News In Brief
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan defended the Fed's involvement in the bailout of a speculative hedge fund. The failure of Connecticut-based Long-Term Capital Management LP "could have potentially impaired the economies of many nations, including our own," Greenspan said in testimony prepared for the House Banking Committee. Fifteen firms agreed Sept 23 to take an equity stake in the fund, committing a total of $3.6 billion.
California Gov. Pete Wilson signed a law designed to stop the media from stalking celebrities and harassing crime victims. The statute, which takes effect Jan. 1, authorizes courts to impose punitive damages against media outlets that film or record people "engaging in a personal or family activity in circumstances where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy."
President Clinton cut the nation's quota for refugees in fiscal 1999 to 78,000, down from 83,000 in fiscal 1998. That returns the quota to its fiscal 1997 level, the lowest in the past decade. The order reduces entry levels from East Asia by 5,000, from Europe by 3,000, and from Latin America by 1,000. It will allow 5,000 more refugees from Africa.
A type of thermal and sound insulation implicated in fires on other jetliners has been found in the wreckage of Swissair Flight 111, the airline confirmed. All 229 people aboard the flight were killed in a Sept. 2 crash. Swissair was told by McDonnell Douglas in October 1997 to replace the metalized Mylar insulation "at the next convenient grounding," a Swissair spokesman said. However, the plane had no major maintenance after that date. Safety officials say the insulation allows electrical fires to spread.
Long-term interest rates hit new lows, which means mortgage rates should also decline. The rate on 30-year Treasury bonds fell to 4.96 percent, the lowest level in the bond's 30-year history. Analysts said that should bring 30-year, fixed-mortgage rates from 6.75 to 6.5 percent by mid-October, taking $18 a month off the payment for a $100,000 mortgage. Analysts attribute rate drops to uncertainty in financial markets, which drives investors to relatively safe Treasury bonds.
The manufacturing sector slowed in September, but the downturn was softer than economists expected. The National Association of Purchasing Management said its monthly activity index held steady at 49.4 percent, the same level as in August. Economists had predicted a more severe decline because of global economic problems. The report marked the fourth straight month the index was under 50 percent, a sign of industrial contraction.
Two major newspapers filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit against a Web site that posts their stories without permission. The lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post in US court in Los Angeles accuses the Free Republic site of using hundreds of stories from the newspapers, violating their copyrights, and diverting users and potential revenue from their own Web sites. Free Republic operator Jim Robinson said the practice is protected by the First Amendment and the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law.
Steelmakers and workers accused producers in Russia, Japan, and Brazil of dumping hot-rolled steel in the US market - and asked the government to impose hefty duties on the imports. The United Steelworkers of America union joined 12 steel companies in filing what they said was the first of a number of cases designed to curb surging steel imports which are forcing US production cutbacks and layoffs.
Makah Indians were to resume whale hunting from a tribal reservation in Washington State after a hiatus of 70 years. The Makah is the only tribe whose treaty with the US specifically preserves the right to hunt whales. Nonetheless, the threat to grey whales has sparked an outcry from animal-rights groups - and some were sending ships to prevent the tribe from succeeding in its plan to kill five whales.
NATO and the UN Security Council were holding special meetings to decide on strategies for addressing the latest reports of atrocities in Kosovo. London's Guardian newspaper reported the discovery of the third apparent massacre of ethnic Albanians by Serb forces within 48 hours. It also said 50 Albanian men have not been seen since Serb forces led them from Vranic, a village southwest of Kosovo's capital, Pris tina. In Washington, Secretary of State Albright, Defense Secretary Cohen, and National Security Adviser Berger were to brief US senators on possible Western military intervention in Kosovo.
The grenade attack by a Palestinian against Israeli troops in the volatile West Bank city of Hebron will not halt preparations for the mid-October summit at Camp David, Md., Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. Fourteen Israelis and 11 Palestinians were hurt in the attack, which was blamed on the militant Hamas movement. Secretary of State Albright and special US envoy Dennis Ross are due in the Middle East Tuesday for talks to set the stage for the Camp David meeting.
