News In Brief


The GOP avoided a looming floor fight over abortion at the Republican National Convention. Abortion rights and other measures rejected this week by the Platform Committee will now be published as an appendix of minority views at the end of the platform, GOP leaders said.

President Clinton said he would hold a space summit in November in response to findings that a meteorite from Mars indicated the planet may once have harbored microscopic life. The summit will include international scientists and "discuss how America should pursue answers" to questions prompted by the discovery, he said. NASA head Daniel Goldin asked the international science community for suggestions and guidance for a Mars exploration program.

Senior House Republican Bob Livingston of Louisiana told FBI Director Louis Freeh that FBI general counsel Howard Shapiro should be fired and asked Attorney General Janet Reno to order an investigation of Shapiro by the Justice Department. Shapiro acknowledged he made a mistake when he told the White House about information in an FBI file on former White House personnel security chief Craig Livingstone. The file was being turned over to a committee investigating the FBI file scandal.

The Federal Communications Commission was expected to approve a deal requiring TV stations to air three hours a week of children's educational shows, such as PBS's "Bill Nye the Science Guy." Broadcasters endorsed a White House plan after intense negotiations. The compromise requires TV stations to show programs geared toward children aged 16 and under..

For the first time in four years, voters view the Democratic Party more favorably than the Republican Party, The New York Times concluded from a New York Times/CBS News Poll. Voters also favored House Democrats over Republicans by seven points. President Clinton's approval rating was 58 percent, its highest since his earliest days of the presidency.

Federal officials announced a plan to stop illegal immigrants speeding across the US-Mexican border in their tracks. Next month, immigration officers will test the "car stopper," technology that sends an electrical charge that shuts off a vehicle's engine. Since April, 10 illegal immigrants have been killed and 39 injured when vehicles they were in sped away from authorities in two southern California counties.

Some 6.3 million America Online customers were stranded when the computer network crashed for almost 19 hours. The crash, thought to have been the largest such outage ever, was caused by problems with the installation of new software and left customers without access to electronic-mail and Web sites.

The federal deficit will begin growing again next year and could reach astronomical levels after 2010 if action isn't taken to cut it, the Congressional Budget Office warned in a report. The budget shortfall could rise slowly but balloon dramatically as the baby-boom generation begins to retire. Meanwhile, a survey of regional business conditions by the Federal Reserve found that the US economy may be slowing on its own - without an interest-rate hike. The survey also found the cost of raw materials and finished goods was "essentially flat."

Some 80 percent of Americans want Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man banned from magazines that teenagers read, according to a poll by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The poll was released with newspaper ads designed by antismoking activists to persuade Clinton to create new tobacco regulations.

Nearly 6,000 firefighters battled 16 large fires in Western states that charred more than 235,000 acres. Authorities estimated it would take another eight days to control the largest fire - a Utah blaze covering 130,000 acres of land. Humid, cool conditions with lighter winds are helping them contain some of the blazes.


Heavy fighting continued for a third day in Grozny, Chechnya. Russian troops were reportedly gaining ground against the rebels, but 70 servicemen have been killed and 300 wounded in the fighting. More than 30,000 people have died in the 20 months since Russian troops arrived to crush the republic's bid for independence. Also, President Yeltsin is to be inaugurated today for a second term as president. He's scheduled to go on vacation after the ceremony.

The Khmer Rouge announced that its second most-senior leader to Pol Pot had been sentenced to death for corruption. In response, Cambodia's government urged Ieng Sary to defect in the name of national peace. Sary, foreign minister during the group's infamous 1975-79 regime, was sentenced for embezzling $16 million of the rebels' money. If true, the sentence would cause a huge upset in rebel leadership. Also, the planned defection of two rebel commanders and their 3,000 troops was announced in Phnom Penh.

Israeli jets blasted Hizbullah guerrilla strongholds in east Lebanon in two air raids. There was no immediate word on casualties. The attack seems to be in retaliation for last week's guerrilla assaults on Israeli-occupied south Lebanon, in which one Israeli soldier was killed. Also, Israel's defense minister reportedly has drawn up a new plan that would have troops pull out of a smaller area of Hebron than initially promised, and then only gradually. Also, Justice Minister Yaacov Neeman resigned after the attorney general launched an investigation into charges Neeman in the past had "influenced" a witness, Israel Radio reported.

British troops set up barricades and strung barbed wire to prevent tomorrow's Protestant parade from marching through a Catholic enclave in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Protestants predict fights if they aren't allowed to march along their traditional route. Extra troops were ordered into the area amid concerns the march could spark riots. (Story, Page 5.)

The EU was to lodge a formal protest with the US over Washington's new law that aims to punish foreign firms investing in Iran and Libya. (Story, Page 7.)

Bosnian Muslims and Croats exchanged 13 prisoners of war near Mostar. Under the Dayton accord, all POWs should have been handed over by Jan. 19. It is believed that this last exchange should resolve the issue.

A Mexican judge ruled there wasn't enough evidence to convict a man accused of helping assassinate presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in 1994. The decision leaves just one man convicted for the assassination, and is a huge setback to the attorney general's effort to prove a conspiracy theory.

Burmese, Thai, and Japanese students protested to mark the eighth anniversary of Burma's failed pro-democracy uprising. Exiled Burmese all over Asia and Europe held hunger strikes to comemmorate the occasion.

A flood swept through a campsite in Spain, killing at least 62 people and injuring 180. Hundreds of campers were still missing as officials searched for survivors buried under the flood of mud and rock.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein accused the West of trying to tarnish his image after failing to remove him from power in a speech on the anniversary of the end of the Iran-Iraq war. He rejected accusations that he spent a fortune on palaces for himself while his people endured poverty.


"If the results are verified, it is a turning point in human history, suggesting life exists not on just two planets in one paltry solar system, but throughout this magnificent universe."

- Carl Sagan, Cornell University scientist, on claims that compounds found on a meteorite show life existed on Mars.

Copa Crabana beat 79 crabs to win the annual Miss Crustacean Pageant. Dressed in gold and blue feathers, the hermit crab crawled down a gold and blue cardboard model of Havana's Copa Cabana nightclub. It was the 21st year of the Ocean City, N.J., contest, where children dress up crabs and pose them in elaborate boxes.

Mary Thompson, who passed on in Florida Aug. 3, may have been the oldest American. The government traced her life back to at least 1876 - the year Alexander Graham Bell unveiled the telephone. A grandchild said she was never sick a day in her life, never smoked, and worked in the yard until 15 years ago. Her secret to longevity? "Tend to your own business," she would say.

Stuffed lobster, beef tenderloin, and kiwi cheesecake are new menu choices at Atlanta's homeless shelters. The Atlanta Community Food Bank collected over 193 tons of leftovers from parties held at the Olympics.

Time really is money for customers at the state-owned Bank of China in Beijing. The bank will pay customers 12 cents for every minute they have to wait in line beyond a set time limit.


Women In Sports

Percentage of people participating in a sport more than once who are women. Tackle football was last on the list, right behind hunting with firearms.

1. Cheerleading 95.6%

2. Step aerobics 88.6

3. Aerobic exercising 81.3

4. Exercise walking 64.3

5. Roller skating 63.9

6. Ice/Figure skating 62.5

7. Calisthenics 56.7

8. Badminton 55.9

9. Exercising with equipment 53.6

10. Swimming 53.0

11. Volleyball 51.1

12. In-line skating 50.3

13. Bowling 49.5

14. Cross-country skiing 48.8

15. Bicycle riding 47.0

- National Sporting Goods Association

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