News In Brief

The US

Leaders of UPS and the Teamsters said they were encouraged that talks to end the two-week-old strike were continuing. After nearly 60 hours of meetings, negotiators for the two sides took a break for sleep early Sunday before resuming. They began this latest round of talks Thursday morning.

President Clinton signed a bill to lift a US embargo on tuna caught in nets that also entrap dolphins. The US imposed the embargo in 1994 after a public outcry over the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of dolphins in areas of the Pacific where tuna swim below dolphins. About a dozen countries have voluntarily adopted measures to minimize the threat to dolphins.

Clinton pledged that government services would not be interrupted by computers treating the year 2000 as the year 1900 - and thus making serious errors - as the century draws to a close. Some industry officials and lawmakers have said the government is moving too slowly to prevent potentially devastating problems.

The space-shuttle Discovery picked up a free-flying satellite that had been checking Earth's ozone layer. The satellite was plucked from orbit by the shuttle's 60-foot-long robot arm, then gently lowered into its berth in the cargo bay. Discovery was scheduled to return to Earth early today at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Buddhist leader at the the center of an inquiry into an alleged illegal contribution to the Democratic Party has told Senate investigators he was not seeking political favors for his donations, the Los Angeles Times reported. The statement of the Venerable Master Hsing Yun, who raised $140,000 for the Democratic National Committee during a luncheon attended by Vice President Al Gore, contradicts theories that the donations came from foreign sources.

The Justice Department decided against prosecuting senior FBI officials in connection with an alleged coverup that followed the 1992 Ruby Ridge siege of white separatist Randy Weaver's rural cabin in Ruby Ridge, Idaho. But the department left open the possibility that former deputy director Larry Potts and his chief aide, Danny Coulson, could be fired. It said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the men on charges they tried to cover up orders authorizing the use of excessive force.

Friday's sell-off on Wall Street, which trimmed 247.37 points from the Dow Jones industrial average, capped a dizzying seven-day decline of 565 points, or almost 7 percent. While the Federal Reserve is not expected to push up interest rates at its meeting tomorrow, inflation concerns were evident.

Deliberations were to resume today in the bank-fraud trial of Arizona Gov. Fife Symington. Jurors ended their first full week of deliberations Friday without reaching a verdict. Symington is charged with 19 counts of bank fraud stemming from his days as a developer before his 1991 election. If convicted on even one count, the two-term Republican would automatically be removed from office.

The Agriculture Department announced the largest recall of US ground-beef products. Hudson Foods Inc., an Arkansas-based meat processor, is voluntarily recalling some 1.2 million pounds of frozen hamburger because of possible contamination.

Hospitals were ordered to sharply reduce pollution from their waste incinerators. The new US Environmental Protection Agency rules will reportedly cut hospital emissions of highly toxic mercury and dioxin by about 95 percent.

Grain-price increases of the mid-1990s suggest a coming era of food scarcity, the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute said. Even with forecasts of large crops this year, the world will see the third year in a row when stockpiles equal less than 60 days of use, "well below the 70-day minimum needed to cushion" one poor harvest, it warned.

The World

Russian President Yeltsin was expected to meet with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov today in Moscow in a bid to improve strayed ties between the former adversaries. Chechen official say Maskhadov hopes to settle the region's status and receive aid to repair damage from Chechnya's two-year war with Russia. Meanwhile, two Russian journalists held by kidnappers in Chechnya were freed. A string of kidnappings has complicated relations with Mosow.

Youths armed with machetes went on a rampage in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, killing five people and burning houses, residents said. At least 24 people have been killed since Wednesday in a series of attacks that local journalists say are aimed at Kenyans from other parts of the country. Opposition leaders accused President Daniel arap Moi of orchestrating the violence as an excuse to crack down on opponents before elections that must be held later this year.

Yasser Arafat's government vowed to boycott Israeli products to counter sanctions imposed by Israel after last month's suicide bombing in Jerusalem. A Trade Ministry official said the embargo would apply to cigarettes, soft drinks, and other items that could be replaced by Palestinian products. Since the attack, Israel has blocked 100,000 Palestinians from going to their jobs in Israel, and cut off $40 million in tax revenues used to pay police and other government workers.

German police detained at least 400 people-suspected of heading to illegal rallies to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess. Officially, Hess is said to have committed suicide in a Berlin prison in 1987, but his family claims he was murdered. In neighboring Denmark, 150 neo-nazis marked Hess's death by marching in the town of Koege.

Authorities expanded the off-limits zone on Montserrat, citing an increased threat of a volcanic eruption. Residents of four central towns were ordered to evacuate to the north of the Caribbean island. The government pledged to offer those wanting to leave Montserrat an unspecified sum of money and transportation to neighboring islands. The volcano became active in July 1995, forcing officials to evacuate the southern half of the island.

The planned docking of the Mir space station and an unmanned cargo ship was delayed for at least a day after a malfunction in the ship's computer. NASA said Russian ground controllers had trouble sending automatic docking commands to the Progress ship, which was disconnected from the station Aug. 6 to make room for a Soyuz capsule carrying a new crew.

Artillery fire landed on the outskirts of O'Smach as forces loyal to Cambodian copremier Hun Sen pushed toward the Cambodian border town. It is the last enclave controlled by forces loyal to ousted copremier Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who flew to the Philippines, continuing his efforts to win political support.

Shining Path Maoist guerrillas in Peru have kidnapped some 30 oil workers, police said. A source in the regional capital of Huancayo said Army helicopters were searching a jungle area near the River Ene. The daily La Republica said the kidnapped men were employed by a local exploration firm, working for a large French oil company.

Eight Rwandan soldiers were arrested for killing civilians and looting their homes during last weekend's military offensive in Gisenyi, the Defense Minister Paul Kagame said. Several human-rights organizations allege the Army has killed thousands of civilians in northwestern Rwanda during efforts in recent months to quell an insurgency by Hutu rebels. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that last year the US may have trained Rwandan soldiers who took part in Zaire's civil war.


"It's a good sign that they're talking."

- A Labor Department spokesman on marathon negotiations to end the two-week-old Teamsters strike against UPS.

Fill your tank? Check the oil? Trim those sideburns? Some Tokyo gas-station owners are coming up with inventive schemes to lure new customers - from drive-through laundry service to noodle shops. The latest is a "hair station," offering drivers the option to primp as they pump. A second-floor beauty salon gives customers low-price haircuts while their autos are serviced.

When a group of Indonesian tribesmen came down from a remote mountain on the island of Sulawesi for the first time in decades, they said they were trying to evade Dutch colonial rulers. What they didn't know was that Indonesia had proclaimed freedom from the Dutch years ago. The tribesmen were just in time to celebrate Indonesia's 52nd anniversary of independence.

Alvin Strickland left his bride minutes after getting married, but not by choice. During the wedding at the courthouse, in Clarkston, Wash., Strickland was recognized as having failed to pay a $67 fine. Wedding guests helped raise the sum after an officer arrested the groom.

The Day's List

A Ranking of 'Best Buys' In US Higher Education

The California Institute of Technology is Money magazine's "best buy" among US colleges and universities. Reason: Among other advantages, it has three students for every teacher. The magazine studied 1,115 four-year colleges, analyzing 16 variables - from libraries to graduation rates. This year's top 10:

1. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

2. Rice University, Houston

3. University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill

4. State University of New York-Binghamton

5. Spelman College, Atlanta

6. New College of the University of South Florida, Tampa

7. College of New Jersey, Trenton

8. Truman State University, Kirksville, Mo.

9. State University of New York-Geneseo

10. University of Florida, Gainesville

- Associated Press

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