News In Brief

A quarter-point hike in interest rates is considered all but a certainty as the Federal Reserve's policymaking Open Market Committee prepares to open two days of meetings tomorrow in Washington. Such a rise - pushing the federal funds rate to 5 percent - was telegraphed by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in testimony before Congress earlier this month.

The Energy Department official responsible for nuclear-weapons development resigned his office, a spokeswoman confirmed. Victor Reis is at the center of the controversy over allegations that China stole US nuclear secrets. The department said he'll leave his post July 30. No reason for the resignation was reported.

The FBI has the worst average in obtaining convictions of all federal law-enforcement agencies, a new report says. Using 1993-1997 Justice Department statistics, Syracuse University researchers said the agency successfully prosecuted only 27 percent of 222,504 cases, largely because of weak or insufficient evidence. The FBI called the study meaningless.

Bringing with him proposals for an Arab summit to formulate a unified strategy for dealing with Israel's new leadership, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in Washington for meetings with key members of Congress, State Department officials, and President Clinton. Mubarak (r., being greeted on his arrival Saturday at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.) is believed to want immediate talks between Arabs and Israel's Labor Party government and the resumption of negotiations between Israel and Syria on the return of the Golan Heights. He has voiced optimism that Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak will be more flexible toward the Arabs than the departing Benjamin Netanyahu.

The union of motion picture directors voted to fight efforts by lawmakers to "trample upon" the industry's First Amendment rights because of recent acts of youth violence. The Directors Guild of America also OK'd a resolution calling for a task force to educate its members and the public on violence as it relates to the "responsibilities of Hollywood." The industry has been taken to task since the most recent rash of school shootings, with political leaders suggesting that it is largely responsible for contributing to a culture of violence.

Jewish theologians and scholars reacted with surprise to the announcement that a small California library holds - and will put on display tomorrow - the original Nuremberg Laws. The decrees, signed in 1935 by Adolf Hitler, made discrimination against Jews German national policy and opened the way to the Holocaust. Their whereabouts had been a mystery since the end of World War II. The Huntington Library in San Marino received the document from Gen. George Patton in 1945.

A state Supreme Court ruling that lifts the "commuter tax" for all people who work in New York will be appealed, attorneys for the city vowed. At issue is the portion of the ruling that applies to those who commute from neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut and whose 0.45 percent tax on income provide the city with $150 million a year in revenue. Those who work in the city but live elsewhere in New York are exempt from the levy under a new law.

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