News In Brief

The US

President Clinton said there would be no diplomatic or military pullback as a result of terrorist bombings at the Kenya and Tanzania embassies. Those responsible will be tracked down and punished, the president promised. Eleven Americans were reportedly killed by the explosions.

A federal appeals court called for hearings into alleged media leaks by independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the secret grand-jury probe of the Monica Lewinsky case. The appeals court agreed with district Judge Norma Holloway Johnson's finding that there is preliminary evidence of "serious and repetitive ... disclosures to the media" by Starr and his team. The appeals court upheld Johnson's decision, but gave Starr a small victory by saying Clinton's attorneys should not have access to evidence that might indicate the course of Starr's probe.

A House committee voted to cite Attorney General Janet Reno for contempt of Congress. Republicans on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee recom mended to the full House that Reno be held in contempt for resisting a subpoena ordering her to turn over reports recommending she seek an independent counsel to investigate campaign fund-raising. Reno accused the committee of "tampering" with an ongoing investigation. The 24-to-19 vote was along party lines.

Tens of thousands of union workers went on strike against Bell Atlantic in a walkout that could affect telephone service from Maine to Virginia. The company and the Communication Workers of America reportedly failed to reach agreement on job security, access by union members to new jobs at Bell Atlantic's non-union subsidiaries, benefits, and forced overtime. Union officials indicated the strike would only affect operator-assisted calls, directory assistance, installations, and repair work.

The unemployment rate held at 4.5 percent in July - near a 28-year low, the Labor Department said. The robust job market continued to thrive despite a huge temporary drop in factory jobs caused by strikes at General Motors. The seasonally adjusted July unemployment rate, which matched June's, was only slightly higher than the 4.3 percent rate in May and April - the lowest since 1970.

The backlog of applications for US citizenship is so huge an additional $171 million is needed in the budget year starting Oct. 1 to help reduce it, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said. With that increase, the INS hopes to complete 1.5 million applications next year, reducing a backlog of 1.9 million. Immigrants now wait up to two years from the time they submit applications to the day they are sworn in as new citizens.

The commanding officer of a Marine air squadron involved in the deaths of 20 Italian skiers was relieved of his duties and reassigned, the Marine Corps said. The sanction follows a military probe into whether Lt. Col. Richard Muegge and three other officers should be disciplined for dereliction of duty. The squadron's safety director has received a letter of reprimand. Courts-martial are scheduled Dec. 7 and Jan. 4 for the pilot and navigator of the jet that severed cables of a ski lift Feb. 3 in the Italian Alps.

The top court in the United Methodist Church is expected to decide early this week whether the nation's second-largest protestant denomination will punish pastors who perform gay marriages. The Rev. Jimmy Creech, who was accused of disobedience in March for marrying two lesbians in Omaha, Neb., told the Judicial Council in Irving, Texas, that the church's Social Principles - including a prohibition on gay marriages - should be seen as guidelines, not law. Two church bishops told the council that allowing ministers to ignore the principles would erode church authority.

The World

Despite hopeful signs that some of the missing may still be alive, the death toll from the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania grew to 198. Most of the devastation was in the Kenya capital, Nairobi. Eight people were killed by the blast in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In Kenya, President Daniel arap Moi said investigators were pursuing several leads in efforts to determine who was responsible for the coordinated attacks.

Chinese officials evacuated 50,000 people and destroyed dikes along the Yangtze River to protect residents from continued flooding, reportedly affecting some 240 million people this summer. Officials hoped that the dynamiting of some secondary dikes would lower the river by a maximum 10 inches near the city of Wuhan, population 7 million.

The UN announced it would suspend arms inspections of new sites in Iraq. It was retaliating against Baghdad's decision last Wednesday to stop cooperating with inspectors searching for evidence of weapons of mass destruction. A UN official said inspectors would still monitor already-identified sites. The latest development stymies Iraq's bid for the Security Council to overturn sanctions against it. The council requires that weapons inspectors certify that Iraq is free from all proscribed weapons before lifting the sanctions.

Fighting escalated between Congo troops and Tutsi-led rebels after weekend peace talks ended with the prospect of a solution still elusive. The rebels reportedly were fighting President Laurent Kabila's soldiers on several fronts. Both sides were sending reinforcements to a strategic river corridor linking the capital, Kinshasa, to the sea. Kabila met six African heads of state at a Saturday summit that ended with calls for a truce. Since last week's uprising, the rebels have captured three cities near the Rwandan border and several small towns in western Congo.

In a boost to Northern Ireland's delicate peace process, a hard-line Protestant group declared an "absolute, utter" end to its terrorist campaign. The Loyalist Volunteer Force, which has fought to retain British rule in the province, had announced a cease-fire in May, but was accused of breaching it last month. British Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam welcomed the group's statement but said it was still ineligible to participate in a new plan, granting early release to prisoners who belong to guerrilla groups that are now committed to peace.

Afghanistan's hard-line Islamic militia claimed it had seized the last major city outside its control. But the dwindling opposition, pushed back into a northern corner of the country, reportedly regrouped to defend Mazar-e-Sharif against the Taliban militia.

The heaviest rains to hit Seoul, South Korea, in almost 80 years appeared to subside after the four-day deluge killed 165 people and drove some 82,000 others from their homes. Major parts of Seoul remained flooded after receiving more than 39 inches of rain. Millions of people in low-lying areas stayed at home or in shelters after the government warned the Han River could overflow if more rain fell.

Palestinian legislators voted to support Yasser Arafat's controversial new Cabinet, even though two ministers resigned last Thursday to protest the reshuffle. The Palestinian Legislative Council voted 55 to 28 to accept the new Cabinet, which retains ministers accused of corruption and graft.


"When we forgive, we find consolation." - Roman Catholic Archbishop Rafael Ndingi, during Sunday mass at Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi, Kenya.

For Houston workers feeling hot under the collar this summer, help may be on the way. City Councilman Joe Roach has introduced a tongue-in-cheek resolution - the Houston Heat Relief Act - seeking to relax employee dress codes during the muggy season. The resolution, which has not yet come up for a vote, declares employers shall be "publicly humiliated by any means necessary" if they force staff to wear starched shirts, neckties, or pantyhose on summer days.

They've become a seasonal weekend fixture in this New Jersey township. But seemingly innocuous garage sales are nonetheless under fire from the Manville Borough Council. Complaining that the impromptu markets are just too shabby, the council wants to limit homeowners to five a year (after they pay a $5 registration fee). Violators could be charged a $1,000 fine, spend 90 days in jail, and be assigned up to 90 days in community service.

The Day's List

3 Florida Cities Rated Least Safe for Walkers Walking is more hazardous per mile than other forms of transportation - especially in Orlando, Fla., a Surface Transportation Policy Project study indi cates. The Washington, D.C.-based group calculates the relative danger of walking in major cities by comparing pedestrian-accident statistics and adjusting for how many people walk to work. Its 10 most-dangerous urban areas for walkers:

1. Orlando, Fla.

2. Tampa/Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Fla.

3. Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

4. Providence, R.I./ Pawtucket-Fall River, Mass.

5. Phoenix

6. Houston/Galveston/Brazoria, Texas

7. Atlanta

8. Los Angeles/Anaheim/Riverside, Calif.

9. Buffalo/Niagara Falls, N.Y.

10. Charlotte, N.C./Gastonia-Rock Hill, S.C.

- Associated Press

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