News In Brief

Seven thousand US ground troops will be sent to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping force, the White House said. President Clinton was to announce the move in a commencement address at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The president was also to announce deployment of 48 additional US aircraft - part of a 176-plane buildup in the Balkans approved by Defense Secretary William Cohen May 6.

An American Airlines jet skidded off a runway in Little Rock, Ark., and burst into flames - killing at least nine people and injuring scores of others. Flight 1420, a super MD-80 with 139 passengers and six crew members on board, was trying to land after arriving from Dallas during a violent thunderstorm. The deaths are the first on a major US airline in almost a year and a half.

A federal appeals court reinstated a charge that Webster Hubbell lied to conceal his and Hillary Rodham Clinton's legal work on a land development project when they were attorneys in Little Rock. The three-judge panel gave independent counsel Kenneth Starr a victory by reinstating the first count of a 15-count indictment against Hubbell (above), a former law partner of the first lady and a friend of Clinton. The court said a district judge was mistaken in dismissing the first count as too vague.

Signs of ancient groundwater flooding at the proposed Yucca Mountain site for nuclear waste in Nevada could put the project's safety in question, a Rus sian scientist reported. Geologist Yuri Dublyansky of the Russian Academy of Sciences spoke at a conference of the American Geophysical Union in Boston. Other scientists at the academic gathering challenged Dublyansky's conclusions.

Barnes & Noble called off its planned acquisition of Ingram Book Group amid growing speculation that antitrust regulators would challenge the $600 million proposal to unite the world's largest bookstore chain and the No. 1 book distributor. The announcement followed published reports that the Federal Trade Commission staff had concluded such a combination would give Barnes & Noble an unfair advantage over its competitors.

The Teamsters Union and the firms that haul new cars agreed on a new four-year contract. A union spokesman said the accord included "breakthrough" pension improvements. Representatives of the union and car-hauling companies had held intensive bargaining talks over the last several days to avert a strike by more than 12,000 drivers who transport new vehicles to dealerships.

Navy headquarters in Puerto Rico found out uranium-tipped shells were fired at its range on an outlying island March 5 - two weeks after the accident, a spokesman admitted. Last week, when news of the incident became public, a Navy spokesman said it occurred in early March - and the Navy had called in experts for a cleanup within two days. The Feb. 19 firing of 267 depleted-uranium shells has bolstered calls for the Navy to stop its exercises on Vieques Island. Sen. Eudaldo Baez Galib of the opposition Popular Democratic Party said all eastern Puerto Rico residents should be tested for possible exposure to radiation.

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