destroyed the plane, The New York Times reported. A blast would have blown suitcases out of the plane first, even before the nose separated from the fuselage and fell into the ocean. And searchers have found 195 of the victims, but 35 are still missing.

Americans are skeptical of Bob Dole's plan to cut taxes, according to a survey by ABC's "Nightline." By a margin of 3 to 1, Americans polled said he could not cut the budget deficit and taxes at the same time. Some 23 percent said the plan was created to benefit the US; 67 percent said its purpose was to get Dole elected. Based on the plan, 18 percent said they were more likely to vote for Dole, 14 percent said they were less likely, and 66 percent said it made no difference. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus five points.

Wanted: Information leading to the conviction in the June 25 bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans. The US is distributing up to 1,000 such posters in Arabic offering a $2 million reward. Most will be distributed in Arab countries. The posters show a photograph of the bombed apartment building and a quotation from the English orator and philosopher Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Last year, a similar offer encouraged an informant to provide information leading to the arrest of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing.

A radical Muslim on trial with Yousef in New York for plotting to bomb US passenger jets said he had also considered bombing a US nuclear facility, an FBI agent testified. Francis Pellegrino said the conversation with Abdul Hakim Murad took place aboard a plane while he was escorting the suspect from the Philippines to the US in 1995.

Congressional investigators released documents with statements from two of the Clintons' friends suggesting Hillary Rodham Clinton was heavily involved in the White House travel office firings. Former White House chief of staff Mack McLarty told investigators he felt pressured by her to take action. And Hollywood producer Harry Thomason told investigators she suggested to him that the workers be fired.

A New Orleans federal appeals court upheld the convictions of six Branch Davidians, ruling that federal agents didn't use excessive force while trying to arrest leader David Koresh. The six Davidians were convicted in the gun battle that killed four federal agents and six of Koresh's followers on Feb. 28, 1993, in Waco, Texas.

Oil companies may have shortchanged the government by $1.3 billion in the last decade, according to the government and the Project on Government Oversight, a private watchdog organization. The companies may have understated the value of oil pumped from federal land, mainly from off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, they said. In one of its last acts before recessing, the Senate passed and sent to Clinton a bill that would place seven-year limitations on the time the government has to audit royalty payments.

A wildfire fanned by winds up to 30 m.p.h. raced through 6,000 acres of trees and brush and threatened up to 80 homes near Reno, Nev. Smoke from the fire forced officials to close Interstate 80, the main freeway connecting northern California and Nevada, for five hours.

Jurors in San Jose, Calif., issued the death penalty to Richard Davis, who was convicted of kidnapping and killing 12-year-old Polly Klaas.

Toyota Motor Company announced it will begin selling cars this year with a new engine that improves fuel efficiency by at least a third. The engine runs on a leaner mix of air to gasoline. A model that averaged 35 miles per gallon could improve to 45 m.p.g. with the new engine.


Bosnian Croats and Muslims signed an agreement on joint government of Mostar. The deal, which came after days of negotiations and an EU threat to pull out of the city, averts permanent division of the city and improves the outlook of next month's country-wide elections. Bosnian Croats had refused to recognize election results that gave Muslims control over the city government. If the conflict had not been resolved, it would have set a dangerous precedent for parties to reject the outcome of elections.

Chechen rebels stormed into Grozny and two other towns in the breakaway republic in their biggest offensive in five months. Russian troops used rockets and machine-gun fire to try and dislodge the rebels from their new positions in the capital. The rebels said the attack was intended to upstage Russian President Yeltsin's inauguration on Friday. Also, no further peace talks are possible with rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev and his military commander Aslan Maskhadov, Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian official as saying.

Japan, Russia, and the EU sharply criticized President Clinton for a new law that seeks to punish foreign companies that invest in Libya and Iran - countries the US says sponsors state terrorism. The EU is considering retaliatory measures against the US. Also, Libya warned the law would backfire, and Iran called it "illogical" and "irresponsible."

Recent storms have swollen three of China's biggest rivers to dangerous levels. More than 2,000 Chinese have died this year in widespread flooding. The Yellow River rose to a historic high after several weeks of rain.

Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu's call for resuming peace talks with Syria isn't serious because it failed to embrace the land-for-peace format, Syria's Tishrin newspaper said. The editorial did not reject Netanyahu's overture outright, but said it was incomplete. In his strongest opening to Syria, Netanyahu said he considered all issues open for negotiations - including the Golan Heights captured by Israel in 1967. Damascus has not yet officially responded.

Israel's decision to allow construction in existing Jewish settlements violates Israeli-Palestinian accords, Palestinian President Arafat said. He urged Netanyahu to cancel the Cabinet's decision and resume peace talks. Israel's previous government granted Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza limited autonomy and agreed to halt construction on settlements.

Indonesia's ousted opposition leader Megawati agreed to be questioned by police this Friday about a July 27 riot that erupted after police raided her party's headquarters. She had refused to be questioned earlier, saying a summons neglected to name her as a member of parliament and lacked President Suharto's approval, as required by law. The police issued a new summons that addressed her concerns.

Robbers stole $9 million in cash from Durban in what is thought to be South Africa's biggest armed robbery. No one was injured when five gunmen stormed a security firm in Pinetown, KwaZulu Natal Province.

The US is starting to bring home families of US government employees in Saudi Arabia this week, a government source said. The departure follows two terrorist attacks in recent months that killed 24 US citizens.


"This is like a big ball of string. There's really no way of making any sense out of it until you take it all apart."

- James Kallstrom, who is heading up the FBI's investigation into the downing of TWA Flight 800.

Golf, Mr. President? Government employee Paul Peck won seven hours of golf with the president for the bargain price of $76,000 at a fund-raising auction at Sidwell Friends School, where Chelsea Clinton attends class.

Just $330 will key you in to the latest rage on Helsinki streets - the kickbike. A cross between a children's scooter and the 1890's high wheel bicycles, the bike has a 28-inch front wheel, a 17-inch rear wheel, and is propelled by kicking the ground.

Scientists trying to track Antarctic penguins discussed gluing bar codes - similar to those at supermarket checkouts - to the birds' beaks. Biologists in Cambridge, England, say monitoring the penguins' behavior can provide clues to the world's changing environment.


Republican Speakers Take to the Soapbox

In an effort to make the Aug. 12 to 15 GOP convention in San Diego more palatable to TV viewers, most of the dozen speeches scheduled won't run more than 10 minutes. Some notable speakers:

Presidential hopeful Bob Dole

Elizabeth Dole

New York Rep. Susan Molinari, the keynote speaker

Former President George Bush

Texas Gov. George W. Bush

Former President Gerald Ford

Former first lady Nancy Reagan

Retired Gen. Colin Powell

New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman

Massachusetts Gov. William Weld

House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Senate majority leader Trent Lott

- Associated Press

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