News In Brief


President Clinton proposed drug tests for teenagers applying for driver's licenses. He also said he would issue a rule today to put into effect a law passed by Congress last year that will require states to make it illegal for people under 21 to drive with any alcohol in their blood. States not complying would risk the loss of federal highway construction funds.

The president also signed legislation designed to help the Coast Guard fight drug smugglers. The measure makes it more difficult for suspects in international waters to claim that their vessels are under foreign registry.

Republican candidate Bob Dole intensified his criticism of Clinton's ethics and tried to tie the president to questionable campaign contributions to Democrats from Asian businesses. Clinton, continuing to lead by at least 10 points in major opinion polls, was scheduled to campaign in New Jersey, New York, and Ohio on Sunday. Dole was on tour in New Hampshire.

US Gulf war commanders failed to respond to repeated warnings of Czech soldiers that chemical toxins from Iraqi weapons were endangering American troops, The New York Times reported. Czech soldiers told the Times that, even as they pulled on gas masks and protective suits, nearby American troops remained unprotected. Combat logs of officers under Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf were cited to confirm the report.

Marathon talks began between striking Canadian Auto Workers and General Motors of Canada. Negotiations began after another 2,500 employees at GM plants in Orion Township and Grand Blanc, Michigan, were reportedly told not to report for work today. Union and company negotiators set a deadline of noon today for a settlement in the talks.

The US trade deficit narrowed a bit in August, but remained close to July's five-year high, the Commerce Department reported. The August deficit was $10.8 billion, down 6.6 percent from $11.6 billion in July. The trade imbalance for the year is running at an annual rate of $112 billion.

US trade officials expressed satisfaction with the outcome of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Manila. Senior APEC officials agreed to lower tariffs on computers, telecommunications equipment, and similar products.

The nation's oldest civil rights group said it was no longer in debt. At an annual board meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, it was announced that $4 million of debt had been retired in the past year.

A torrential rainstorm moved north from the New York City-New Jersey area into New England. The storm caused at least one fatality, flooded coastal areas, and closed a number of major roads and bridges.

The nation's largest home health care provider and its new owner agreed to pay $255 million to settle allegations that it overbilled and submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare. The allegations were made against First American Health Care of Georgia, which filed for bankruptcy protection. The new owner is Integrated Health Services.

A fast-moving wildfire along California's Big Sur coastline sent vacationers and residents packing and closed two state parks and parts of Highway 1 about 30 miles south of Monterey. Winds pushed the flames across 650 acres of often rugged, inaccessible terrain.

Federal election expenditures are likely to be nearly twice as much this year as they were in 1992, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said. Philip Morris, AT&T, and trial lawyers are the top contributors, the group reported.

California said it would prohibit Chrysler from shipping vehicles into the state for 45 days as punishment for selling 116 "lemons" in the state. The ruling was to take effect in 40 days, unless reversed on appeal.


Syria applauded - but Israel rejected - a proposal by French President Jacques Chirac that the European Union become a co-sponsor of Arab-Israeli peace talks. Chirac said the EU should be "more than mere partners for reconstruction" in the region. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad escorted Chirac on the French leader's stop in Damascus as part of a Middle East tour. Chirac is due in Israel today.

Israel's Defense Ministry will seek a multibillion-dollar increase in its budget to improve its preparedness for war, a Jerusalem newspaper reported. The report cited US intelligence estimates that limited fighting between Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights was a "distinct possibility."

Russia's military chief in Chechnya met with separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov for talks on how to keep the peace process on track despite last week's shakeups in the Kremlin. Maskhadov, who was named Chechen prime minister over the weekend by rebel leader Zelimkhan Yanderbiev, said he was concerned the firing of Russian security chief Alexander Lebed could have a negative impact on the peace agreement, which Lebed signed. New security chief Ivan Rybkin assured separatist leaders that he backs the peace deal.

