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The Senate was to vote on a 90-cent-an-hour minimum wage increase, after months of partisan wrangling. But an amendment by Republican Sen. Christopher Bond of Missouri to exempt employees of small businesses and millions of newly hired workers had Democrats up in arms. President Clinton said he would veto the bill if the amendment passed. The GOP says the measures are needed to prevent layoffs they believe a blanket increase would cause.

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Clinton held his first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They were to focus on the Middle East peace process and the fight against terrorism. While White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry says the two "see eye-to-eye on many of the fundamental aspects of the peace process," they are likely to disagree on several points, such as land for peace and Israeli settlements on occupied land.

The US underestimated the terrorist threat in Saudi Arabia, leading to delays in adopting security measures before last month's bombing in Dhahran, Defense Secretary Perry said. He told the Senate Arms Services Committee that the US plans to pull out of Riyadh and other urban areas where security is tough to maintain.

Weapons used in the Gulf war weren't nearly as effective as the Pentagon and defense contractors claimed, a General Accounting Office study found. Reports of vaunted pinpoint precision were either overstated, misleading, and inconsistent with the best available data, or were unverifiable.

Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm announced he's running for president. He wants to be the Reform Party candidate, but has a few hurdles to clear: little money and little name recognition. It's also not known what party founder Ross Perot thinks.

Mary Schiavo, the Department of Transportation's inspector general, quit. Schiavo gained national attention when, in the wake of a ValuJet plane crash in May, she publicly criticized what she calls lax inspection practices by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The NBA imposed an immediate lockout of basketball players after talks on a collective bargaining agreement broke down. The move slammed the door on the opening of the biggest free- agent market in league history.

General Motors is recalling about 300,000 1996 and 1997 vehicles. The cars have a defect that may cause vehicles to backfire, causing engine fires. GM says affected owners can take their cars to a dealer for free service to correct the problem.

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Florida residents prepared for the possible arrival of hurricane Bertha. The hurricane was heading for the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands with winds of at least 115 m.p.h. Forecasters said they expected Bertha to make a gradual turn to the northwest. If so, Florida's coastline will escape the brunt of the storm. Otherwise, the hurricane could come ashore today or tomorrow. The storm has caused at least four deaths, and 42 people were reported missing.

Firefighters battled wildfires in western Utah that threatened the town of Terra and an Indian reservation. The 30 to 50 Terra residents were asked to evacuate. In west-central Utah, low winds, high humidity, and rain helped firefighters battle six fires that burned more than 40,000 acres.

Volunteer firefighter James Mitchell was charged with burning the mostly black Rice's Chapel Church in Buffalo, S.C. Mitchell reportedly set the fire with a candle and then returned later to help fight the blaze. He has also been charged with burning three other churches in 1994.

Three-thousand American schools are about to get wired. Cable TV companies announced they will provide high-speed connections to the Internet, free of charge, to schools in 60 communities. Companies say the eventual goal is to wire as many of the nation's 95,000 schools as possible.

Beneficial Corp. will offer loans by computer through CompuServe this summer, giving applicants a two-minute decision on loans of up to $10,000. The program is the first of its kind in the US.


Fighting flared in Gekhi, Chechnya, threatening a shaky truce between rebels and Russia. At least six Russian soldiers were killed. There was no word on rebel losses. The fighting erupted after rebels ignored a Russian commander's ultimatum to free all prisoners of war. Both sides have accused the other of violating a May cease-fire. Separately, Russia's new security chief, Alexander Lebed, was quoted as saying he was prepared to discuss the option of Chechnya's secession.

On the third day of brewing unrest in Northern Ireland, hard-line Protestants vowed to step up their confrontation with police, who have blocked their traditional marching route through a Catholic quarter in Drumcree. Rioting petered out but left a trail of wrecked cars and burnt houses.

In the first war-crimes trial in Serbia, a Belgrade court sentenced Dusan Vuckovic to seven years in prison for the 1992 killings of 16 Muslims in Celopek, Bosnia. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic says that Serbian war crimes suspects must be tried at home and not at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Also, international investigators uncovered human remains at a suspected mass grave near Srebrenica. And international overseers of Bosnia's September elections said Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's political party will be banned unless Karadzic resigns as its leader.

