News In Brief

The US

The possible impeachment or resignation of President Clinton drew comment from a wide spectrum of politicians and commentators. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said only "a pattern of felonies" not "a single human mistake" could constitute grounds for an impeachment inquiry. Sen. Arlen Specter (R) of Pennsylvania said Democrats, not Republicans, should be the ones to persuade Clinton to resign, if necessary. Rep. Paul McHale of Pennsylvania, the lone Democrat in Congress to call for the president's resignation, repeated his suggestion. George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton confidant who has been fiercely critical of him in recent months, said in Newsweek magazine: "For the president to resign now would be wrong."

The US has agreed to allow two Libyans charged in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland to be tried by a Scottish court in the Netherlands, a senior official said. The US-British plan calls for Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah to be tried by a panel of judges under Scottish law in The Hague. The official said it was unclear whether Libya would agree. Libya has said the men would not receive a fair trial in the US or Britain. The Pan Am bombing killed all 259 passengers and crew, plus 11 people on the ground. Among the dead were 189 Americans, and some of their relatives spoke out against a trial in the Netherlands.

Clinton's planned trip to Russia next week will go ahead as scheduled despite President Boris Yeltsin's decision to sack his entire government, a White House spokesman said. The US will press Russia at the two-day summit, which begins Sept. 1, to implement economic reforms that Washinton considers crucial, he added.

Defense Secretary William Cohen said North Korea was not in violation of an agreement to freeze its nuclear-weapons development despite reports that Pyongyang is building a nuclear complex. Cohen told NBC's "Meet the Press" the US was concerned about the complex, but felt North Korea was not yet violating a four-year-old accord to halt its nuclear-weapons program. US and North Korean officials met at the UN on Friday to talk about reports of construction at a vast site northeast of Yongbyon. More talks were expected yesterday.

The fourth-quarter job outlook for US workers is the best in 21 years, Manpower Inc. reported. A recent survey by the world's largest staffing-services company indicated 29 percent of more than 15,000 firms expect to add to their work forces in the coming three months. Seven percent intend to reduce hiring, and 60 percent plan to maintain current levels.

A woman was arrested near Los Angeles for investigation of attempted murder after she was found at a post office with more than 100 envelopes containing bags of deadly sodium cyanide disguised as nutritional supplements. Kathryn Schoonover was arrested in Marina del Rey, about 10 miles southwest of Los Angeles. The envelopes were addressed to people across southern California and as far away as New York.

More than 6,000 workers walked off their jobs at a Connecticut phone company that serves nearly all of the state's 3 million residents. The strike at Southern New England Telecommunications Corp. was said to be over wage issues. Meanwhile a 13-state strike against U S West entered its second week with no settlement in sight.

Hurricane Bonnie was seen threatening the East Coast as early as midweek, although there were signs the storm might be weakening. Rip tides and heavy surf driven by the storm churned the Atlantic from Florida to New Jersey, killing at least two swimmers - one in Delaware, the other in South Carolina.

The World

Concerns grew that Russian President Boris Yeltsin's surprise dismissal of his government could lead to prolonged political unrest. In a gesture of defiance, opposition leaders said they would not convene parliament this week to approve Yeltsin's reappointment of his former prime minister, indicating they would wait until next Monday. Acting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said he would not name his new government until the parliament confirmed his appointment.

Israel eased a curfew of the troubled West Bank city of Hebron, which authorities sealed off after the killing of a Jewish rabbi-settler last Thursday. The Israeli Army, which has been stopping Palestinians from entering or leaving Hebron, began allowing people to return to work in Israel. But Jewish settlers, Palestinians, and Israeli soldiers clashed when a night-time curfew was lifted for two hours.

Alleged terrorist-financier Osama bin Laden was more than 300 miles from the Afghanistan paramilitary camps struck by US cruise missiles last Thursday, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Taliban militia said. The Taliban also announced it had restricted bin Laden's movements for "security" reasons, but analysts believed relations were cooling between the Islamic militant living in Afghanistan and the Taliban. An Afghan newspaper said bin Laden had agreed to Taliban demands that he stop issuing threatening statements against the US.

Pakistan will complain to the UN Security Council that the US violated its airspace during the cruise-missile attack against Afghanistan, the nation's foreign ministry said. Local officials reported finding an unexploded missile in a remote part of Pakistan four days after the attacks. No damage nor injuries were reported.

Angolan troops poured into the Democratic Republic of the Congo to block an advance by rebel forces into the country's capital, Kinshasa. A rebel commander said a cease-fire would not occur until Angola and Zimbabwe withdrew from the country. Southern African leaders called for an immediate cease-fire during a weekend summit to discuss the civil war.

Delivering another blow to Angola's delayed peace process, the former rebel group UNITA said it would stop cooperating with US, Russian, and Portuguese observers monitoring a 1994 accord that ended the country's civil war. UNITA's secretary-general said his group would still attend peace talks but had cut off contact with the foreign observers, accusing them of siding with the government. Last month, the US imposed economic sanctions against UNITA to force it to adhere to the peace accord, already a year behind schedule.

In a move designed to show the world he is serious about democratic reforms, Nigeria's military ruler dissolved his Cabinet, swore in 31 new ministers, and disbanded his oil ministry, allegedly linked to wide-scale corruption and mismanagement. Nigerian sources in the commercial center of Lagos welcomed the changes as a sign that Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar intended to honor his pledge to restore the country to civilian rule next May.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ended a 13-day protest against the military government's restrictions on her movements, a member of her National League for Democracy party said. Earlier, the NLD had called on the Nobel peace laureate to stop her nonviolent protest at a government road blockade because of her deteriorating health.


"Today we need the kind of people one would call heavyweights." - Russian President Yeltsin, explaining his decision to recall Viktor Chernomyrdin as prime minister after sacking him five months ago.

At the 1998 World Bridge Championships, which opened Friday in Lille, France, it wasn't clear whether the early leader cooled off or melted down. With 34 of the best players pitted for the first time against state-of-the-art computer software, artificial intelligence set the early pace with 1,400 points the first day. But on Saturday, the computer struggled to score a mere 200 points and finished far back in the pack, in 12th place. Michael Rosenberg of the US won the gold medal in the two-day competition.

We're not sure of the reason, but romantic couples seem to be choosing some bizarre ways to tie the knot. Recently in this space, we've described unique nuptials in Jordan and Ethiopia. Now, from Panama City Beach, Fla., comes news of Tommy and Linda Maxwell celebrating a 25th anniversary by renewing their vows deep under water eight miles off the coast. The entire wedding party, including the minister, wore tanks and respirators. The group could communicate adequately through the gear, but for Tommy and Linda to seal the ceremony with a kiss - gasp! - the respirators had to come off, at least momentarily.

The Day's List

Berkeley Ranked No. 1 Public University in US

Harvard, Princeton, and Yale universities share the No. 1 spot in US News & World Report's annual overall ranking of leading US universities, using such criteria as reputation among academics; faculty pay, class size, student-faculty ratio, and financial resources. The magazine also published a separate ranking of US public universities with the following at the top of the list:

1. California (Berkeley)

2. Virginia

3. North Carolina (Chapel Hill)

4. California (Los Angeles)

4. Michigan (Ann Arbor)

6. California (San Diego)

7. College of William and Mary

8. California (Irvine)

8. Wisconsin (Madison)

- Associated Press

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