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto was headed for a new term as his Liberal Democratic Party rolled up big gains in the country's general election. But the public broadcasting network projected that the LDP would fall short of a majority in the lower house of parliament, making a coalition government virtually certain.

Four refugee camps in eastern Zaire were abandoned because of heavy fighting between government troops and Tutsi rebels. UN sources said more than 100,000 Hutu refugees from Rwanda and Burundi were on the move and temporarily beyond the reach of relief agencies. The UN said the refugees would have to be supplied with food from the air because road transportation was too dangerous.

Rival Kurdish factions fought for control of northern Iraq's strategic Dukan Dam. The Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan exchanged fire as Robert Pelletreau, a US assistant secretary of state, prepared to meet with KDP leader Massoud Barzani in Ankara, Turkey, in an effort to halt the violence. Pelletreau is also to hold talks with PUK leader Jalal Talabani in Turkey next week. Meanwhile, the US finished its latest round of evacuations, helping about 550 Iraqi Kurdish dissidents cross the Turkish border for eventual resettlement in the US.

An estimated 150,000 to 275,000 Belgians marched in Brussels as the public outcry over the country's child-sex crimes entered its second week. The national rail service discounted fares and added extra trains to take people to the rally. Public anger came to a head last week when the lead prosecutor in the wave of child-sex crimes was taken off the case.

Troops of Afghanistan's former government rocketed Kabul airport and vowed to arrive in the capital itself by today. They are attempting to retake the city from the Taliban militiamen who ousted them three weeks ago. As fighting proceeded, Pakistan's interior minister began a mission to broker peace negotiations between the rival Afghan factions.

Cuban officials calculated the damage from hurricane Lili as the storm veered east-northeast toward Bermuda. Lili was blamed for destroying or damaging 30,000 houses in Cuba and for flattening many of the island's sugar fields. Also damaged: the coffee, plantain, and tobacco industries. Damage to the Bahamas, which was hit after the storm left Cuba, was reported to be light.


''I ... appeal to everybody to stay calm. This is for our children and not against the justice system." -- Belgian Paul Marchal, whose daughter was one of those murdered by an alleged child sex ring, during a march to remember the children and demand more information about the case.

Thousands of illegal guns will be back on the streets in Hartford, Conn., - as manhole covers. Artist Bradley McCallum melted down more than 11,000 fire-arms and turned them into 230 pieces of street art. He hopes the innovation sparks public dialogue on creative ways of controlling handguns.

Thirteen years after a poacher shot him from the sky, Osceola, a one-winged bald eagle, has taken flight again in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Zoo caretaker John Stokes - a hang-glider - found it ironic that he could fly and the bird couldn't. So he created a special harness that lets Osceola hang-glide with him. Their maiden flight was in April, and they've taken seven more since then.

The first US museum dedicated to helicopters opened in West Chester, Pa., more than 50 years after the whirlybirds first took to the sky. The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center showcases historic helicopters and seeks to educate the public about their importance - both militarily and as rescue vehicles.


Hey, Batter - Swing!

Players who "went yard" - hit a home run - in their first World Series at-bats in the last 30 years:

1. Fred McGriff, Atlanta 1995

2. Ed Sprague, Toronto 1992

3. Eric Davis, Cincinnati 1990

4. Bill Bathe, San Francisco 1989

5. Jose Canseco, Oakland 1988

6. Mickey Hatcher, Los Angeles 1988

7. Jim Dwyer, Baltimore 1983

8. Bob Watson, New York Yankees 1981

9. Amos Otis, Kansas City 1980

10. Doug DeCinces, Baltimore 1979

11. Jim Mason, New York Yankees 1976

12. Gene Tenace, Oakland 1972

13. Don Buford, Baltimore 1969

14. Mickey Lolich, Detroit 1968

15. Jose Santiago, Boston 1967

16. Brooks Robinson, Baltimore 1966

- Associated Press

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