News In Brief

The US

President Clinton agreed to provide videotaped testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Under an accord with independent counsel Kenneth Starr, the president will answer questions on videotape Aug. 17 from inside the White House with his lawyers present. The testimony, under oath, will be made available to the grand jury. As a result, a subpoena compelling Clinton to appear before the jury was withdrawn. A CBS News poll found 60 percent of respondents saying the president should testify. However, most disapproved of Lewinsky getting immunity.

General Motors began cranking up dormant auto production after union workers ratified agreements to end two parts-plant strikes in Flint, Mich. The 54- and 47-day strikes at one point idled more than 200,000 GM workers and thousands of others at independent parts suppliers.

The Pentagon said there would be "no lowering of standards" on social contact between the military ranks, on sexual harassment, or in adultery cases. After a year-long review, Defense Secretary William Cohen approved guidelines that will force the Army to bring its looser controls on fraternization in line with other services - and allow commanders to use discretion in pursuing adultery cases.

American wages and benefits rose 3.5 percent during the year that ended in June - the biggest 12-month increase in 4-1/2 years, the Labor Department said. The increase for the year finishing in June 1997 was 2.8 percent. Price inflation has remained extraordinarily tame, running at about a 1.5 percent annual rate this year.

Sales of new homes shot up at a record pace in June, the Commerce Department said. New-home sales climbed 3.8 percent to a record 935,000-unit annual rate, the quickest monthly sales pace since the government began keeping track in 1963.

Funds approved by the Senate may not be enough to respond to a growing farm crisis, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Richard Rominger said. More than the $500 million has been approved by the Senate; the House has yet to act on the issue. Rominger said his department will try to keep Congress informed.

A New York jury decided black activist Rev. Al Sharpton and two others who defamed a former prosecutor by accusing him of rape must pay him $345,000 in damages. The amount decided by the jury in Dutchess County, fell far short of the $395 million sought by the former prosecutor, Steven Pagones. Sharpton - along with lawyers Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason - acted as adviser to Tawana Brawley, a black teenager who in 1987 said she was kidnapped and raped by six white men. A grand jury later exonerated the men, including Pagones.

Jerome Robbins, who died at his home in New York City, was a legendary choreographer of ballet, Broadway musicals, and movies. Robbins was perhaps best known for his work on "West Side Story." He served as associate artistic director of the New York City Ballet with George Balanchine until the latter's passing in 1983, when he and Peter Martins became co-ballet masters-in-chief.

The World

A major Serb offensive against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo was reportedly over, with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic pledging he would "continue to curb" the violence. Wrapping up a tour of the area, European Union envoys said the week-long offensive had turned villages into depopulated "depressing wastelands." But they said Milosevic seemed flexible on conditions for granting autonomy to ethnic Albanians and the two sides might begin talks "in a matter of weeks."

Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi accused the Burmese government of kidnapping her to stop her roadside protest. A spokesman said the government was forced to return Suu Kyi home after receiving medical advice about her weakening health. Suu Kyi spent six days in her car after the government stopped her from driving to a meeting of her opposition party.

Preparing for a politically tense autumn, Russian President Boris Yeltsin fired his veteran economic adviser, Yevgeny Yasin, and signalled there could be further government changes as he tried to convince the international community he was serious about tackling the country's economic crisis. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko met foreign investors to brief them on the government's austerity measures, a condition made by lenders who have pledged $22.6 billion in loans.

Keizo Obuchi formally took the helm as Japan's new prime minister amid the country's worst recession since World War II, divisions within his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and an increasingly popular opposition.

Russia failed to get the Security Council to scale back Iraq nuclear inspections after strong opposition from the US, which said such a move would unjustly reward the country for noncompliance with UN resolutions. Diplomats said Russia was testing the waters for a showdown in October, when all UN sanctions against Baghdad are scheduled to be reviewed.

Ignoring US calls to isolate Cuba, Caribbean nations prepared to host Fidel Castro during his six-day tour of Jamaica, Barbados, and Grenada. The Cuban president was welcomed by cheering crowds in Jamaica, his first stop, where Prime Minister P.J. Patterson denounced the US blockade of Cuba as "morally wrong" at a rally in Montego Bay.

Amid fresh signs that Angola could return to civil war, the UN said it had uncovered graves of 105 people killed during a July 22 attack blamed on the former rebel group, UNITA. Diplomats said UNITA and the government were recruiting en masse to strengthen their military forces after peace talks collapsed two months ago. The UN is policing Angola's 1994 peace accord, which ended a 20-year civil war.


" Although wages are going up, this is not high enough [that] it's going to crush the low inflation we've been enjoying." - Senior Fannie Mae economist Robert Barr, on the US job market after news of rapidly rising pay and benefits.

Identical twins - and eligible bachelors - Isamel and Ali Mohammed didn't want to travel the conventional path of courting, winning a woman's affections, and then tying the knot. So the brothers asked mom and dad to find them twin sisters to marry. A daunting challenge in Nazareth, Ethiopia, where eligible female twins are rare, but the elder Mohammeds came through. In fact, once the wedding day rolled around, the grooms couldn't tell their brides apart, and vice versa. Solution: Cast lots.

When it comes to taste in art, you can call Nancy Dingfelder's pretty cheesy. But it was enough to win a cash prize and a trip for two to Hawaii. The Corry, Pa., resident used measures of Swiss, provolone, cheddar, cottage, and other varieties to make a picture of a cow jumping over the moon for the American Dairy Association's "Say Cheese ... as Edible Art" contest. Her entry topped 149 others. "Really creative - like a Picasso," a contest official gushed. Tasty, too. After the judging, Nancy baked the ingredients into two meals for her family.

The Day's List

Cell Phone Capital of US: Survey Says It's Detroit

Washington is the nation's capital, New York its financial capital, and Los Angeles the entertainment capital. But none of them rates as high as the Motor City when it comes to the percentage of adults who own cellular telephones, according to results of a new survey by Scarborough Research, a division of the Arbitron rating service. In fact, of 60 markets surveyed, Los Angeles ranked 38th and New York 41st. The top 10 and the percentage of adults living in households that have at least one cell phone:

1. Detroit 48.0%

2. Greensboro , N.C. 47.7

3. Atlanta 47.4

4. Charlotte, N.C. 45.6

5. Chicago 45.3

6. Birmingham, Ala. 44.9

7. Washington 44.5

8. Raleigh, N.C. 43.5

9. Greenville, S.C. 43.4

10. Sacramento, Calif. 43.0

- Business Wire

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