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News In Brief

The US

The jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty of the murders on June 12, 1994 of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Jurors reached a decision less than four hours after starting to deliberate Monday. They spent about an hour of their brief deliberations listening to a court reporter read back testimony from a limousine driver who gave Simpson a ride to the airport on the night the two victims were murdered.

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Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman said he was denied a fair trial and the government was trying to separate him from his lawyers, purportedly because of his health. Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted Sunday of conspiring to bomb the UN to frighten the US to change its Mideast policies. Egypt's largest Islamic militant group has threatened Americans with ''all means of violence'' in retaliation.

President Clinton ordered his government yesterday to devise a system to compensate victims of secret cold-war-era radiation or victims' families. Clinton made the announcement in accepting the report of a presidential advisory panel. For 18 months, the 14-member panel studied some 4,000 government-sponsored tests performed mainly in the 1940s-1960s. But the panel, in its report, singled out only three experiments where it says compensation is clearly warranted.

Sen. Sam Nunn postponed his announcement on whether he would retire or seek reelection next year. If Nunn retires, it would make it increasingly unlikely that the Democrats could regain control of the Senate next year. And Rep. G.V. ''Sonny'' Montgomery, also a Democrat, said he will not seek reelection next year, ending a three-decade congressional career.

The White House and lawmakers will resume their battle over GOP plans to balance the budget by 2002, when Congress returns from a 10-day break next week. Republicans want to slash domestic spending, cut taxes, and increase Pentagon funds, a strategy Democrats say uses excessive spending cuts to pay for a tax break. Republicans are expected to have their budget-balancing package ready for congressional approval in six weeks.

Republicans and Democrats continued their duel over Medicare. Republicans took shots at the Democrats' plan unveiled yesterday to revamp the Medicare system. They proposed to find $89 billion in savings in the Medicare system, a third of what Republicans want.

More than 250,000 Americans left the food-stamp rolls in July, continuing a yearlong trend in the nation's most expensive welfare program, the Agriculture Department reported. And to crack down on health and welfare benefits paid to more than a million non-citizens, Republicans are proposing that people who renege on promises to support immigrant relatives could be forced to repay the government for any public assistance those family members receive.

USAIR said it held preliminary discussions with American and United Airlines concerning possible alliances, including an acquisition of the carrier. The airline has been rocked by a series of crashes, steep fare discounts, and collapsed labor negotiations. Any such marriage would result in a huge airline with an unrivaled grasp on the US market.

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The Gulf coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle was put under hurricane watch yesterday as hurricane Opal, the ninth of the season, inched northward. Opal could also cancel the second launch attempt for space shuttle Columbia scheduled for 9:40 a.m. tomorrow.

Public hearings of Whitewater will resume later this month. Prosecutor Kenneth Starr said an ongoing inquiry of Clinton's 1990 campaign for Arkansas governor would be among the areas hindered by a congressional probe.

The World

The Israeli-PLO accord on West Bank autonomy is expected to go before Israel's Knesset for approval tomorrow. Approval was thrown into question yesterday when two rebels from the government Labor Party said they would vote against it. But a third lawmaker who had expressed reservations said he would support the agreement. Meanwhile, Israeli officials say they have received new warnings that Muslim militants opposed to the pact are planning suicide attacks during the Jewish holidays, which began yesterda y in Israel.

The 16-member South Pacific Forum cut ties with France yesterday to protest French nuclear tests in the region. But experts doubted if many member nations would sever bilateral ties with Paris. Two island nations, Nauru and Kiribati, suspended ties with Paris before Monday's detonation under Fangataufa Atoll in French Polynesia. the firebombing of Tahiti's courthouse Sunday kept police on alert.

Macedonia's President Kiro Gligorov (above, left) was seriously injured in a car bomb attack that killed his driver in Skopje yesterday. The attack coincided with the start of talks in Athens between Greek and Macedonian diplomats designed to normalize relations between the countries after a long-running dispute. Gligorov met with Serbian President Milosevic (above, right) in Belgrade Monday. Milosevic called for normalized relations with Macedonia - the only former republic to secede peacefully from th e Yugoslav federation in 1992.

US envoy Richard Holbrooke left the Croatian capital Zagreb yesterday for Belgrade and talks with Serbian President Milosevic. Prospects for a cease-fire hit a new setback Monday, with rebel Serbs rejecting government conditions and both sides pressing battlefield offensives. Also, NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes said the US must provide a ''robust'' troop contingent if it sends a peacekeeping operation to Bosnia. Russian troops may also be used as peacekeepers, he added.

Sierra Leone's military government foiled a coup attempt yesterday and arrested six officers. And the government was trying to retake four townships seized by rebels. On Africa's east coast, a white French mercenary who led a coup on the island of Comoros announced a power-sharing arrangement among three opposition politicians. France has sent anti-terrorists to the Indian Ocean ahead of possible moves to oust the mercenaries, who have conducted previous invasions on behalf of French interests.

Japan wants faster and further cutbacks of US bases on Okinawa, the country told US Ambassador Walter Mondale yesterday. The request was made to placate Japanese protesters enraged by the rape of a local schoolgirl, allegedly by US servicemen. And Japan signed a deal yesterday with North Korea to provide 200,000 tons of rice. Pyongyang says it needs emergency supplies to cope with shortages caused by flooding.

Mexican police arrested dozens of people Monday after more than 10,000 protesters massed in Mexico City's central square to protest government policies. They were also commemorating the 1968 massacre of more than 300 students protesting authoritarian rule.

At least 135 Tamil rebels and 24 government troops were killed in the worst fighting of Sri Lanka's civil war. Most of the killings occurred when guerrillas tried to recapture land on the Jaffna Peninsula recently taken by government troops, military officials said yesterday.

Iceland's president, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, said she will not seek reelection. The world's first democratically elected female head of state, she has been Iceland's president for 15 years.

Etcetera

India will launch this year a Gandhi peace prize, named after the nation's founding father, Mahatma Gandhi, according to Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. The prize would be awarded to a person for outstanding contribution to social transformation through Gandhian ways.

A long-lost portrait of Russia's last czar, Nicholas II, kept hidden through years of Communist rule, is now on sale. The portrait by Ilya Repin is the most important work to be auctioned in Russia's new legal art market.

Telecom '95, the world's largest exhibition of telecommunications technology, opened yesterday in Geneva. (See list below.)

Top 10 Telecommuters

A recent survey ranked the ability of 39 major countries to make multimedia services available to a large number of citizens. It considered the number of phone lines (PLs), television sets (TVs), and personal computers (PCs) per 100 people in each country.

PLs TVs PCs

1. US 59.5 79 29.7

2. Denmark 60.4 55 19.3

3. Canada 59.5 65 17.5

4. Sweden 68.3 48 17.2

5. Australia 49.6 48 21.7

5. France 54.7 58 14.0

5. Switzerland 59.7 41 28.8

8. Netherlands 50.9 48 15.6

9. Germany 48.3 55 14.4

10. Japan 47.8 64 12.0

- The International Telecommunications Union

'' It was part of the American lifestyle. It was like baseball. Every day you could turn on the set and predictably watch the game.''

- Northeastern University sociologist Jack Levin, on the O.J. Simpson trial.


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