News In Brief
A federal judge dismissed a tax-evasion case against President Clinton's friend Webster Hubbell and said special prosecutor Kenneth Starr had ignored Hubbell's constitutional protection against self-incrimination. James Robertson also faulted Starr for failing to get permission from the attorney general to expand his probe and for producing an indictment that had "nothing in common" with his original mandate to investigate Whitewater land deals in Arkansas. Starr promised an appeal.
Dozens of houses and businesses were destroyed in eastern Florida, where some 35,000 people fled their homes. Mark Francesconi, fire chief of Brevard County, which includes Cape Canaveral, said firefighters did not have enough equipment and help to keep blazes away from dwellings. In his county, about 50 homes were reported destroyed along with many businesses. In Volusia County, which includes Daytona Beach, the early count was at least 10 homes and as many as 20 business. Since Memorial Day, fires in Florida have burned more than 250,000 acres.
A military judge has recommended a court-martial for the pilot and navigator of a Marine jet involved in a Feb. 3 accident that killed 20 people at an Italian ski resort, officials said. Lt. Gen. Peter Pace, commander of Marine Corps Forces Atlantic, is expected to decide later this month whether a court-martial will be held.
A US appeals court granted Timothy McVeigh another emergency injunction barring federal prosecutors from turning over evidence to state authorities probing the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. The latest stay came after an appeals court lifted a temporary order banning US prosecutors from turning over their files. Defense lawyers said federal information should not be released to the state until their appeals of a federal trial are exhausted.
The unemployment rate rose to a three-month high in June, the Labor Department report-ed. As Asia's economic woes and a General Motors strike slowed job growth, the unemployment rate climbed to 4.5 percent last month, down from 4.3 percent in May.
The Pentagon confirmed an Iraqi report that a US missile fired by an F-16 fighter jet Tuesday failed to hit its target, an Iraqi antiaircraft site. It was the first time since November 1996 that a US missile had been fired at an Iraqi air-defense site in response to alleged radar tracking.
Amtrak said it could wean itself from public funding by 2002, but only if Congress follows through on funding commitments for the next four years. Amtrak acting president and chief executive officer George Warrington outlined the national passenger railroad's business plan amid reports that the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee may not provide any funds for Amtrak in a new spending bill.
Plans to add a sculpture of Franklin D. Roosevelt in a wheelchair at the entrance to his popular Washington memorial were to be announced by Vice President Gore. Roosevelt's paralysis was often concealed when he was president, and the memorial's lack of emphasis on his disability drew protests from activists for the disabled when it opened in May 1997.
Cincinnati-based Star Banc announced plans to buy Firstar of Milwaukee in a stock deal worth about $7.2 billion. The combined companies would have $38 billion in assets and outlets in 10 states, mostly in the Midwest. Star Banc is taking Firstar's name and its headquarters in Milwaukee.
Serious crime in New York City has fallen to its lowest rate in more than three decades, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani reported. He said the city had 286 murders in the first half of this year, the fewest since 1966, when there were 275 murders over the same time period. The murder rate peaked in 1991 when there were 1,081 killings in the city.
Suspicion fell on the outlawed pro-British Loyalist Volunteer Force for coordinated arson attacks on 10 Catholic churches and two homes in Northern Ireland. The windows of a third home were smashed. Three of the churches were destroyed. The attacks came only hours after the province's new self-governing National Assembly met for the first time to elect its leaders. Police said they were linked to a ruling banning the Protestant Orange Order from marching through a hostile Catholic neighborhood of Portadown Sunday.
A major new plan to rescue Japan's troubled banks while protecting financially sound creditors was announced in Tokyo - subject to parliament's approval. It calls for temporary public administration of failed banks as they are dissolved, with their viable loan portfolios to be taken over by so-called "bridge banks" protected by the the national Deposit Insurance Corp. Failing banks are carrying $535 billion in bad loans.
Saying the US would do "whatever we can," President Clinton pledged to help Asian countries climb out of their economic malaise. As he arrived in Hong Kong, the final stop on his tour of China, human rights groups said the Beijing government had freed the last of the dissidents arrested before or during his visit.
Ethnic Albanian political leaders sought to find common ground with separatist rebels in Kosovo as the latter tried to rally enough strength to retake a strategic coal mine near the capital, Pristina, from Serb troops. The politicians scheduled a new meeting Sunday to try to meld their nonviolent independence campaign with the militant Kosovo Liberation Army. Meanwhile, the UN estimated at least 76,000 people now have fled the Kosovo fighting.
New indications that all of Nigeria's political prisoners were about to be released came from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Winding up a visit to Abuja, the capital, he said, "the stage is set." The release was expected to include leading opposition figure Moshood Abiola, who, Annan said, had relinquished his claim to the presidency and would cooperate with the military junta in preparing for a peaceful transition to democracy.
The government of Switzerland warned of diplomatic consequences and a free-trade dispute if American states and cities went ahead with plans to boycott Swiss banks. Several banks announced they were considering whether to revoke a blanket offer of $600 million to settle the claims of Holocaust victims or their survivors, whose assets may still be on deposit. Some banks also said they might sue American parties to a boycott. The leaders in the boycott movement are California, New York State, the City of New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Russia's massive economic problems have made it necessary to retire the troubled Mir space station next June - six months earlier than expected - the government announced. The US space agency, NASA, welcomed the decision, saying it would allow Moscow to focus on the new international space station, already a year behind schedule. The first module of the new station is to be launch-ed in November.
Police in Budapest, Hungary, offered a large cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who blew up a car at noon on a busy downtown street. It killed at least three people and injured 24 others, officials said. The blast went off outside a crowded McDonald's restaurant, shattering windows in buildings 100 yards away.
As with other armed conflicts, this one started small. But then there was an escalation, then another. Finally, however, reason prevailed, and the parties have agreed to stop fighting and give up their weapons. A struggle for independence in the Balkans? A border dispute in Africa? No. This one was on the streets of Huntington Beach, Calif. It seems the clowns who participate in the annual Fourth of July parade and spectators were squirting each other with water guns - until the latter decided to add garden hoses and Silly String to their arsenal. So, in the spirit of the day, tomorrow's edition will be a true peace march.
Watertown, S.D., police responded to a reported "two-car collision" in a caf parking lot. At the scene, however, it was clear that only one operator was at fault - accidentally nudging the gear shift into neutral, which sent the vehicle rolling into the other. There were witnesses, and the occupant neither had a driver's license nor answered questions, but the cops did not issue a ticket. Why? The guilty party was a large dog, left behind while its owner was dining inside.
The Day's List
Kids Rate Their Favorite Amusement-Park Rides
Planning to take the family to an amusement park this summer? Generally speaking, the scarier the ride at such parks, the more popular it is with sub-teens, according to the July/August issue of Zillions magazine from Consumer Reports. Its survey found the ride that registered highest on the fun meter was the 360-degree roller coaster. The most- and least-popular rides, and the percentage of respondents who rated each "awesome" or at least "very good":
Upside-down roller coaster 94
Free-fall ride 90
Virtual-reality ride 85
Water flume 85
Spinner (floor falls out) 83
Spinner (tips on side) 82
Regular roller coaster 80
Cable car 45
Ferris wheel 40
- Business Wire