News In Brief

The US

The Justice Department distanced itself from Sen. Fred Thompson's statement that China plotted to raise its influence in US politics, and the Governmental Affairs Committee chairman acknowledged it may be impossible to prove the charge. Executives from the Lippo Group, an Indonesian firm with close ties to China and ex-Democratic Party fund-raiser John Huang, were expected to testify in the second week of Senate campaign-finance hearings, beginning today. Meanwhile, Newsweek magazine reported Huang funneled illegal foreign contributions to Democrats as early as 1992.

The Sojourner rover was ordered to return to and inspect "Yogi," the bear-shaped Martian rock it got stuck on late last week. Sojourner sat motionless much of the weekend, two feet from the rock. Space officials determined that a system overload had caused the spacecraft's computer to reset, leaving them unable to communicate with the craft for a short time. Over the weekend, Pathfinder was reprogrammed so it will to continue working if a similar situation occurs. Two children share a magnifying glass while inspecting a Martian meteorite at Albuquerque's New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. It is reportedly one of only 12 meteorites in the world identified as coming from Mars.

President Clinton threw his support behind legislation that would make it illegal for health-insurance companies to discriminate against healthy people on the basis of genetic data suggesting they may be vulnerable to inherited diseases, White House aides said. Clinton's decision was in line with information he received in a Department of Health and Human Services report, they noted. The document says potential benefits of genetic testing might be lost if people refuse to take the tests out of fear the results may be used against them.

Investigators were scheduled to begin a series of 10 test flights with a Boeing 747 similar to the one involved in the TWA Flight 800 explosion that killed 230 people, National Transportation Safety Board chairman Jim Hall said. The test aircraft was set up at New York's Kennedy International Airport with monitors to examine six scenarios that could have led to the July 17, 1996, explosion - four of them described as mechanical.

The Justice Department has granted immunity to a scientist who allegedly helped Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company develop a plant with high-nicotine content, the Los Angeles Times reported. Citing unnamed sources, the Times said the scientist, Janis Bravo, told a grand jury she helped develop a high-nicotine plant for a joint venture of Brown & Williamson and DNA Plant Technology.

Fifteen boats carrying Cuban exiles sailed safely back to Florida after commemorating 41 people who drowned while trying to flee Cuba. A Cuban warship rammed and sank their boat three years ago. The protest was held on the edge of Cuban waters without incident. Before the ceremony, the US Coast Guard seized the boat of group leader Ramon Saul Sanchez after he vowed to enter Cuban territory.

A state grand jury was to consider evidence of an alleged coverup in the Oklahoma City bombing. Two witnesses are expected to insist that convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh was not alone as he drove through Oklahoma City on the morning of the April 1995 attack that killed 168 people, the Sunday Oklahoman reported.

Residents of the mid-Atlantic states were cautioned to watch the progress of Tropical Storm Claudette as it crept northward in the Atlantic Ocean. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said the storm did not pose a large threat to the US mainland, but its future track was uncertain. Early Monday, it was 230 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

DuPont Company said it would buy two major businesses from Imperial Chemical Industries, a London-based firm, for $3 billion, greatly expanding its global reach. The deal is expect-ed to give DuPont greater dominance in production of titanium dioxide, a white pigment used to color and brighten paper, paint, and plastics.

The World

Bosnian Serbs were believed to be responsible for an explosion that damaged a hotel used by international organizations such as the UN and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The blast, in Serb-held Zvornik, also destroyed or damaged two vehicles. UN officials reported other incidents, such as the circulation of pamphlets warning of retaliation for a NATO strike last week against two indicted Serb war-crimes suspects. One of the suspects was killed while resisting arrest. Meanwhile, in The Hague, convicted Serb war criminal Dusan Tadic was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Police searchers in a crowded housing project in Northern Ireland were met by a barrage of gasoline bombs and rocks from Catholics. The incident, in Londonderry, followed the discovery of 300 pounds of bomb-making materials that officials said were "one step from being fully functional . . . and meant to cause death." In Belfast, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams dismissed new calls for a cease-fire by his Irish Republican Army allies, saying the surrender of weapons "remains a major difficulty."

