News In Brief

The US

The FBI crime labs made serious mistakes in providing evidence in some major cases, including the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombings, the Justice Department said. The report recommended removing the chiefs of some labs and overhauling their operations. It questioned the judgment of suspending Frederic Whitehurst, the agent who first accused the labs of scientific fraud and of slanting evidence to favor prosecutors.

White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles testified before a grand jury in Little Rock, Ark., that former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell wasn't given "hush money" to keep quiet on President Clinton's role in the Whitewater scandal. Also, James McDougal was sentenced to just three of the 84 years he could have received for 18 fraud and conspiracy counts. Prosecutors urged leniency because McDougal cooperated with Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr. McDougal told "Dateline NBC" he turned against Clinton because the president did not pardon Susan McDougal, his former wife.

Republicans heavily criticized Attorney General Janet Reno for rejecting their requests for an independent investigation into Democratic fund-raising. No specific credible evidence existed to implicate the highest Clinton administration officials in felonies, she said.

The US Supreme Court plans to vote today on whether public school teachers may offer remedial help at parochial schools. New York is challenging a 1985 decision in which the court barred such teachers from entering the schools to provide help because of church-state issues. A 1965 law requires federally funded remedial help for needy low-income students, no matter where they attend school. In response to a Georgia law, the court ruled that state and local governments can't require candidates for public office to pass drug tests.

Inflation concerns waned after the government announced a mere 0.1 percent increase in consumer prices. The stock market responded by gaining more than 70 points in the Dow Jones industrial average by 10 a.m. Tuesday. Record declines in natural gas costs helped offset the largest increase in a year in airline ticket fares.

The Senate voted 65-to-34 to send tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste into Nevada's desert for storage. The measure failed to gain enough votes to override a promised presidential veto. The bill forces the state to accept waste from civilian power plants as early as 2003 while a permanent burial site is found.

Clinton has selected investment banker Felix Rohatyn as US ambassador to France, The New York Times reported. The White House is withholding the announcement pending approval from France. Rohatyn is a major contributor to the Democratic Party and was credited with helping New York City to avert bankruptcy in the 1970s.

The Clinton administration unveiled a package of mostly minor initiatives to simplify the tax code. Included in the batch were proposals that would allow tax payments with a credit card and streamline rules for claiming deductions for dependent children. Meanwhile, the Clintons filed their own joint return, which showed $1,065,101 million in adjusted gross income last year. But $590,000 of the $742,852 in royalties from Hillary Rodham Clinton's book "It Takes a Village" was donated to charity.

The Tax Foundation in Washington estimated the average American will see his entire paycheck go toward local, state, and federal taxes through May 9 - the 128th day of this year.

Alaska joined several other states in filing suit against tobacco makers. The suit charges the companies with creating more than $100 million in medical costs, engaging in consumer fraud, conspiring to conceal the addictive nature of their product, using deceptive tactics to target teenagers, and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

The US and EU plan to resume talks over meat exports today. Washington decided to extend them after threatening to block EU exports yesterday if the two sides didn't reach an accord on slaughter requirements.

The World

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy attended an economic conference on Malta and said they were eager to restore the Middle East peace process. Their appearance at an opening reception prompt-ed hopes for a private meeting that would be the highest-level contact between Israeli and Palestinian leaders since construction began on a controversial Jewish housing project in southeastern Jerusalem.

US special envoy Dennis Ross was scheduled to meet Arafat in Gaza today on ways to revive the peace process. A similar meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu also was expected.

More than 1,000 Italian, French, and Spanish troops arrived in Albania to set up entry points for the multinational force that is to protect aid distribution in the troubled country. Marines swept the harbor at the port of Durres for signs of possible terrorist activity before most of the soldiers landed. Ultimately, the protection force is expected to number 6,000 men.

A Catholic church in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, was heavily damaged in what authorities said was an arson attack - apparently in retaliation for fires elsewhere in the town that were set in a Protestant church and a meeting hall. No injuries were reported in the early-morning attack, and there were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Economic sanctions imposed against Burundi by neighboring African states are not working because smuggling is weakening their impact, a UN report said. The sanctions were put in place last July in an effort to force military ruler Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, into peace negotiations with his Hutu rebel opponents. The UN report suggested that the measures be retargeted to protect economically vulnerable segments of Burundi's population.

Airlines officials in Hong Kong refused to allow Cambodian Prince Sirivudh to board a flight home. They said they had been told by Cambodian authorities that Sirivudh would be arrested as he left the plane in Phnom Penh, the capital. The prince has lived in exile since December 1995. He is charged with involvement in an alleged plot to kill political rival Hun Sen, the country's copremier. Sirivudh says he wants to return to Cambodia to clear his name.

A national referendum to determine whether Colombians endorse their government's attempts to make peace with leftist guerrillas was announced by President Samper. He said war with the leftists costs almost $4 billion a year to conduct. Samper said his government recognizes the Marxist-led rebels as a "legitimate political force." The referendum was set for Oct. 26.

A six-hour protest by supporters of Indonesian democracy activist Megawati Sukarnoputri was allowed to proceed by riot police and Army troops, despite the destruction of a fence outside parliament in Jakarta, the capital. An estimated 2,000 demonstrators called for her return to head the opposition Democratic Party. She was stripped of her leadership by a government-backed faction last spring and is barred from running in Indonesia's May 29 election.

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana and senior Russian leaders failed to achieve a breakthrough in efforts to forge long-term smooth relations once the alliance expands into eastern Europe. Solana (r.) and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov (l.) met for three hours behind closed doors but could not iron out differences, a Kremlin statement said. Russia remains concerned about a possible buildup of NATO forces on its border and has demanded a say in alliance decisions that affect its security.

Two tent encampments for Muslim pilgrims were swept by fire outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Early reports said there were no casualties at one of the camps, but witnesses said at least 50 people died in the other blaze.


"I'm convinced that if most members of Congress did their own taxes,

we would have had tax reform long ago."

- House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Archer (R) of Texas, who advocates a national sales tax.

Ever been asked by a telephone operator which long-distance carrier you wanted? If you answered, "I don't care," or "It doesn't matter," a Texas company thinks it's just what you need. K-T-N-T Communications has applied to do business in Florida under those trademarks. The Public Service Commission is under pressure to de-lay a vote on the application until it can be studied further.

New York cab drivers have a reputation for insensitivity. But don't tell that to tenor Placido Domingo. He is offering to reward the cabbie who turned in a briefcase he had left behind. Inside were "three precious things" - copies of favorite prayers, family photos, and the score of the opera "Die Walkure." Domingo called the driver a "very amazing man."

High-school sophomore Erin Cain was studying for a quiz when she took a second look at the map in her textbook. It showed Rhodesia where Zimbabwe should have been, East Pakistan instead of Bangladesh, and an undivided Korean peninsula. The book is used by numerous schools, but the publisher says the Fairfax, Va., student's catch was the first time anyone had reported the errors. The oldest of them dates back to 1945.

The Day's List

Where Tax Auditors Are Most and Least Active

These are the US cities most and least likely to get audited in 1995, followed by the percent of individual returns audited, according to Washington's General Accounting Office and the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The information is compiled from a list of 63 districts. The US average is 0.7 percent.


Las Vegas 2.0

Laguna Niguel, Calif. 1.6

San Francisco 1.4

Los Angeles 1.3

Jackson, Miss. 1.2


Pittsburgh 0.4

Albany 0.4

Cincinnati 0.3

Cleveland 0.3

Louisville, Ky. 0.3

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