African leaders recommended Boutros Boutros-Ghali for a second term as UN secretary-general at the annual meeting of the Organization of African Unity in Yaounde, Cameroon. The move comes in spite of objections by the US, which has vowed to use its UN Security Council veto to block the reelection. Some delegates said the endorsement wasn't final. President Clinton sent officials to the summit to lobby against Boutros-Ghali, who is the first UN chief from Africa.

A proposal to restructure French aircraft-maker Airbus Industrie as a single company by 1999 was approved by the consortium's supervisory board. Industry observers say the move could hurt US competitors Boeing Company and McDonnell Douglas if it results in significant cost cuts. Also, Airbus will be eligible to seek financing on the world's stock markets if needed.

Bahraini police arrested dozens of suspected dissidents and cordoned off the Shiite village of Dumistan. Earlier, villagers rioted after a court jailed nine Bahrainis for three to five years on charges of planting an explosive device and distributing leaflets with false news. Bahrain's majority Shiites are pressing for restoration of a dissolved parliament and better jobs.

Niger's military leader Gen. Ibrahim Bare Mainassara dissolved the electoral commission after two days of chaotic voting. He deployed security forces to the homes of his opponents, including the ousted president and three other party leaders. Many voters were unable to cast their ballots because their names were not included on voter lists.

Turkey's Islamist government canceled strict prison regulations in its first action after winning a vote of confidence. Some 1,500 leftist and Kurdish inmates have been on hunger strikes since May to protest transfer of prisoners to remote jails and cancellation of visiting rights to families. Separately, the US said it intends to work with Turkey if Istanbul maintains its commitment to NATO.

A judge summoned former Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao to answer charges July 24 that he helped a Hindu holy man defraud a businessman of $100,000. The incident allegedly occurred in 1983 when Rao was foreign minister.


"If we stay the course of assimilation, we will disappear into white society.... It cannot be the same old story where our people are treated inferior to [Canada's] government."

-- Ovide Mercredi, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, at the opening of the annual meeting in Ottawa.

Bob Romano turned his Atlanta home into the Unofficial Consulate of New Mexico to compensate for Olympic ticket agents who missed the news of New Mexico's statehood. An Olympic agent refused to sell Wade Miller of Santa Fe tickets, saying he lived outside the US. Despite Miller's insistence that New Mexico has been a state since 1912, the agent's supervisor referred him to the Mexican or Puerto Rican Olympic committees. Romano bought Miller two tickets for Olympic baseball to make sure he gets to the Games.

A Taiwanese couple picked an unusual to way to tie the knot: They are getting married on ostrich-back tomorrow. Only three out of 43 couples competing for the privilege managed to stay on the giant birds' backs for more than two minutes.


Oddball Scholarships

1. Gertrude J. Deppen Scholarship at Bucknell University: awarded to a teetotaling, nonsmoking resident of Mt. Carmel, Pa., who doesn't like sports.

2. Beckley Scholarship Foundation: $700 awarded to left-handers at Juniata College.

3. Evans Scholarship Program: Full tuition and housing for seniors in the top 25 percent of their class who have caddied for two years at a golf club.

4. Antique Weapons Research Fellowship: $5,000 to students willing to write a scholarly report on antique weapons to be published in The Armerican Society of Arms Collectors bulletin.

5. Norwich Jubilee Esperanto Foundation: Jen unu mil pundo - nun EK! (Here's a thousand pounds - now go!) Scholarship to students studying Esperanto in Great Britain.

6. The John Gatling Scholarship: Full scholarship to North Carolina State University to students named Gatling or Gatlin.

7. Two/Ten International Footwear Foundation: $2,000 awarded to children of footwear industry workers.

8. The Billy Barty Foundation: $2,000 to "students of short stature."

9. United Daughters of the Confederacy scholarship: $400-$1,500 awarded to descendants of Confederate soldiers.

- National Scholarship Research Service

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