Massive demonstrations across Spain brought normal business activity to a near-standstill as reaction grew to the execution-style slaying of a Basque kidnap victim. Miguel Angel Blanco's funeral was televised live, following an address by Prime Minister Jos Maria Aznar. Aznar vowed to intensify his government's campaign against the Basque separatist group, ETA. But in Pamplona, masked ETA supporters retaliated by pelting city hall with rocks and bottles.

New violence erupted in Nai-robi as students began a second week of protests against the government of President Daniel arap Moi. They blocked a street with burning tires, threw rocks at riot police, and demanded constitutional reforms. When reinforcements arrived, the police storm-ed the campus of Kenya Poly- technic college. Moi, in his 19th year in power, says there isn't enough time for reforms before national elections, which must be held this year.

Co-Premier Hun Sen threatened to withdraw Cambodia's application to join ASEAN, accusing the Southeast Asian trade group of meddling in the country's internal affairs. ASEAN last week delayed Cambodia's admission in response to the July 6 ouster of Hun Sen's rival, Noro-dom Ranariddh. Cambodia has come under increased international political and economic pressure since Hun Sen won their power struggle .

Palestinian police and Israeli troops cooperated for the first time in weeks to restore calm to the West Bank city of Hebron. Palestinian officials said joint patrols were resumed to prevent Israel from carrying out a plan to take back the part of Hebron it handed over earlier this year. For more than two weeks, the city has been the scene of almost daily unrest .

In a rare public announcement, the Algerian government acknowledged a bomb attack in a crowded marketplace outside the capital. The incident, of the type usually blamed on Muslim insurgents, came as shoppers bought provisions for a celebration of the prophet Muhammad's birth. Twenty-one people were believed killed and 40 others were hurt. Another 44 Algerians died in weekend attacks on rural towns.

An estimated 15,000 march-ers blocked traffic in the Mexican state capital of Campeche, demanding that the outcome of the July 6 election for governor be nullified by authorities. Ruling party candidate Antonio Gonzalez Curi defeated leftist Layda Sansores by 7 percent of the vote. But her supporters alleged massive irregularities, including vote-buying, stuffing of ballot boxes, and false precinct counts.


"You must bear responsibility for your criminal conduct. To condone your actions ...

is to give effect to a base view of morality and invite anarchy."

- Bosnian war-crimes tribunal judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, pronouncing sentence on convicted Serb Dusan Tadic.

Police in St. Peters, Mo., were not as understanding as a pair of convenience store clerks when it came to the arrest of a robbery suspect. He fled with something less than $100. But his car wouldn't start. In return for getting the money back, the clerks jump-started it and waited 40 minutes to report the incident. They also didn't write down the license number. An hour later, however, the same suspect was busted for holding up a nearby gas station.

Then there was what happened to a Boston couple as they took their dog for an after-dark stroll. Suddenly, several police in cruisers arrived, in search of a crime suspect. The cops were about to move on in vain, as were the couple, when everybody noticed the dog had become intensely interested in something underneath a car park-ed at the curb. The cops looked too - and found their man hiding there.

The late Deng Xiaoping devised the "one country, two systems" policy that was used to reunify Hong Kong with China. But when the territory's first postage stamps under Chinese rule were issued - featuring Deng - three of every five were so badly flawed that buyers demand-ed their money back.


The Countries Americans Would Most Like to Visit

If Americans could spend a vacation in any other part of the world - and cost was not an issue - their clear choice would be Australia, a poll by Louis Harris and Associates indicates. Pollsters attributed Australia's popularity to its marketing efforts, its geographical features, its movies, and its friendly, English-speaking people. The top-10 destinations, according to the survey of 1,026 adults:

1. Australia

2. Britain

3. France

4. Germany

5. Italy

6. Canada

7. Ireland

8. Mexico

9. Switzerland

10. Israel

- Reuters

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