One day after announcing its troops had captured a vital Tamil rebel stronghold, the government of Sri Lanka acknowledged an equally damaging defeat. It said the strategic northern city of Kilinochchi had fallen to the rebels, with "about 1,200" deaths. The rebels, fighting for an independent homeland, had held the city from 1990 to 1996 before Army troops took over control.
Final opinion polls showed the Liberal-National Party coalition and the opposition Labor Party virtually even as voters head to the polls tomorrow for Australia's general election. But analysts were predicting that even if Prime Minister John Howard led the coalition back to power, it could come at the cost of as many as 20 seats in parliament and cost him his job. Howard's continued interest in introducing a 10 percent flat tax on goods and services - a measure widely unpopular with voters - is cited as a cause of the Labor Party's resurgence.
Apparently headed for reelection when Brazilians go to the polls Sunday, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso told a final campaign rally his government is strong enough to demand that world leaders solve the spreading financial malaise that threatens national stability. Latin America's largest economy, has been battered by market slumps from New York to Tokyo and is seeking bailout help from the International Monetary Fund and Group of Seven countries. Challengers Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Ciro Gomes warned of recession if Cardoso is reelected.
In an apparently spontaneous incident, hundreds of angry Peruvians broke away from a protest march in Lima and smashed windows and other property at the presidential palace. They were dispersed by riot police throwing tear-gas canisters and firing into the air. At least 12 people were hurt and 20 others were arrested. The demonstration began as a show of opposition to calls for President Alberto Fujimori to seek a third term at a time when most Peruvian workers have only low-paying, part-time jobs with no benefits.
Another obstacle to economic and democratic reform in Nigeria will be pulled down before the end of the year, interim President Abdulsalam Abubakar announced. He said the controversial dual-rate system of foreign exchange would be abandoned - a move likely to put the government on a better footing with lenders such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The system allows the government to buy US dollars at one-quarter the rate paid by other Nigerians. The system has been heavily abused by the military elite.
"We're moving forward with possible use of force. We're entering a real critical phase."
- A senior Clinton administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, on the likelihood that Western allies will intervene militarily in the Kosovo crisis.
Mark McGwire's record season has ensured him a place not just in baseball's record book; it also qualified him for road atlases. The US Senate has voted to rename I-70 as it passes through St. Louis County, Mo., for the Cardinals star. The idea came from Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz, who wrote of McGwire's 70 round-trippers: "That's not a home-run total; that's an interstate." Not adopted was the writer's suggestion that a colossus of the slugger straddle the highway.
The political party of German Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schrder was delighted when his toothy grin helped win over millions of voters last weekend. But the Social Democrats (SDP) aren't at all happy that a toothpaste company also finds the Schrder grin irresistible. Full-page ads for British-made Perlweiss appeared in newspapers within 72 hours of the election, showing Schrder flashing his - well - pearly whites above the slogan, "He showed them all." But using photos of public figures for commercial purposes without permission is illegal in Germany, and the SDP insists that Perlweiss stop or face the bite of legal action.
The Day's List
Nations Where Women's Share of Pay Is Highest
A recent report from the UN Development Program indicates the share of total earned income paid to women varies widely from country to country - from more than 47 percent in Tanzania to less than 10 percent in Qatar. Using 1995 data, it lists the share for the US as 40.3 percent; for Canada, 37.96 percent. The UN report credits the following nations as having the highest percentage of total earned income going to women:
1. Tanzania 47.29%
2. Cambodia 45.17
3. Sweden 44.70
4. Latvia 43.98
5. Ghana 43.30
6. Ukraine 42.38
7. Norway 42.36
8. Burundi 42.34
9. Burma (Myanmar) 42.33
10. Vietnam 42.03