News In Brief


Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole proposed banning political contributions from persons who are not eligible to vote. Campaigning in New Hampshire, he harshly criticized the flow of foreign money into Democratic Party campaign coffers. The latest Reuters opinion poll showed him closing within 8.3 points of President Clinton. Dole was favored by 36.6 percent of likely voters; the president by 44.9 percent.

Clinton, campaigning in New Jersey for Senate candidate Robert Torricelli, said he was concerned about the negative tone of the campaign. Both presidential candidates were scheduled to begin two days of campaigning in Ohio and Michigan.

The Democratic National Committee announced the return of a $20,000 contribution from a convicted Miami cocaine smuggler. The party said it was unaware until last week that the contributor had been arrested and sentenced to prison after making the donation. The action came a day after the committee released fund-raiser John Huang - a former Commerce Department aide who raised funds from Asian businesses - and reimbursed a Buddhist temple in California $15,000 for the cost of a fund-raising event there. Tax-exempt organizations are not supposed to host such events. Meanwhile, Republicans announced the return of a $15,000 donation to a Canadian company after its propriety was questioned.

So-called soft money is pouring into both political parties, records filed with the Federal Election Commission said. These donations, exempt from legal contribution limits, accounted for $87 million of $239 million raised by the GOP National Committee since January 1995. And they accounted for $84 million of $177 million raised over the same period by the Democratic National Committee.

The Supreme Court turned down a challenge to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals in the military. The court let stand a lower-court ruling upholding the Clinton administration policy. A former Navy officer had challenged it as a violation of free speech. Also, the court agreed to decide how quickly government officials sued in state courts may appeal a denial of immunity. Lawyers in an Idaho case argue that state employees have the right to immediate appeal when a state judge refuses to shield them from being sued.

The Environmental Protection Agency has spent more than $1 million since 1993 on training seminars at ritzy resorts or on subjects unrelated to the environment, congressional investigators said. Among other things, the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee cited "defensive-driving" and speed-reading courses.

Two California drug dealers could not have financed a CIA-backed guerrilla group in Nicaragua, the Los Angeles Times reported. A series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News indicated that San Francisco-area dealers sold tons of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs and funneled millions to the Nicaraguan contras in the early 1980s. The Times story indicated the drug dealers cited by the Mercury News spent most of their money on themselves and their drug habits.

A wildfire on California's Big Sur coastline was brought under control after scorching an estimated 668 acres. Businesses on State Highway 1 had been forced to close briefly over the weekend.

A man suspected of making a tape-recorded threat to blow up a federal dam on the Oregon-Washington border was shot to death by an FBI agent. Investigators would not say whether explosives were found at the Bonneville Lock and Dam Project on the Columbia River.

US troops should remain in Panama after 1999, the nation's drug-policy chief said. Barry McCaffrey, a former US Army general, said he supports a Panamanian proposal for creation of a regional counter-narcotics center at a US military base in Panama. US military personnel are due to leave Panama by Dec. 31, 1999.


A threat by US envoy Dennis Ross to return home unless there was immediate progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks sent negotiators for both sides back to work. But Ross later announced he was leaving anyway and would return if his help was needed to break a deadlock on redeploying Israeli troops from Hebron on the West Bank. Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat denied he was attempting to stall the talks until after the US elections, hoping that a reelected President Clinton would then be tougher on Israel.

Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto met with rival party leaders to discuss forming a coalition government after his Liberal Democratic Party failed to win a majority in parliament. Hashimoto said Japan's elections showed that the LDP had not fully regained public confidence after scandals helped to topple it in 1993 after almost 38 years in power.

Former Managua mayor Arnoldo leman claimed victory in Nicaragua's presidential elections. With offical results from 7 percent of the precincts tallied, leman led with 49 percent of the vote over former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, who had 40 percent. leman's Liberal Alliance predicted the vote would hold, rendering a runoff unnecessary.

Calling a local banker's relationship with Clinton "entirely a private matter," the government of Indonesia moved to distance itself from the controversy that is shaking American politics. The Democratic Party is accused of accepting large campaign contributions from the Lippo Group, an Indonesian conglomerate whose deputy chairman, James Riady, has known Clinton since the mid-1980s. Some social activists have questioned Riady's patriotism in giving money to a foreign leader instead of contributing to Indonesia's poor.

Two cabinet ministers in South Africa's former white-minority government were implicated in bombing and sabotage campaigns in the 1980s against opponents of apartheid. Gen. Johan van der Merwe, who headed the country's security police, told the investigative Truth and Reconciliation Commission he had received orders or approvals for such campaigns from former Police Minister Louis LeGrange and from former Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok. He said Vlok told him that instructions for a 1988 bombing had come directly from President P.W. Botha.

The number of Hutu refugees who have fled the fighting in eastern Zaire neared the quarter-million mark, UN sources estimated. Aid agency workers said all 12 refugee camps near the town of Uvira emptied after unidentified fighters crossing from Rwanda attacked nearby Zairean Army positions. Rwandan Army officials denied the accusation.

Cease-fire talks launched by UN envoy Robert Holl in Afghanistan's Mazar-i-Sharif city failed, a spokesman for the country's ousted government forces said. Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Conference in Pakistan proposed an OIC-monitored truce in Afghanistan and a conference between the warring groups in Saudi Arabia.

The hero of Lithuanian independence, Vytautas Landsbergis, was on the verge of a political comeback as returns were counted in national elections. His party, Homeland Union, was running well ahead of its rivals for the most seats in parliament but appeared unlikely to win an absolute majority, necessitating a coalition government. Landsbergis led Lithuania's successful break from the Soviet Union in 1991 but lost power to ex-communists in the following year's elections.


"A great deal of work remains to be done. We have not yet done enough to regain the complete trust of the people."

- Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, on his party's inconclusive victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

What's taller than the Statue of Liberty, holds 4,400 people, has a theater and two swimming pools, and floats? Answer: the world's newest cruise ship. Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri turned the world's tallest vessel over to its new owner, Carnival Corp. of Miami. Carnival Destiny was completed in 20 months and weighs upwards of 100,000 gross tons.

Uncle Sam is looking for a few good dogs. But he may need to consider a draft. When the Customs Service held its first "job fair for dogs" in Woodbridge, Va., only two prospective pooches showed up - and both flunked. Customs is searching for as many as 500 new drug-sniffing dogs.

A new Internet server in Israel is offering Kosher surfing on the Web. "Torah Net" offers 1,500 web sites that are certified kosher - meaning they don't contain pornography or any material that violates the Jewish faith.

One of the big winners in Japan's general elections was former sumo wrestler Kyokudozan. He won a proportional seat in the lower house of parliament by promising - among other things - to help educate children through sports.


The 15 Best US Cities To Hang Your Hat

Fortune's 15 best US cities to balance work and family life. For this year's rankings, the magazine changed its standards, using not just business criteria but also evaluating crime, schooling, availability of culture, and the comforts and accessibility of the suburbs.

1. Seattle

2. Denver

3. Philadelphia

4. Minneapolis

5. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

6. St. Louis

7. Cincinnati

8. Washington, D.C.

9. Pittsburgh

10. Dallas-Fort Worth

11. Atlanta

12. Baltimore

13. Boston

14. Milwaukee

15. Nashville, Tenn.

- Fortune/AP

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