News In Brief

The US

Striking members of the Teamsters Union shut down United Parcel Service facilities across the US after talks over pay, benefits, and job security collapsed. The White House said there was "no possibility" of President Clinton intervening to stop the strike, but Labor Secretary Alexis Herman immediately called on the two sides to go back to the bargaining table.

Documents implicating the Vatican's bank in possibly illegal dealings with Nazis were found in the National Archives. The intelligence papers, obtained by Reuters, say the bank used Swiss middlemen in at least three cases to obtain money from the German Reichsbank or to send funds to a bank blacklisted by the Allies for dealing with Nazis. The report comes two weeks after discovery of a US Intelligence report that claimed the Vatican stored coins and cash taken from Serbs and Jews by Croatian Nazis.

Former Gov. William Weld (R) of Massachusetts gained crucial support in his campaign to become US ambassador to Mexico. Sen. Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana said on ABC-TV's "This Week" program he was willing to join an attempt to circumvent Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R) of North Carolina. Helms has said he will not call a hearing on Weld's nomination. Lugar is a member of Helm's panel and the first of its 10 Republicans to promise to vote for a hearing. All eight Democrats are expected to support Weld.

Opening statements were scheduled in the trial of the alleged leading plotter of New York City's most notorious terrorist act - the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Ramzi Yousef and an alleged accomplice were to appear in a US court in Manhattan. In 1994, four other men convicted of taking part in the bomb plot were sentenced to terms of 240 years each. The blast killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others.

No direct link has been found between two men accused of plotting a suicide bombing on the New York subway and terrorist activities in Israel, said Sandy Berger, Clinton's national security adviser. Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer and Lafi Khalil were captured late last week in a raid on their Brooklyn apartment.

Less than 48 hours before he was to be executed, a US appeals court threw out the death sentence of a Californian convicted of a 1981 rape and murder. Thomas Thompson was to receive a lethal injection after midnight Monday for the attack on Ginger Fleischli in Laguna Beach, Calif. Eleven judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal in San Francisco voted 7 to 4 to annul the death sentence and order a new trial on the rape charge, citing errors by Thompson's attorney in the 1983 trial.

Two Congressmen voiced support for Clinton's use of line-item vetoes to remove provisions from the recently passed tax bill. House minority leader Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri said on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" that a provision favoring the tobacco industry deserved excision. House Budget Committee chairman John Kasich (R) of Ohio, also on NBC, said he supported use of line-item vetoes to remove "outrageous" measures, but he did not name a target item.

Crews appeared to be reigning in wildfires across southern California, even as new blazes erupted in the region. In all, seven fires had reportedly consumed at least 1,370 acres.

Spending on new construction fell unexpectedly in June, the Commerce Department said. Construction spending dropped 1.1 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $591.5 billion, the biggest monthly drop in six months. The June decline followed a sharply revised 0.3 percent gain in May.

Vanguard Group, the second-largest US mutual-fund company, has exceeded $300 billion in assets under management, The Wall Street Journal reported. The firm's total funds under management have reportedly increased 25 percent since Jan. 1. Fidelity Investments - managing $535.8 billion as of May 31 - remains the leader of the booming US mutual-fund industry.

The World

Foreign diplomats scrambled to get Mideast peace talks back on track following last week's suicide bombings in Jerusalem. The European Union's peace envoy said he would try to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to lift stringent measures levelled against Palestin- ians after the blast that killed 15 people and wounded 170 others. Some 145 Palestinians have been arrested since the attack. Palestinian leader Arafat was to meet with Jordan's King Hussein to discuss the crisis.

Israeli sraeli commandos set off bombs near the village of Kfour in southern Lebanon, killing five Hezbollah guerillas, including two commanders, Israeli Army officials said. Hezbollah leader Sheik Nabil Kaouk threatened "harsh retaliation." Hezbollah is fighting to oust Israeli forces from their self-declared "security zone" established in southern Lebanon in 1985.

