News In Brief

The US

Three of President Clinton's Secret Service bodyguards testified in the Whitewater probe after Chief Justice of the US William Rehnquist refused an administration request to extend a lower court order blocking their testimony. Rehnquist left open the possibility the Supreme Court might review the broader legal issue this fall. Other Secret Service officers were expected to testify this month. All have reportedly been instructed by the administration not to answer questions involving national security or conversations they may have overheard between the president and his private lawyers.

The government will buy $250 million worth of surplus wheat and donate it to needy countries to help shore up falling crop prices, Clinton said. The wheat will be donated to Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, North Korea, and Indonesia. Clinton said buying more than 80 million bushels of wheat could boost prices by as much as 13 cents a bushel.

Attorneys for General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union agreed to start arbitration hearings Wednesday on the legality of two strikes that have shut down 26 of GM's 29 North American assembly plants. The hearings are over a GM-filed grievance alleging the strikes at two Flint, Mich., parts factories violate a GM-UAW agreement.

A group of about 88 white supremacists marched through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, amid taunts and jeers from a crowd of about 1,000 onlookers. Police wearing riot helmets arrested 23 people, mostly onlookers charged with minor infractions after crossing police lines along the parade route.

Clinton urged Congress to put major tax-cut proposals on hold for at least a year, to be sure projected tax surpluses come through and an accord is reached to shore up Social Security. Citing new estimates for surpluses, key House Republicans had called for large tax cuts, above amounts lawmakers agreed to in June. The Congressional Budget Office is now forecasting a $520 billion five-year surplus from fiscal 1999 to 2003. The agency's March forecast estimated the five-year tax surplus at $143 billion.

The income threshold for some public housing units would be raised by a measure passed by the House. The Clinton administration said the plan could displace 3 million poor people, but Republicans said allotting a share of public housing to families making up to $40,000 a year would encourage others to find jobs and provide more economically mixed and safer public housing.

The US trade deficit widened in May to a record $15.75 billion, the Commerce Department reported. It was the fourth straight month that the deficit, which occurs when imports outstrip exports, has hit a record high. The April imbalance was $14.27 billion.

Lockheed Martin called off its proposed $8.3 billion acquisition of Northrop Grumman Corp. in the face of government opposition. The announcement was made just hours after the Pentagon said it was unable to work out an accord with Lockheed to modify the deal - and would press on with a lawsuit it filed in March to block the merger because of concerns that it would limit competition.

The Justice Department won more time to find funding for supervising a Teamsters Union election. In Washington, District Judge David Edelstein agreed to extend the deadline to Wednesday at 4 p.m. EDT. Government attorneys told the judge they were working with Congress to resolve a deadlock over funding for supervisory costs of a rerun of the union's 1996 presidential election. Results of the balloting were overturned because of fund-raising abuses.

A bronze statue dedicated to black veterans of the Civil War was unveiled in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of Washington. It honors some 200,000 blacks who fought in the conflict.

The World

Rejecting American and Chinese opposition, 120 countries voted to create an international criminal court to try genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the decision was a "giant step forward" and he hoped the US, which wanted safeguards to allow it to veto the prosecution of American citizens, would change its position.

Khmer Rouge guerrillas ambushed a convoy of election workers in remote northern Cambodia, killing five, government officials said. UN human-rights monitors said they were investigating at least 13 suspected election-related killings. In Phnom Penh, more than 100,000 Cambodians watched festive parades marking the July 26 vote.

In a rare act of open democracy within Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, three prime ministerial candidates sparred in two nationally televised debates. Since last week's election defeat, the party has turned its back on a legacy of back-room deals and is preparing to hold its first open election for the post since 1978. The lower house of parliament will choose by secret ballot Friday among candidates Seiroku Kajiyama, Junichiro Koizumi and Keizo Obuchi.

Risking another showdown with Russia's Communist-led lower house of parliament, President Boris Yeltsin vetoed two new laws that disregarded his austerity program, deemed vital if creditors are to approve new economic aid. Yeltsin overturned laws reducing taxes and introduced new land taxes by decree. The International Monetary Fund board prepared to meet in Washington today to discuss releasing $5.6 billion in new loans.

Pakistan's government announced a 25 percent hike in fuel prices and was expected to implement more belt-tightening measures. The country is suffering from heavy sanctions imposed after its May nuclear tests. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to announce new import restrictions and economy-boosting measures to coincide with tomorrow's visit by US Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, who will try to convince Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Israel and Palestine held their first direct talks in months, though neither side was expecting to immediately strike a deal. Hours before the talks, downtown Jerusalem was shaken by a bombing attempt that was thwarted when two people noticed smoke coming from a van loaded with "dangerous materials," reportedly driven by a Palestinian.

Northern Ireland's Protestant Orangemen vowed to keep protesting for the right to march on the Garvaghy Road through a Catholic section of Portadown, although their numbers have dwindled to a handful since last week's arson attack that killed three boys. Representatives from the Orange Order and Garvaghy Road residents talked for almost 15 hours via third-party negotiators, but failed to produce an accord. A spokesman said some progress was made, and talks were to resume tomorrow.

Rescuers intensified their search for survivors after three tidal waves swept Papua New Guinea's remote northwest coast, destroying four villages. Authorities in Aitape estimated more than 1,000 people were killed and 6,000 others had lost their homes. The tidal waves, some of them 30 feet high, were caused by an offshore earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0.


"Israel puts the name of Hamas on everything." - Mahmoud Zahar, a spokesman for the militant Islamic group, which was blamed for an abortive truck-bomb attack in Jerusalem just as new Israeli-Palestinian talks on the West Bank were to begin.

So eager for the start of football season are people in Maryland that many of them took time out of their schedules last Wednesday and flocked to the brand-new stadium that will be the home of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. Were they lining up to buy tickets? Had the public been invited to an open house? Uh-uh. Just bursting to help, they answered a call to test whether the plumbing system would stand up to maximum use at halftime of games. On cue, 600 fans flushed all the toilets - half on one side of the stadium, then half on the other. Not a single valve or pipe failed.

The people of Ridlington, England, are truly sorry if they've offended anyone. But they assumed their sophisticated new neighbors would have known that sheep, cows, and mud are all part of rural living. We pick up the story as a millionaire luxury-car dealer and his wife attempt to sue a local farmer. It seems the fellow's livestock had an annoying habit of bleating, lowing, and tracking wet dirt on the road outside their get-away-from-it-all retreat - thus disturbing the couple's peace of mind. The case was quickly tossed out of court.

The Day's List

Pickups: New Proof That Vehicle-Buyers Love 'em

The Ford F-Series pickup was the nation's vehicle-sales leader for the first six months of the year. According to automakers' own reports, Ford sold 403,040 of the trucks - up from 383,353 for the same period last year. The 10 top-selling vehicles through the first half of the year, with the number of units sold:

1. Ford F-Series pickup 403,040

2. Chevrolet C/K pickup 298,236

3. Ford Explorer 198,783

4. Dodge Ram pickup 197,332

5. Honda Accord 196,677

6. Ford Taurus 196,101

7. Toyota Camry 189,959

8. Honda Civic 168,465

9. Ford Ranger pickup 166,090

10. Dodge Caravan 165,883

- Reuters

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