News In Brief

The US

President Clinton observed Veterans Day by signing an increase in disability payments to veterans, extending priority health care to Gulf War veterans, and creating a system to help prevent future combat-related health problems. To do so, he ordered the creation of a new a military and veterans health-coordinating board to compile data on health risks and medical research associated with military deployment; distribute data on health risks; and improve health record-keeping in the military.

American children are working more and playing less, a new study found. The report, written by Sandra Hoefferth, a sociologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, says the average child's free time - hours left after eating, personal care, sleeping, and attending school - declined from 40 percent of the day in 1981 to 30 percent in 1997. For those under three, the average time spent weekly in day care or preschool expanded during the period from 11.5 hours to 20 hours.

The first big snowstorm of the season shut down highways, cut power to tens of thousands of people across the Plains and Midwest, and flattened homes with gusts up to 93 m.p.h. In South Dakota, snow forced the closing of all of I-29 and 400 miles of I-90. Power outages were reported from South Dakota and Nebraska into Illinois and Arkansas. The storm, which was blamed for four deaths, scattered thunderstorms from the Great Lakes across the Ohio and Mississippi valleys all the way to Texas.

A bill implementing an international accord to ban business-related bribery was signed into law by Clinton. The Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions is expected to take effect at year's end.

The productivity of US workers outside the farm sector jumped in the third quarter, the Labor Department said. Productivity - a major factor in efforts to improve living standards - rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.3 percent, after a meager 0.3 percent rise in the second quarter.

Four of 10 Americans used alternative therapies in 1997, a survey found. The new poll, conducted by David Eisenberg and colleagues at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, indicated visits to nontraditional providers of medicine and healing increased by 50 percent from 1990 to 1997. Their report on alternative therapies - ranging from herbal remedies and relaxation to spiritual healing and homeopathy - was published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

US Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R) of Washington said she will challenge Rep. Dick Armey (R) of Texas for the post of House majority leader, becoming the first woman to pursue one of the top GOP jobs in Congress. Dunn is the second challenger to Armey. Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent has already declared his candidacy following unexpected GOP setbacks in last week's elections.

CIA chief George Tenet threatened to resign if convicted spy Jonathan Jay Pollard was released as part of last month's Mideast peace deal, The New York Times reported. Citing administration officials, the Times said Tenet gave his warning to Clinton after learning that the Israeli prime minister had made Pollard's release a bargaining point in negotiations. The president denied the request to release Pollard, but said he'd review the case. Pollard is serving a life sentence for passing top-secret documents to Israel.

The Dalai Lama said he would not try to reopen talks on Tibetan autonomy because distrust between himself and China is running too deep. The exiled Buddhist leader said he was assured in a White House meeting with Clinton that the US would raise the status of Tibet with Chinese officials "at every opportunity." Beijing expressed extreme displeasure over the meeting, accusing officials in Washington of interfering in China's domestic affairs.

The World

Iraqi leaders said they were "not able to rescind" the decision to stop cooperating with UN weapons inspectors despite an appeal by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and preparations for possible strikes by American warplanes. The US was moving extra jets to the Persian Gulf while authorizing non-essential diplomats and their families to leave neighboring Israel in the event of an Iraqi counterattack. Meanwhile, the UN was evacuating its inspectors and humanitarian-aid staffs from Iraq for their safety.

Israel's Cabinet met again to consider recommending to parliament that it ratify the Oct. 23 land-for-security deal with the Palestinian Authority. As the Monitor went to press, a slim majority of Prime Minister Netanyahu's ministers was expected to approve the accord. But a spokesman said it was unlikely Israel would meet Monday's deadline for pulling back from the first 2 percent of West Bank land called for in the accord.

The minority government of Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was near collapse amid a censure motion in parliament and demands for his immediate resignation. They followed allegations that Yilmaz had intervened to ensure that the state-run Turkbank, which was being privatized, was sold to an investor believed to have mob connections. The Republican People's Party, whose 55 votes have allowed Yilmaz to survive several critical confrontations in parliament, said it would end its support unless he quit.

In a rare and noisy demonstration, hundreds of angry investors tried to march to Beijing's Tiananmen Square to protest news coverage of a financial swindle that cost some of them their life savings. Police blocked their way and ordered them to disperse. The protesters complained that the official Xinhua news agency had made no mention of the government's responsibility in regulating the futures scheme, which collapsed after bilking working-class Chinese of tens of millions of dollars.

A new invitation to the UN to investigate atrocities in Congo was issued by President Laurent Kabila. UN teams left the country in April, citing a lack of cooperation by the government, and in an Oct. 29 report Kabila's regime was accused of still more human rights violations. His Tutsi-led forces are believed responsible for the massacre of thousands of Hutu refugees in the 1996-97 struggle to topple dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Kabila now blames the massacres on Tutsi leaders who have since turned on him.

A protest over steep fuel-price increases turned violent in Zimbabwe, with at least one demonstrator dying from police bullets. News agencies reported several others had been wounded or were beaten by security forces in Mutare on the border with Mozambique. The protest began as a strike called by labor unions to demand that President Robert Mugabe scrap a 67 percent hike in the price of fuel. The same issue triggered a day of rioting last week.

The war of words between the US and North Korea grew hotter as the arrival date for American negotiators neared. The US mission, whose task is to gain access for inspectors to a suspected underground nuclear-weapons site, is due in Pyongyang, the capital, Monday. The Clinton administration said it was prepared to walk away from a 1994 deal on nuclear cooperation unless the North can prove it hasn't revived its weapons program. North Korea responded with reports that senior leader Kim Jongil had visited troops on the border with South Korea "to increase their combat power in every way."


"This is North Dakota, and we've been kind of expecting it." - Pat Richards of the state's emergency management agency, after the first major storm of the season blew in with high winds and a foot of snow.

Night Ranger guitarist Jeff Watson now has a vested interest in opening his mail. Someone is sending him Polaroid photos of a checkered vest swiped from his dressing room during a summer concert in Wyoming. The photos are accompanied by letters written from the vest's point of view at various tourist sites. Watson has received missives from Seattle, Boston, and New York. The most recent is from London. "Oy, matey," it reads. "I've just made it over the 'pond,' and enjoying it very much. Next stop, the Continent. Always yours, the Vest."

At the Punkin' Chunkin' contests last weekend in Fairmount, Del., the Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator - an air cannon inspired by a Martian character in Bugs Bunny cartoons - won in the pneumatic category, firing a pumpkin a record 4,026 feet. A group led by Trey Melson, who founded the event in 1985, won last year with a toss of 3,718 feet, but placed third this year.

The Day's List

'Waterboy' Film Scores In its Box-Office Debut

Released before the rush of holiday movies, "Waterboy" earned $39.1 million and shattered the opening-weekend record for a November movie, set in 1995 by "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls," which pulled in $37.8 million. "Waterboy," a critically panned comedy, stars Adam Sandler as water carrier for a college football team who discovers his own gridiron talent. The ambitious wide re-release of a restored "The Wizard of Oz" earned $5.5 million over the weekend. Top films at North America theaters Nov. 6-8 and their grosses (in millions):

1. "The Waterboy" $39.4

2. "The Siege" 13.9

3. "Pleasantville" 5.6

4. "Antz" 5.4

5. "The Wizard of Oz" 5.4

6. "Living Out Loud" 4.3

7. "Practical Magic" 4.1

8. "John Carpenter's Vampires" 3.9

9. "Belly" 3.5

10. "Rush Hour" 3.3

- Exhibitor Relations Inc.

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