On the eve of negotiations for a permanent peace treaty, North and South Korea exchanged goodwill gestures. The North turned over the remains of four soldiers who died in the peninsula's 1950-53 war - all said to be Americans. That was followed by the opening of phone service between North and South, the announcement of new food shipments to the famine-wracked North, and the admission of Western reporters to the North by the reclusive Pyong-yang regime. North and South Korea, the US, and China are due to meet in New York today for the opening round of talks.

Cambodian coup leader Hun Sen urged all members of parliament who fled the country last month to return and vote to confirm his choice for new co-premier. The National Assembly is scheduled to endorse Foreign Minister Ung Huot for the post today. Hun Sen said he would "assure security" for those returning, with the exception of his ousted rival, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

Two Russian cosmonauts were due to blast off today to repair the troubled Mir space station. Commander Anatoly Solovyoy and flight engineer Pavel Vinogradov will work to restore full power to the station that was severely damaged in a June docking accident. Several spacewalks are scheduled to try to reattach power cables, install a new hatch door, and plug a hole in the craft.

Saying, "My government will avoid any action or behavior causing tension," new Iranian President Mohammad Khatami accepted the oath of office. Khatami, considered a relative political moderate, is the fifth Muslim clergyman to assume the presidency since the 1979 revolution that toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He vowed to pursue good diplomatic relations with all countries except those that "want to lord it over us" - an apparent reference to the US.

International officials blamed Croatian authorities for the expulsion of Muslim refugees from the central Bosnian town of Jajce. Over the weekend, angry Croats drove out 450 refugees who had returned to Jajce last month. A UN spokesman said Croatian police did "absolutely nothing" to protect the Muslims. The top international envoy to Bosnia called on the country's Croat co-president to ensure that the refugees would be able to return by today. Across Bosnia, few refugees have returned to areas dominated by rival ethnic groups

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and the leader of of Abkhazia, Vladislav Ardzinba, said they were ready to hold peace talks in Moscow. No date has been set for the negotiations proposed by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Shevardnadze said he supports Yeltsin's call for the breakaway province to remain part of Georgia in exchange for greater autonomy. He also said 150,000 Georgian refugees should be allowed to return to their homes in the province. Abkhaz separatists declared their independence after driving out the Georgian Army in a 1992-93 war.


"An Islamic government is one which considers itself to be the servant

of the nation - not its ruler."

- New President Mohammad Khatami, addressing critics who oppose his views on easing Iran's strict Islamic codes.

Michael Ciaraldi made what you might call a heavy donation to Brown University. So heavy, in fact, that at least one official of the prestigious Ivy League school in Providence, R.I., gushed: "It's quite exciting. I just have been amazed at what I'm seeing." So, did Ciaraldi put up the money for a computer science building or endow a new school of international studies? No, he gave Brown his entire collection of 60,000 comic books - dating back to the 1970s and weighing three tons.

There are almost no lengths to which Fidel Castro won't go to please a friendly regime in these times of economic struggle for Cuba. So, in a gesture of solidarity with communist Vietnam, he sent an official gift. You might guess it was a shipment of his country's famous cigars. But you'd be wrong. It was 150 baby crocodiles to use in a breeding program.

Speaking of solidarity, Petrus Niewenhuis was half-way into a 12-year prison sentence in South Africa when he saw an opening and escaped. He phoned his family with the news and was encouraged to come home as soon as possible. Once he did, the family handed him right back to his jailers.

The Day's List

Ranking of Areas Where Homes Fetch Top Dollar

A survey by Runzheimer International, a management-consulting firm based in Rochester, Wis., ranks some 300 US metropolitan areas. The five with the highest and lowest home-market values, based on prices of four-bedroom, 2,200-sq. ft. houses with 2-1/2 baths in suburbs where a family of four earns $60,000 a year:


1. San Jose, Calif. $501,000

2. San Francisco 423,500

3. Honolulu, Hawaii 407,100

4. Washington 288,700

5. Boston 277,500


1. Port Arthur, Texas 77,500

2 Towanda, Pa. 94,300

3. Hobbs, N.M. 96,400

4. Corbin, Ky. 98,000

5. Winter Haven, Fla. 102,100

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