News In Brief

Ellis Island is mostly in New Jersey, the Supreme Court ruled. In a 6-to-3 decision, the justices said New York can lay claim to only about five acres - including the main historic building - on the 27.5-acre island where waves of would-be immigrants were processed from 1892 to 1954. In addition, the court turned away, without comment, arguments by antiabortion protesters from North Carolina that the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act discriminates against abortion opponents and that Congress overstepped its authority to regulate interstate commerce when it passed the measure.

Consumer confidence fell slightly in May, but remained strong. The Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence fell to 135.2 from a revised 137.2 in April. Even with the decline, the index was near the 29-year high of 137.4 recorded in February.

The US will soon announce retaliatory measures to protest a European Union barley shipment on its way to California, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said. Farmers and lawmakers had bitterly criticized the subsidized 30,000-metric-ton shipment of Finnish grain, saying it depressed already-low grain prices and may signal EU plans to dump more heavily subsidized farm commodities in the US.

Police shut down San Francisco's main medical marijuana club, enforcing a court order to close the operation for violating state drug laws. A superior court judge said last week the San Francisco Cannabis Healing Center did not fit provisions in a 1996 state law which specified only patients and "primary caregivers" could legally possess marijuana for medical use.

Monica Lewinsky's former White House boss testified before the Whitewater grand jury in Washington. John Hilley, head of the White House Office of Congressional Liaison while Lewinsky worked as an intern there, was the first witness of the week in the closed-door proceedings.

Fourteen members of the Montana Freemen were to go on trial in Billings. They are charged with more than 40 crimes - including conspiracy, bank fraud, threatening a federal judge, and armed robbery in connection with an attempt to establish their own governments and courts. They were brought to justice after an 81-day standoff with the FBI nearly two years ago. Five Freemen have already been convicted.

Michael Fortier is to be sentenced today in Oklahoma City for doing nothing to stop the bombing in 1965 of the city's federal building, which cost 168 lives. Fortier has pleaded guilty to transporting and selling stolen weapons to finance the bomb plot. He is expected to win some leniency because he provided evidence for the convictions of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

A leading anti-Nazi group said a new report on how Switzerland ignored the origins of Nazi gold falls short because it looks only at assets of the victims, not at the victimizers. An official of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles urged an investigation of what happened to assets of Nazis that came to the Swiss banks. The new Swiss report is the first government-sanctioned study to conclude that Swiss officials were clearly aware they were buying stolen gold.

Florida officials said continuing heat and drought had left the state very vulnerable to forest fires. Firefighters said at least 10,000 acres had already been scorched - more than 1,000 of them in or near the Apalachicola National Forest. Teams brought in from neighboring Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas to help battle some of the blazes were asked to remain for forest fires expected in coming weeks.

The World

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble was in a fight for control of his own party in Northern Ireland as members opened the selection process for candidates to serve on the 108-seat power-sharing assembly that will govern the province with Catholics. His party, the largest Protestant group in Northern Ireland, is deeply split over sharing power. Analysts said Trimble was trying to keep his followers from voting for candidates who oppose the historic peace accord, which was approved by a majority of voters in last week's referendum.

New violence broke out in Arab-occupied eastern Jerusalem as Palestinian protesters attacked a cluster of tin shacks erected by Jewish settlers. At least one man was hurt as police intervened. The shacks, reportedly a forerunner of permanent housing, were a response to the stabbing death of a seminary student in the neighborhood. Israeli authorities won a court order forcing the building of shacks to stop.

Pressure from Japanese mutual-fund managers to improve returns on their investments helped propel the US dollar to its highest close against the yen in seven years. A dollar bought 137.68 yen on the Tokyo exchange - the most since August 1991. Analysts said traders - impatient with all-time-low yields in Japan's bond markets - were seeking to tap into red-hot US stocks.

Thailand sought an easing of repayment terms on its massive bailout from the International Monetary Fund. An official government statement admitted that exports, which were expected to drive economic recovery, would fail by almost 5 percent to meet projected targets for 1998. Unemployment is expected to rise by more than 60 percent over 1997 levels.

Villagers in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir are to be armed by the government in a self-defense strategy against surprise raids by troops of rival India, officials said. "About 150" villages have been selected to fill a gap that Pakistani troops are unable to cover along the 450-mile dividing line, they said. Tensions between the two sides have increased since India conducted underground nuclear tests earlier this month.

Suspected Islamic guerrilla cells across Europe were raided by police as a precaution before the World Cup soccer tournament, which opens June 10 in France. Police worried that Algerian fundamentalists could take advantage of global TV coverage to stage a terrorist attack. At least 77 suspects were arrested in the raids in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Belgium.

Opposition candidate Joseph Estrada was called "president-elect" for the first time by the man he likely will succeed. Estrada and challenger Jos de Valencia met with outgoing head of state Fidel Ramos, agreed to put aside political animosities, and discussed a working coalition between their parties in Congress. Ramos backed de Valencia in the May 11 national election, but Estrada appears headed to victory by more than 5 million votes.

In a surprise move, the military junta in Burma granted permission for Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi to hold the annual meeting of her National League for Democracy in Rangoon. The meeting is timed to coincide with the anniversary of her party's victory in 1990 elections, which the Army quickly annulled. The junta earlier had said Suu Kyi's group was "informed of the need to maintain the prevailing peace." It denied that 16 people had been arrested to keep them from attending.

Many cash-strapped Eastern European and former Soviet-bloc countries are doing a worse job of preparing young people for the future than they did under communism, a UN study said. It cited such factors as the shift to free-market economics; civil wars in Bosnia, Croatia, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia; rising costs that cause children of poor families to quit school; and dramatic cuts in education spending in Bulgaria, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.


"Today's numbers tell us that the economy is growing, but it isn't moving forward too fast."

- Anthony Chan, vice president of Banc One Investment Advisors in Columbus, Ohio, on new consumer-confidence and home-resale reports that showed some cooling of the economy.

Being a civic-minded kinda guy, it was only natural that John Timoney would try to help a purse-snatching victim on the streets of Philadelphia. Timoney, who was taking an after-work jog, raced after the culprit, caught him with the goods, and held him until subordinates arrived to apply handcuffs. Subordinates? Well, yes. Since Timoney is police commissioner, that would make him their boss.

Earlier this spring, former US Olympic swimmer Rowdy Gaines spoke to students at a Birmingham, Ala., school and passed around one of the three gold medals he won in the 1984 Summer Games for them to look at. It wasn't returned. He offered a $500 reward, no questions ask-ed. But no response - until last week, as he was opening his mail in suburban Hoover. One envelope held the medal - but no note of explanation and, significantly, no return address. "My trust in humanity," he said, "went up a notch."

The Day's List

An Expert's Ranking Of Best US Beaches

Kailua Beach Park on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is No. 1 on an annual list of top US strands composed by Prof. Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University. He uses 50 criteria to rank beaches, including wave size, water color, and amenities. His 1998 top 15:

1. Kailua Beach Park, Hawaii

2. Kaunaoa, Hawaii

3. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Fla.

4. Wailea, Hawaii

5. Caladesi Island State Park, Fla.

6. Hamoa, Hawaii

7. Cape Florida State Recreation Area

8. Hanalei Beach, Hawaii

9. Fort Desoto Park, Fla.

10. St. George Island State Park, Fla.

11. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Recreation Area, Fla.

12. Ocracoke Island, N.C.

13. East Hampton Beach, N.Y.

14. Westhampton Beach, N.Y.

15. Perdido Key, Fla.

- Associated Press

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