News In Brief

The US

Opinion polls indicated TV broadcasts of President Clinton's grand-jury testimony may be far less damaging to him than generally expected. A Gallup poll for CNN and USA Today showed 66 percent of respondents approving the job Clinton is doing, six points higher than Sunday, the day before the broadcasts. The approval figure the previous Sunday had been 64 percent. About the same percentage rejected impeachment, although 39 percent said Clinton should resign. An ABC poll showed those approving his job performance holding steady at about 60 percent.

Clinton called for a international campaign against terrorism in an address at the opening of the 53rd session of the UN General Assembly. Urging no support, sanctuary, or financial assistance to terrorists, he said nations should sign an antiterrorism convention, raise international standards for airport security, and pass stronger laws against terrorism. Delegates gave the president a rare standing ovation as he was introduced.

Sen. Jesse Helms said he was sending Clinton legislation to clear up US debts to the UN. Clinton has said he will veto the measure - which the Foreign Relations Committee chairman has held up for five months - because it would prevent groups that accept government subsidies from using tax dollars to lobby foreign governments to ease their abortion laws. The measure would provide $819 million to clear US arrearages to the world body and would forgive an additional $107 million the UN owes the US.

Hurricane Georges slammed into Puerto Rico and the northeast Caribbean with 110-m.p.h. winds - spawning tornados and killing at least four people. More than 70 percent of Puerto Ricans were reportedly without electricity and water. Clinton declared the island and the US Virgin Islands disaster areas eligible for immediate aid. Hurricane warnings were posted for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Concern grew even in Florida, where workers shuttered windows at Key West City Hall.

The former personal secretary of Muslim extremist Osama bin Laden was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on charges that he lied about his ties to bin Laden's terrorist group. Wadih el-Hage was arrested last week by FBI agents investigating bin Laden, the Saudi exile wanted for allegedly coordinating bombings of US embassies in East Africa. The Aug. 7 attacks killed 258 people, wounding thousands.

The administration will request this week $1.8 billion in emergency funds primarily to rebuild the embassies destroyed last month and to beef up security at US facilities around the world, officials said. About $1.4 billion would be used to rebuild the Kenya and Tanzania embassies and strengthen other posts. Much of the rest would provide aid to Kenya and Tanzania to help families of those killed in the bombings and help pay medical expenses of those injured.

The US will contribute 300,000 more metric tons of wheat to North Korea this year the State Department said. The grain will be part of an initiative announced July 18 to buy 2.5 million metric tons of US wheat for donation overseas.

Hundreds of farmers and ranchers staged a four-hour blockade to keep trucks carrying Canadian farm products from crossing the border at Sweetgrass, Mont. They were protesting trade policies that have allowed Canadian wheat exports to the US to rise over the past several years from about 55 million bushels to more than 73 million bushels a year. Other protesters rallied at Canadian ports of entry in North Dakota.

Track star Florence Griffith Joyner, who died at her home in Mission Viejo, Calif., was a triple gold-medal winner at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. She holds world records in 100- and 200-meter events. One of her Olympic gold medals came in the 400-meter relay.

The World

There were conflicting reports about the effectiveness of a heavy new offensive by Serb forces against ethnic Albanian villages in Kosovo. A Serb commander said it would take no more than three days to clear the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army from the Drenica region, but other Serb sources said the rebels were putting up "tough" resistance. The fighting began as the UN General Assembly in New York prepared to take up the Kosovo problem.

For the first time since last July's disputed national elections, Cambodia's rival party leaders met to discuss a formula for resolution. Premier Hun Sen and opposition chiefs Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy agreed to further talks on forming a coalition government after parliament convenes tomorrow. Their meeting followed weeks of protests against the election, which the opposition claims was rigged. But as the talks were taking place, an attempted peace march by Buddhist monks in Phnom Penh was broken up by police.

Saying, "Don't panic" the chief of the European Union's central bank ruled out any globally coordinated cut in interest rates as a way of resolving financial turmoil. Wim Duisenberg told the European Parliament that key EU members such as France and Germany already had "significantly lower" interest rates than the US, although others needed to cut theirs before the single European currency takes effect Jan. 4. Talk of coordinated interest-rate cuts gained momentum after last week's statement by senior Group of Seven officials that they favored new measures to sustain economic growth.

Malaysia's capital was calm for the first time this week, although police ordered supporters away from ex-Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim's house. His wife, Wan Azizah, kept up pressure for her husband's release from jail by refusing to stop granting interviews to reporters. But she heeded police warning to cease making speeches to his backers.

Heavily armed troops from South Africa poured across the border at Lesotho's invitation to crush what officials in the small land-locked kingdom called an Army mutiny. At least three South Africans died in fighting with the dissidents, the first combat since President Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994. The dissidents were backing a campaign to overturn last May's parliamentary elections, in which the opposition won only one of 80 seats.

A standoff outside the US Embassy in Liberia was shaping up as diplomats acknowledged they were sheltering former rebel chief Roosevelt Johnson and cautioned the government not to permit a planned street demonstration today demanding that he be turned over. Johnson sought refuge there after Army troops attacked his residence last Friday.

Former President Suharto pledged to return any of his massive wealth to Indonesian government coffers that investigators can prove is stashed in foreign banks. But as he was questioned for the first time about allegations of corruption during his 32-year rule, Suharto repeated denials that even "one cent" of his family's estimated $40 billion fortune was deposited overseas and threatened to sue anyone making that accusation publicly.

Closed-door arguments began in Iran's parliament over the deaths of eight diplomats and a journalist last month in neighboring Afghanistan by troops of the ruling Taliban movement. As the lawmakers assembled in Tehran, the capital, the government underscored its readiness for retaliation by sounding air-raid sirens. Iran has massed 270,000 troops on the Afghan border. In response, the Taliban has deployed missiles that a spokesman said would be "used well" if Iran attacked.


" I have become a dictator." - Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's longtime prime minister, in a barbed comment to reporters on how internal political turmoil has affected his country's image.

The teller at a Marine Midland branch bank in Rochester, N.Y., looked up and smiled as the next customer approached. But the smile lasted only until the customer showed a note on which was written: "Give me the money. I have a gun." He hurried away with more than $1,250, but was soon caught because of one little slip-up. In haste, he'd left his note behind - on the reverse side of which was a document instructing him when to show up for a court appearance on another charge.

Every thief violates the Eighth Commandment - thou shalt not steal - in one fashion or another. But that was especially true of a car break-in last week in Anderson, S.C. The vehicle, parked in a hotel lot near Anderson College, belonged to professional actor Bill Oberst and held hand-made costumes, theatrical makeup, and a variety of props valued at $2,200. Oberst makes his living using Scripture to teach religion in a "relaxed" way ... portraying Jesus.

The Day's List

By Historical Standards, Bill Gates Isn't So Rich

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates ranks No. 5 in a list of the 40 richest Americans of all time published recently by American Heritage magazine. It used a formula that measures a person's wealth by how much of the US economy it represents to arrive at the conclusion that oil baron John D. Rockefeller's fortune would be the equivalent today of $189.6 billion. That's more than three times Mr. Gates's wealth, which the magazine records as $61.7 billion. The 10 at the top of the list and the wealth of each in terms of today's economy (in billions):

1. John D. Rockefeller $189.6

2. Andrew Carnegie $100.5

3. Cornelius Vanderbilt $95.9

4. John Jacob Astor $78.0

5. William Gates III $61.7

6. Stephen Girard $55.6

7. A.T. Stewart $46.9

8. Frederick Weyerhaeuser $43.2

9. Jay Gould $42.1

10. Marshall Field $40.7

- Associated Press

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