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The US

The Senate approved an overhaul of bankruptcy laws, that would made it harder for people to shed their debts. The bill, which passed 97 to 1, is designed to curb mounting petitions for personal bankruptcy and help creditors recoup some of their losses. President Clinton, who supports the Senate bill, has threatened to veto a House measure that would impose a financial-means test to determine a person's need for bankruptcy relief.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan ignited a rally on Wall Street by signaling that he and his fellow policymakers may cut short-term interest rates when they meet Tuesday. He refused to say explicitly that the Fed would cut rates for the first time in more than 2-1/2 years, but he assured the Senate Budget Committee that the Fed does not "underestimate the severity of the problems with which we are dealing."

The multibillion-dollar bailout of a Connecticut-based hedge fund raised concern on Wall Street that a credit crunch may be ahead for US investment funds experiencing losses due to global market turmoil. Fifteen firms agreed to take an equity stake in Long-Term Capital Management by committing a total of $3.75 billion to the fund for three years. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York was actively involved in the negotiations. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said the near failure of the prominent fund did not pose a systemic danger to the economy.

The economic slowdown during the second quarter was less abrupt than thought, the Commerce Department said. Gross domestic product expanded at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the three months from April through June - still the slowest quarterly growth in three years, but up from an earlier estimate of 1.6 percent.

For the third year in a row, household income rose and poverty rates fell in 1997, lifting the US to prerecession 1989 levels, the Census Bureau reported. It said 13.3 percent of Americans lived in poverty last year, down from 13.7 percent in 1996 - a decline led by blacks and Hispanics.

A proposal that would provide more skilled immigrants for high-tech industries emerged from talks between White House and congressional negotiators. The accord would set aside 142,500 new visas over the next three years for foreign computer programmers, engineers, and other specialists.

House and Senate negotiators approved a $250.5 billion defense-spending plan, despite calls from Clinton and some GOP lawmakers for more funding. Outlays that would be $2.8 billion above current levels were approved. Nonetheless, funding was said to be below the amount needed to keep up with inflation. The $2.8 billion figure is $485 million below a White House request.

Hurricane Georges was expected to hit the Florida Keys overnight. More than a half-million people as far north as Fort Lauderdale were advised to evacuate mobile homes and low-lying areas. After pounding Cuba with torrential rains, the storm was expected to hug the coast of the island, strengthen over warm waters of the Florida Straits, and hit Florida with maximum winds of 85 to 90 m.p.h. Georges was already blamed for more than 110 deaths across the Caribbean.

Garth Brooks won the Country Music Association's entertainer-of-the-year award for a record fourth time. Texas rancher George Strait was named male vocalist of the year for the fifth time. And for the second time in a row, Trisha Yearwood was named female vocalist of the year. Their awards were presented during ceremonies in Nashville, Tenn.

Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa belted his 64th and 65th home runs of the season, pulling him into a tie with Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals in their record-setting competition for baseball's home-run title. Sosa had only three more regular-season games to play; McGwire had another four.

The World

One of the most-awaited and closely watched elections in modern European history was being called "the hour of truth" by political observers in Germany. Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his Social Democratic Party challenger Gerhard Schrder were virtually even in final opinion polls before Sunday's balloting. But both candidates conceded that the outcome could be so narrow that their parties might have to share power in a so-called "grand coalition."

NATO defense ministers ordered their air forces to prepare for military intervention against Yugoslavia on the heels of a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Kosovo Province. But no deadline was set for strikes if Yugoslav President Milosevic continued to flout UN demands. Milosevic's forces ignored the UN move, pushing deeper into areas of Albanian-separatist resistance in Kosovo and claiming to have split the rebel ranks in two.

Cambodian Premier Hun Sen escaped unhurt from an exploding booby trap in an apparent assassination attempt as members of the country's new parliament gathered for a swearing-in ceremony. Hun Sen blamed the incident, which killed a child, on his political opponents. Previous attempts on the premier's life have been used as reasons to launch sometimes-violent crackdowns on rival politicians.

The inflation rate in Russia soared from 15 percent last month to just under 46 percent so far in September, central bank officials reported - adding a prediction that it could approach 300 percent by year's end if the ruble fell to as low as 20 to the US dollar. It was trading at 15.6 as markets closed yesterday. Against that backdrop, new Prime Minister Primakov held his first full Cabinet meeting, although many of those attending hold only acting status.

An "open trial" for dissident former Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim was promised by authorities in Malaysia. But no date was set, and Anwar has not been seen since his arrest last weekend for leading a demonstration through the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The officials also said they would "come down hard" on Anwar's supporters if protests against the 17-year rule of Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad continued.

A week after the unilateral truce declared by the Basque separatist movement, ETA, the government of Spain faced mounting pressure to respond. Opposition leaders accused the Madrid government of being too cautious after Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja rejected the proposed transfer of 536 ETA prisoners to jails near their homes in the Basque region. Government official have said they worry that ETA intended to use the truce as a smoke screen to reorganize.

Last-minute negotiations between management and unions went nowhere, and Philippine Airlines (PAL) - Asia's oldest - officially ceased operations. PAL, which owes about $2.1 billion to creditors, couldn't persuade union representatives to accept a recovery plan. The carrier, with more than 8,000 employees, is the largest company in the country to fail since the onset of the Asia-wide economic crisis last year.

Late opinion polls indicated a probable election victory for the opposition parties in Slovakia as two days of voting opened. Analysts said the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia was counting on a repeat of the last-minute comeback staged by Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar in the last election four years ago.


"We are no longer willing to be led on a merry dance." - German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, after the UN Security Council voted 14-to-0 to demand an immediate cease-fire in Kosovo and serious negotiations between Yugoslav President Milosevic and ethnic-Albanian separatists.

Next time you watch one of those macho-cop movies in which the hero uses martial arts techniques to subdue the bad guys, think of Jeff Keaton. Keaton was sharpening his karate skills as a deputy sheriff in Fremont County, Iowa, when things apparently got out of hand as he practiced with a colleague. The other fellow is seeking disability payments for an injury that kept him from work for 2-1/2 months. Deputy Keaton was fired. Said his boss: "Some of us aren't in shape for that."

The US courts are groaning under the weight of frivolous lawsuits, right? Yup, and where better to find proof than New York State's prison system, which spends more than $4 million a year defending itself against litigation filed by inmates. One of them alleges the state forced him into a life of crime because he had so many unpaid traffic tickets that he was denied a driver's license.

The Day's List

15 Rock 'n' Rollers Win Place on Museum Ballot

Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel top a list of 15 nominees for induction next year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Musicians are eligible 25 years after release of their first recordings. McCartney is already in the hall as a member of the Beatles. If reinducted, it will be as a solo artist. The class of 1999 will be picked by more than 800 artists, producers, journalists, and industry executives and announced in November. The nominees:

Black Sabbath

Solomon Burke

The Flamingos

Billy Joel

Darlene Love

Curtis Mayfield

Paul McCartney

The Moonglows

Gene Pitney

Del Shannon

Dusty Springfield

Staples Singers

Bruce Springsteen

Steely Dan

Ritchie Valens

- Associated Press

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