News In Brief


Hurricane Hortense, with sustained winds of 80 m.p.h., was expected to grow stronger as it swirled toward the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, damage estimates from hurricane Fran continued to rise. The Federal Emergency Management Agency declared 34 North Carolina counties disaster areas. At least 28 deaths -17 of them in North Carolina - were attributed to the storm and its aftereffects.

President Clinton called on Congress to provide $1 billion in funding to hire more FBI agents to fight terrorism and to broadly improve US airline and airport security.

Clinton planned to insist that Israeli fulfill pledges to the Palestinians during talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Secretary of State Warren Christopher has said Israel should make good on its promise to redeploy troops in the West Bank town of Hebron so they guard only the Jews who live there. Irish Prime Minister Bruton also was scheduled to meet with Clinton.

The US economy should continue to grow by 2.3 percent in 1996 and also in 1997, according to the National Association of Business Economists. It also predicted a 3 percent gain in consumer prices in both years. Some 78 percent of NABE members believe US monetary policy has been too restrictive over the past six months; 39 percent expect policy to become more restrictive in the next six months.

Tennis pro Pete Sampras clinched his fourth US Open championship. His 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) win over second-seed Michael Chang puts him three Grand Slam titles short of the record 12. Steffi Graf beat Monica Seles to secure her fifth US Open women's title. The victory raised her Grand Slam total to 21 - three titles shy of Australian Margaret Smith Court's record.

Presidential candidate Ross Perot called for the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service and sweeping tax code reforms during a 30-minute paid infomercial. The billionaire also proposed that any new tax increases be approved directly by voters. The ad ran on NBC-TV during prime-time viewing. Perot gained 19 percent of the vote in the 1992 presidential election, but recent polls show him with only about 6 percent of the support.

The tobacco industry spent more than $15 million in the first half of 1996 to thwart federal efforts to curtail teen smoking, raise industry taxes, and restrict its advertising. That's according to the first reports filed with the government that disclose special interests' real expenses in lobbying Congress, federal agencies, and the White House. Philip Morris spent the lion's share: $11.3 million.

The General Accounting Office recommended a comprehensive review of the Los Angeles Federal Reserve Bank after it found significant bookkeeping problems. Cash reports were "prepared incorrectly," the GAO said. Federal Reserve officials said auditors may have misunderstood the records. The Los Angeles branch handles $80 billion in cash each year - more than any other Federal Reserve bank except the one in New York.

Two-thirds of baby-boomer parents who experimented with illegal drugs while growing up expect their children will do the same - and they don't consider that a crisis. That's according to the first national survey of teenagers' and their parents' attitudes toward drugs by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York. Another survey of 22,000 teenagers by the Health and Human Services Department found indications that teens from broken homes who live with their fathers are more likely to use drugs than those living with their mothers. Children living with both parents are the least at risk.

Some 66 percent of adults in the US turned off a TV program or left a movie theater because of violence on the screen, according to a poll of 800 people funded by the American Medical Association. Also, 68 percent of parents want a stronger movie-rating system.

Time Warner Inc.'s Road Runner on-line service is expected to debut today. It uses an existing cable television system to Internet provide connections 100 times faster than telephone lines.


Thousands of Kurdish refugees fled toward the Iranian border in the wake of an offensive by a Kurdish faction that is allied with Baghdad. Forces of the Kurdistan Democratic Party moved east toward Sulaymaniyah - the last major stronghold of the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The KDP also captured the key Dukan Dam. Earlier, the US informed Baghdad it would face renewed strikes if it attempted to repair military sites destroyed in the south in last week's attacks.

Palestinian and Israeli officials overseeing implementation of PLO-Israel peace deals met for the first time since Israeli elections in May. Palestinian peace negotiators told their Israeli counterparts that Israel must quickly carry out promises made in earlier peace agreements, including a troop pullback in the West Bank town of Hebron. The two sides will meet again in October after the Jewish High Holidays. Also, Israeli Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon is proposing a rail link between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He says it would give Palestinians more freedom of movement without compromising Israeli security. Palestinian officials say they support the proposal.

Croatia and Yugoslavia established full diplomatic relations, normalizing ties between two countries that were battling each other five years ago, the Croatian Foreign Ministry said.

Carl Bildt, the international peace coordinator in Bosnia, warned that war would break out again if ethnic parties refused to share power after elections Saturday. Also, faced with the need to keep NATO troops in Bosnia into next year, Western powers plan to demand fresh commitments to peace from Balkan leaders after the elections, diplomats said.

Khmer Rouge dissident Ieng Sary said he was not directly responsible for any deaths during the Khmer Rouge's 1970-79 reign, when up to 2 million Cambodians died. Phnom Penh hopes to negotiate a cease-fire with Sary's breakaway rebel faction, which split from the Khmer Rouge last month. It is considering granting Sary, who is accused of crimes against humanity, a pardon to cement the split, but said he must account for his past.

As Northern Ireland peace talks resumed in Belfast, Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley formally asked for the expulsion of politicians linked with loyalist groups that issued death threats against two of their members. Participants in the peace talks were required to endorse six principles that bind them to use "exclusively peaceful and democratic means." The two groups had until today to submit a written defense.

China is censoring the Internet by blocking web sites of US news media, Taiwan's government, and human rights groups. More than 100 sites have been blocked since last week, industry observers said. Beijing took the first step toward blocking sites earlier this year when it said all Internet servers had to go through the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. The centralization makes it easy to prevent users in China from connecting to "objectionable" sites.

Colombia's Vice President Humberto de la Calle said he would resign within days because President Ernesto Samper has no credibility to govern, newspapers reported. Earlier, De la Calle publicly urged Samper, who has been involved in a drug corruption scandal, to resign to make way for a new government.

The pro-Iranian Hizbullah party made a political comeback in the fourth round of Lebanese elections, winning the four seats it contested after losing two in earlier rounds of voting.


"We feel it sends an important message to the pompous, the long-winded, and the incessantly fussy of America. It says, 'Yeah, there's a place for you.' "

-- Peter Casey, executive producer of "Frasier," accepting the TV show's third Emmy for outstanding comedy series.

"Michael Collins," the story of an Irish Republican Army founder, won the Golden Lion award for best film at the 53rd Venice Film Festival. The movie's leading man, "Schindler's List" star Liam Neeson, won the Volpi Cup as best actor. Four-year-old Victoire Thivisol won best actress for her role in "Ponette," a film about a child's obsession with the death of her mother.

Throw out that lighter fluid - campers near Albany, N.Y., just need a quarter to kickstart their cookouts. The state is testing coin-operated grills at three state parks. Barbecue chefs don't need to fuss with charcoal or lighter fluid. Plus, the gas-powered grills heat up instantly.

The Sowers Action charity is planning a long march from Hong Kong to China's Great Wall. The 1,750-mile walk - the "Big Foot Campaign" - is being organized to raise money for schools in poor Chinese villages.

The Buck Tops Here

Forbes magazine's ranking of the 15 highest-paid entertainers and their estimated gross income in millions for 1995-96:

1. Oprah Winfrey (above), $171 million

2. Steven Spielberg, $150

3. Beatles, $130

4. Michael Jackson, $90

5. Rolling Stones, $77

6. Eagles, $75

7. Arnold Schwarzenegger, $74

7. David Copperfield, $74

9. Jim Carrey, $63

10. Michael Crichton, $59

10. Jerry Seinfeld, $59

12. Stephen King, $56

13. Garth Brooks, $51

14. Andrew Lloyd Webber, $50

14. Tom Hanks, $50

- Associated Press

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