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News In Brief


President Clinton led the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, and thousands attended a concert on the Washington mall to honor the nation's war dead. New York City hosted the oldest Memorial Day parade, and in southern California, thousands viewed The Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Memorial Day weekend was launched with a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honor 38 Americans who died in the past year in Bosnia and Croatia, including former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.

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National Transportation Safety Board investigators began analyzing the cockpit voice recorder from the ValuJet plane that crashed in Florida. Searchers also found a partially melted aluminum frame of a passenger seat heavily damaged by fire. And a blackened support structure and smoke-damaged floor beam from inside the passenger cabin were pulled from the Everglades.

Senator Dole is on the verge of proposing significant tax changes and cuts. So says flat tax advocate and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who spoke about his meeting with Dole to discuss the issue on NBC's "Meet the Press." Dole is convinced the only way to get the US moving is to radically simplify taxes, Forbes said. Earlier, Dole proposed a $500 tax cut for individuals who donate to charities.

Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott said he has received public commitments from at least 28 of the Senate's 53 Republicans. That's enough to ensure his election to succeed Dole as majority leader.

The House passed a bill to raise the minimum wage 90 cents to $5.15 an hour. Earlier, the House axed a Republican proposal to exempt certain small businesses from the pay increase, saying it threatened passage of the bill.

Storms and tornados swept through Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma, damaging homes, overturning cars on a coal train, and injuring several people. Rains brought some relief to parched northwest Texas and Western Oklahoma. While the rains may help corn and cotton crops, experts said they came too late to help stunted wheat crops. Government officials estimate that agricultural losses in Texas alone are $2.4 billion and could rise to $6.5 billion.

Cleanup crews worked to contain a five-mile oil slick on Galveston Bay, Texas, after a barge carrying 667,000 gallons of fuel oil buckled in the Houston Ship Channel.

Demonstrators gathered at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Station to protest the planned launch of a nuclear-powered space probe to Saturn in 1997. They said plutonium would scatter over large areas of Florida and kill thousands of people if the rocket explodes upon launch. Millions could be affected worldwide if the probe plunges into the atmosphere during its seven-year voyage, they added. NASA puts the risk of the probe hitting earth during a fly past at 1 in 1.3 million and said there is a 1 in 900 chance of radioactive release during the launch.

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A class-action lawsuit that would have been the largest in US history was dismissed by a Federal appeals panel in New Orleans. The ruling supported tobacco industry claims that the lawsuit, which accused tobacco companies of concealing evidence that smoking is addictive and of manipulating nicotine levels, would be difficult to manage.

Employment is expected to rise seasonally in the third quarter, according to a Manpower Inc. survey. Some 27 percent of 16,000 companies surveyed expect to increase employment, while only 7 percent plan staff reductions.

Firefighters extinguished a Colorado fire that burned 10,000 acres of forest.

Correction: Last Thursday's In Briefs report should have said that Gordon Smith won 79 percent of the vote in Oregon's Republican primary. The election for the seat of retiring Sen. Mark Hatfield will take place this fall.


Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan Yanderbiev and Russian President Yeltsin called a cease-fire in Chechnya, Interfax news agency said. Fighting is expected to end June 1. The men were meeting at the Kremlin for peace talks when they signed the deal. Also, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk resigned unexpectedly, prompted by legislation that forbids officials from simultaneously serving in parliament. He was elected to the legislature last year.

Israel geared up to vote in general elections tomorrow. New polls showed opposition Likud candidate Benjamin Netanyahu catching up to Prime Minister Peres in the polls. This will be the first time Israelis cast a separate vote for prime minister.

India's first Hindu nationalist government was to face a vote of confidence today that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee admitted it was likely to lose. The vote comes only 12 days after Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party took power. If Vajpayee's government loses as expected, President Shankar Dayal Sharma is likely to ask United Front, a loose coalition of communist and socialist parties, to form a coalition government. The Congress Party, which took second in the elections, has said it would back the United Front.

Burma's military junta called supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi "maggots" and "dupes" as she defiantly held a three-day congress. Earlier, the government arrested 262 supporters in order to stop them from attending the meeting. Only 18 delegates were able to attend what is considered to be the most important meeting since the junta quashed 1990 elections. An unknown number of those arrested have been transferred to the Insein Prison near Rangoon, where political prisoners reportedly suffer routine torture, the opposition said.

Separatists in China's Xinjiang Province assassinated a pro-Muslim leader in a series of political killings, officials said. Also, China released Bao Tong, the only senior official jailed for 1989 pro-democracy protests, but placed him under virtual house arrest, his family said.

Women and children make up the majority of the roughly 100 million homeless people in the world, and up to 600 million live in inadequate, unhealthy shelters, the UN said in a report, calling it "the global feminization of poverty." Females make up half the world's population but own just 1 percent of the wealth.

After Sunday's elections, Albania's ruling Democratic Party celebrated what they called a vote of confidence in the government. But Socialists and other opposition groups accused them of stealing the election and pulled out before official results were known.

A Colombian congressional panel voted not to recommend impeachment proceedings against President Ernesto Samper. He is accused of accepting money from the Cali drug cartel.

Cyprus's right-wing Democratic Rally won parliamentary elections by a narrow margin, garnering 34.5 percent of the vote. The communist Akel party won 33 percent, boosting its position as the second-largest party.

Central African Republic Army mutineers returned to their barracks, ending a nine-day mutiny. President Patasse guaranteed amnesty to the rebels.

Liberian militia leader Charles Taylor and members of the ruling Council of State ordered their forces to withdraw from central Monrovia and cede control to UN peacekeepers.


''They have cooked the numbers." -- Professor Michio Kaku of the City University of New York, referring to NASA statistics while protesting the space program's planned launch of a nuclear-powered probe. Protesters say an accident could kill thousands of people.

A retrospective of French painter Paul Czanne opens at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Thursday, after wowing crowds in London and Paris. The exhibit, which has 112 paintings and 75 drawings, seems destined to be a hit: 120,000 advance tickets have been sold, and Philadelphia is expecting 500,000 visitors by Sept. 1.

Less than half of American adults given a science and economics survey by the National Science Foundation knew Earth orbits the sun yearly. When asked to define scientific terms, about 9 percent knew what a molecule was, and only 21 percent could define DNA. Only 25 percent of those surveyed received passing grades.

A four-year archaeological dig of an ancient city near Nazareth razed by the Romans in AD 67 has turned up relics of war and everyday life in 1st-century Galilee. What makes Yodefat special is that it's essentially been undisturbed from the time of its destruction. Some unearthed items: ritual baths, a door key, catapult missiles.

Rather than punching in personal identification numbers, ATM customers may soon be recognized by having their eyes scanned. Sensar Inc. has created "Iris-Ident," a small camera that checks up to 400 unique portions of the iris, the colored part of the eye. Sensar hopes the system will be installed in ATMs as early as next year.

Top 10 Rejected Titles For the Movie "Twister"

1. "Roofless in Seattle"

2. "The Weather Channel: The Movie"

3. "Totally Gone With the Wind"

4. "One House Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

5. "The Splintered Bridges of Madison County"

6. "Wizard of Oz II: The Search For Toto"

7. "Four Weddings & a Funnel"

8. "Indiana Jones and the Trailer Park of Doom"

9. "A Funnel Thing Happened on the Way to the Farm"

10. "Field of Debris"

- Found on the Internet

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