The News in Brief


The White House kept expectations modest as a summit with Palestinian President Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu got under way in Washington. President Clinton scheduled separate meetings with the two leaders and then a larger session to include Jordan's King Hussein. Officials say the summit's main goal is to get the sides talking again. Netanyahu offered to hold continuous negotiations with the Palestinians until the two sides remove all obstacles to implement- ing the peace accord.

The Supreme Court agreed to rule on whether states can ban doctor-assisted suicide. The ruling could have a broad impact, as more than 30 states consider assisted suicide a crime. The justices will review federal appeals court rulings that let doctors in New York and Washington prescribe life-ending drugs for terminally ill patients who no longer want to live. The court will also decide if a state can require its top political, legislative, and judicial officers to take drug tests.

Clinton signed the bill to curb illegal immigration that was part of an omnibus bill funding fiscal year 1997, which began Oct. 1.

Wisconsin and Michigan became the first two states to have welfare plans approved under the new welfare law. More than a dozen states have filed public-assistance plans. Federal approval is needed before the $16.4 billion in block grants can be allocated. Under the law, people are limited to five years of welfare benefits and must find work within two years unless they get a hardship waiver.

Utah is the latest state to sue the tobacco industry to recover health-care costs for smoking-related illnesses. Philip Morris sued Utah for using outside lawyers in the case. Also, a newly revealed 1964 memo shows lawyers, not scientists, have been making the health decisions for cigarette-makers for years. Critics call the memo, written for Britain's Tobacco Research Council, further proof the industry engaged in a conspiracy to cover up the nature of nicotine.

Senators can't hit the campaign trail until they resolve a fight over a two-year FAA authorization bill. Democrats object to an amendment they say would let Federal Express block union organizing. Also, Democrats won a provision banning people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. The Senate also approved a bill that revives Savings & Loans' sagging deposit insurance fund, sets the stage for getting rid of S&Ls, and eliminates the prospect of taxpayers financing more of the crisis.

The cost of staying warm this winter is likely to go up for Americans who use oil heat. The price of oil could increase about nine cents a gallon because of higher crude-oil costs and tight supplies, the US Energy Information Administration said.

Almost all House Republicans and three Democrats signed a letter asking Clinton to promise not to pardon his former business partners convicted in the Whitewater case.

NASA took a giant leap toward privatization by turning over day-to-day shuttle operations to United Space Alliance. The $7 billion contract with the joint venture of Rockwell and Lockheed is designed to save money. In another cost-cutting move, NASA pulled the plug on a satellite to save $1 to $2 million a year. The International Ultraviolet Explorer was launched 19 years ago and had one of the longest and most productive missions in space-science history.

About 4 million Americans got a raise as the minimum wage jumped 50 cents to $4.75 an hour - the first increase in about five years.

The index that forecasts economic growth six to nine months in advance, reached another new high as it rose for the seventh straight month. The Conference Board reported the 0.2 increase in the leading economic indicators a week after the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged.

The American League filed an injunction in Philadelphia ordering major-league umpires to work after they voted to boycott the playoffs because Roberto Alomar's suspension hasn't taken effect. He was suspended after spitting in the face of an umpire.


Nearly 80 percent of Israelis want the peace process with Palestinians to continue, according to a Shvakim Panorama poll in Jerusalem's Mariv newspaper. Some 54 percent of 521 Israelis polled believe the decision to open an archaeological tunnel in Jerusalem - which touched off last week's violence - was a mistake, but 60.5 percent want to keep it open. Some 57 percent found Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's performance during the conflict unsatisfactory.

Afghanistan's Taliban militia continued to pursue forces of ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani, dynamiting the entrance to the Panshir Valley and claiming to have trapped troops of his commander, Ahmad Shah Masood. Rabbani, in hiding, refused to give up office and called on the UN to probe Pakistani support of the Taliban. Forces of another faction under Gen. Rashid Dostum appeared to be the only obstacle between the Taliban and conquest of the northern provinces.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin called for a summit of leaders of former Soviet republics to discuss the Afghan conflict. Russia says the Taliban takeover presents a security threat to the region. It's particularly concerned about the Tajik-Afghan border, where Tajik rebels and their Afghan allies have clashed with the Kremlin-backed Tajik government.

The US was to transfer control of one of its eight remaining military bases to Panama. The move is part of a reduction of forces ahead of a full US pullout in 1999. Officials said they plan to use Fort Amador - a nearly 400-acre site near Panama City on the Pacific end of the Panama Canal - for a tourism complex.

The lower house of the Swiss parliament voted unanimously to create an independent commission to investigate the role of Swiss banks during the Holocaust. The commission would have five years to open the books of Swiss banks and investigate any financial misdeeds that affected Holocaust victims.

The joint presidents of Bosnia met for the first time at a motel in Sarajevo. They agreed to form an ethnically mixed Cabinet by Oct. 30, use each one another's languages, release prisoners of war, and hold the nation's first legislative session on Oct. 5.

New Zealand agreed to pay a Maori tribe $27.6 million as compensation for the occupation of its land and the hanging of its chief in 1865. The government issued a formal apology.

Nigerian military ruler Gen. Sani Abacha created six new states as part of a plan to restore democracy, but made no mention of freeing political detainees. Also, an electoral commission said five political parties - none opposed to the government - would be allowed to take part in the transition to civilian rule. Fifteen parties had applied.

Tamil Tiger rebels struck back at Sri Lankan troops with mine attacks, killing 11 soldiers and policemen and wounding 27 others in two attacks.

Kurdish rebels killed nine people, including four school teachers, and wounded 16 others in several attacks on civilian targets in Turkey. Also, Amnesty International issued a report and launched a campaign to highlight human-rights abuses in Turkey.

At least 20,000 Indian farmers marched through the streets of La Paz, Bolivia, demanding land reform. The march took place as Indian leaders and government officials held talks on land-reform legislation.

A bill making it illegal in Briton to organize holidays for sex with children abroad became law. Offenders face life imprisonment.


"Each side has its own dreams, desires, demands ... and if we sit together, without the sound of shots and ambulance sirens being heard, perhaps there will be hope."

- Israeli President Ezer Weizman on the Mideast summit taking place in Washington.

Bald is beautiful in Ireland. Taxidrivers in Dublin took part in the biggest "shave in" ever organized in Ireland. A third of the city's cabbies lost their locks in a bid to raise $120,000 for Irish children's charities.

An Andean condor raised in Oklahoma's hills will soon take wing over Colombia for the first time. The endangered bird left for his natural habitat after being raised at the Bartlesville research center. It's parents were sent there from a Florida zoo after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The Day's List

1997 Cars That Go The Extra Mile - Frugally

The 1997 models with the best gasoline mileage in miles per gallon in city and highway driving, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. (Models with identical names have different mileage because of variations in engine size or transmission systems.)

1. Geo Metro 44 city 49 highway

2. Volkswagen Golf/GTI 40 49

2. Volkswagen Jetta 40 49

4. Geo Metro 39 43

4. Suzuki Swift 39 43

6. Volkswagen Passat 38 47

6. Passat Wagon 38 47

8. Honda Civic 37 44

9. Ford Aspire 34 42

10. Honda Civic 34 38

- Associated Press

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