News In Brief

The US

Military trumpeters sounded the arrival of Chinese leader Jiang Zemin at the White House for the start of a summit with President Clinton. The leaders were to begin by working on a nuclear pact. Their agenda also included discussions on political, economic, and security issues. An earlier, informal late-night talk was devoted to human rights, Tibet, and Taiwan.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up more than 100 points as the Monitor went to press. On Tuesday the Dow rose 337 points to 7498, its greatest one-day point gain - and the largest percentage gain since Oct. 29, 1987. The turnaround was sparked by IBM's announcement of a $3.5 billion share buyback.

The $145 billion transportation bill was pulled from the Senate floor after Republicans failed to end a filibuster. Democrats were pushing to attach a campaign-finance plan to the measure. Also, the Senate approved a $13.8 billion bill that preserves federal funding for the arts and sets aside record sums for Western lands threatened by logging and mining. And final passage of the $12.8 billion foreign-aid appropriations bill stalled after a dispute over funding for groups that finance abortion.

The House approved legislation to provide the military $268.2 billion for fiscal 1998, $2.6 billion more than Clinton requested. Also, a House Judiciary subcommittee approved a proposed amendment to the Constitution to allow prayer in public schools and the demonstration of religious traditions on public property.

A Republican-oriented consulting firm accepted as much as $1.8 million in anonymous donations from a wealthy family linked to conservative causes, The Wall Street Journal reported. Such contributions are illegal. The money, given by the Cone family of Pennsylvania to Washington-based Triad Management Services in 1995 and 1996, went to two nonprofit groups that spent at least $3 million on advertising that benefited GOP congressional candidates.

By a margin of two votes, a bill to restore the death penalty to Massachusetts passed in the House of Representatives. The emotion-charged move followed a series of recent murders in the state, several of them involving small children. The bill must be reconciled with a Senate version passed earlier this month. Meanwhile, Kenneth Ray Ransom became the 32nd convicted murderer to be put to death in Texas this year. At least seven more executions are scheduled before Dec. 31.

Uzi and Galil assault weapons, modified to skirt a 1994 import ban, were voluntarily withdrawn from shipment to the US for three months, Israel announced. The government-run Israel Military Industries had hoped to sell thousands of the semi-automatic guns to American civilians and said it had had approval from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to market them. But members of Congress, concerned that the guns would "fall into the hands of criminals," have asked foreign exporters to stop their sales.

Meeting in Pittsburgh, officials of 40 states and 22 federal agencies agreed to a new four-digit code to keep their computers from mistaking 2000 for 1900 at the turn of the century. Linked computers will use 2000 instead of 00 for date-identification purposes, preventing countless records from being invalidated.

General Motors and United Auto Workers bargainers came down to the wire in reaching tentative agreement on a new contract for 1,300 workers at a Romulus, Mich., engine plant. Terms were not disclosed, and no date was announced for a ratification vote. A strike could have disrupted production of 4.3-liter V-6 and 5-liter V-8 engines used in compact cars, sport/utility vehicles, and pickup trucks.

The World

Spurred by Wall Street's rally, stock markets around the world posted big gains following heavy losses earlier in the week. Hong Kong's main index rose nearly 19 percent, while markets in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand climbed steadily. Latin American markets also rose. The trend appeared to be holding in Britain, France, and Germany.

Only hours before the summit in Washington between Jiang Zemin and President Clinton, China publicly defended its policy on Tibet - a main source of friction with the US. A statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency said China had "provided a fine environment for the development of Tibetan Buddhism" and that living conditions were improving daily.

Iraq banned US citizens on UN weapons-inspection teams from entering the country. In a statement on Baghdad television, the Revolutionary Command Council also said all Americans working on teams currently inside Iraq had one week to leave. One official said the move comes out of "frustration" with UN sanctions that have been in place since 1990.

In the face of US pressure to begin key discussions on peace with the Palestinians next week, Israel's Cabinet met to try to decide on a unified negotiating position. Foreign Minister David Levy has refused to leave for the talks in Washington without a clear mandate. But hardline coalition partners have threatened to topple Prime Minister Netanyahu's government if he agrees to suspend construction of Jewish settlements or hand back more land to Palestinians - the central issues in the talks.

Swiss banks released a new list of 14,000 dormant accounts from the Holocaust era, in an ongoing attempt to return assets of Nazi victims. Valued at $12.4 million, the new listings bring the total found in unclaimed accounts over the past two years to $54 million - far short of the hundreds of millions of dollars that some Jewish groups say are missing.

South African President Nelson Mandela visited Libya for the second time in less than a week, presenting leader Muammar Qadaffi with South Africa's highest honor for a foreigner. Mandela has called for the lifting of UN sanctions imposed in 1992 because of Qadaffi's refusal to extradite two Libyans wanted for the bombing of a Pan Am jet over Scotland.

Hong Kong's unelected legislature voted to scrap a set of labor rights laws enacted one week before Britain handed the region back to China July 1. The Beijing-appointed lawmakers struck down measures that allowed collective bargaining, guarded against antiunion discrimination, and permitted unions to spend money in political campaigns. Union officials condemned the vote as an attempt to roll back democracy.

Members of Angola's UNITA rebel movement were expected to wake up today to a new set of economic sanctions as punishment for flouting a 1994 peace deal with the government. Implementation of a travel ban and the closure of UNITA's offices in other countries were scheduled to be voted on by the UN Security Council, with passage considered likely.

Despite the resentment of some voters, Belfast resident Mary McAleese appeared likely to be elected today as president of Ireland. McAleese, a law professor, held a wide lead in late opinion polls. Irish Republic and Northern Ireland residents may not vote in each other's elections, but McAleese was eligible for the office because she holds a Republic of Ireland passport. The largely ceremonial post is being vacated by Mary Robinson, the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Let us - the Chinese and Americans - join hands with people around the world and work hard to bring about the new century of peace, stability, and prosperity."

- China's Jiang Zemin, at formal welcoming ceremonies on his arrival at the White House.


Something's rotten in Ithaca, N.Y. - or soon will be. Someone, somehow, spiked a large and obviously heavy pumpkin atop the 173-foot-high bell tower on the Cornell University campus. School officials don't say the prankster was out of his gourd. In fact, they applaud his ingenuity. But they won't put anyone's safety at risk in removing the orange orb. So it's being allowed to biodegrade.

Observing Halloween may not be a scary thought for school officials in Hillsborough, N.J. Still, they've ruled that such celebrations violate their ban on holiday-like events with religious overtones. Halloween - once known as Allhallows Eve - traditionally was the night before the Christian observance of All Saints' Day. So, the town's students may come to school in costume tomorrow, but it will be for "Fall Festival."

Members of a Dubuque, Iowa, volleyball team found another way to serve after being stranded in a Colorado Springs, Colo., hotel by last weekend's blizzard. The 21 Clarke College athletes substituted as cooks, waiters, and the like, for employees who couldn't get to work. In return, they netted a free night's stay.

The Day's List

Another Hot Box-Office Week for 'Last Summer'

"I Know What You Did Last Summer" rolled toward Halloween as Hollywood's top box-office draw. It was the second straight week as No. 1 for the thriller about four teenagers trying to cover up a hit-and-run accident. The top 10 films for the Oct. 24-26 weekend and their gross revenues (in millions of dollars):

1. "I Know What You Did Last Summer" $13.1

2. "Devil''s Advocate" 10.3

3. "Kiss the Girls" 5.2

4. "Seven Years in Tibet" 4.8

5. "Gattaca" 4.4

6. "The Fairy Tale: A True Story" 3.4

7. "In and Out" 2.9

8. "Soul Food" 2.2

9. "A Life Less Ordinary" 2.1

10. "L.A. Confidential" 2.0

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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