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President Clinton headed south to Charlotte, N.C., to address the NAACP convention. He is expected to remind attendees that GOP candidate Bob Dole declined their invitation. Earlier, at a Rose Garden ceremony, he praised bipartisan cooperation in Congress that resulted in swift legislation to strengthen federal authority to prosecute people who deface, damage, or destroy religious property.

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The Senate was to vote on two labor-related bills strongly opposed by Clinton and the Democrats. One would eliminate states' "right to work" bills, another deals with language used in employer-employee relations. Earlier, the Senate raised the prospects of bigger paychecks for 10 million Americans by passing the minimum wage bill. The bill now heads to a conference committee to smooth out differences with the House.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a visit to New York City today, where he plans to meet with Bob Dole, Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and Wall Street business leaders. Earlier, he addressed Congress, saying Israel is ready to begin negotiations with the Palestinians on a final settlement. In a meeting with Clinton, he said Israel won't resume negotiations with Syria until President Hafez Assad takes up the fight against terrorism.

A central figure in the Clinton White House's improper gathering of hundreds of FBI background files offered political dirt on Sen. Arlen Specter (R) of Pennsylvania in 1986, The Associated Press reported. Robert Anthony Marceca offered the information to former Senate candidate Robert Smith, a Republican who was involved in an aggressive write-in campaign against Specter, Smith recalled. Smith also said Marceca told him he worked for James Carville, a Democratic strategist who later became the architect of Clinton's 1992 election victory. Marceca has cited his Firth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in relation to the file gatherings.

Clinton authorized shipment of of $100 million in US military hardware for the Bosnian Federation Army. His action followed passage of a law by the Muslim-Croat parliament that integrates its military forces and orients them to the West. Passage of the law was called for in the Dayton accords.

Officials evacuated hundreds of thousands of residents and tourists from Florida to North Carolina's islands in the face of hurricane Bertha, which is expected to hit tonight. The hurricane was expected to pack winds of about 105 m.p.h.

Barry McCaffrey, Clinton's drug czar, attended a major drug summit on trafficking along the border with Mexico. More than 200 border-area law officers also attended the meeting. Republicans criticized the meeting as an election-year ploy.

Some 240 black agents and former agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms won a nearly $6 million lawsuit over racial discrimination. The six-year suit accused the ATF of bias in hiring, promotion, and evaluation of blacks.

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Prudential Insurance Company of America agreed to pay up to $1 billion to as many as 10.7 million customers for sales abuses by its agents. The company will also pay a record $35 million fine if all 50 states sign the restitution plan, New Jersey's banking and insurance commissioner said.

The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the US increased 76 percent from 489,973 to 862,605 between 1987 and 1992, according to a report by the US Census Bureau. This compares with an increase of 26 percent for all US firms, from 13.7 million in 1987 to 17.3 million in 1992.

ValuJet Airlines filed plans with the Federal Aviation Administration to begin flying again in August. It also said it plans to cancel leases at three airports. Under a new plan, the airline will hire its own maintenance workers instead of using contract workers. It will also increase training for maintenance workers and give employees a pay increase.

Two of three CIA mail clerks pleaded guilty to charges they stole more than 100 credit cards intended for the agency's spies. A government official estimates the ring's total haul at $190,000. Purchases included hotel rooms, basketball game tickets, and nearly $30,000 in cash advances.


Russian troops stepped up the offensive against Chechen rebels, bombing the village of Makhety and killing at least 20 civilians, the Itar-Tass news agency reported. But a spokesman for the Moscow-backed Chechen government said three villagers were killed and dozens wounded in an attack on a rebel base near Makhety. Also, troops agreed to withdraw from the village of Gekhi after 20 civilians and eight Russian troops were killed. Prime Minister Chernomyrdin said the Kremlin still backed a negotiated settlement, despite the outbreak of fighting.

Britain sent 1,000 more troops to Northern Ireland to help combat rioting by Protestants angered by a thwarted march through the Catholic area of Portadown. Gangs attacked police with gasoline bombs and rocks, hijacked and set fire to cars, and blocked streets with barricades. Protestant hard-liners have threatened to bring Northern Ireland to a standstill if police don't let them march. The troop increase will raise British military presence to 18,500 troops, the highest since 1982.

Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli police in the West Bank town of Hebron after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to set a date to withdraw troops from the town. The unrest came hours after he met with President Clinton in Washington. Palestinians hoped Clinton would urge Netanyahu to be more flexible, but the prime minister refused to be pinned down on the much-delayed troop withdrawal or the lifting of a four-month closure of the West Bank and Gaza that has devastated the Palestinian economy.

Gen. Ibrahim Mainassara, was declared Niger's president hours after he ousted the electoral commission and banned public meetings and rallies. The results were announced by a new commission appointed by Main-assara and comprised of his supporters. The opposition denounced his victory as an electoral coup d'etat. France and the US expressed concern at the event.

Bosnian Serbs blocked Finnish experts from excavating a suspected mass grave in eastern Bosnia. Meanwhile, UN inspectors found more than 25 bodies at a separate site in Cerska. Also, Croatia will hand over Bosnian Croat war-crimes suspect Zlatko Aleksovski to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, newspapers reported. It is the country's first case of extradition to the tribunal.

Iraq, helped by Iran, is smuggling oil and other goods in violation of UN sanctions, the US told a Security Council committee. Clinton made similar allegations in a May report, and the US says the smuggling has continued since then, UN sources said.

The Organization of African Unity called for renewed efforts to stop ethnic violence in Burundi at the close of their summit in Yaounde, Cameroon. The group sponsored a resolution for regional military assistance for Burundi, a move opposed by both Hutu and Tutsi hard-liners.

Burma's junta considers it illegal for democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to write a rival constitution to the pro-military one being drafted, a senior official in the military government said.

Chad's President Idriss Deby was reelected with about 68 percent of the vote, sources close to the election commission said. The result has not been formally announced and still must be ratified by the Supreme Court.

China picked a consortium including British Aerospace and Aerospatiale of France as partners to build a 100-seat jetliner for the booming Asian air travel market. The deal ended months of lobbying by Western aircraft makers and shut out Boeing and McDonnell Douglas of the US.


"I'll sign everything. But please don't shove stuff at me, especially pens.

I ruin about 365 shirts a year from pens."

-- Golfer Arnold Palmer at a charity tournament in Colonie, N.Y., on not wanting to disappoint autograph seekers.

Faye Murrell missed family dinners after her children grew up. So, with a little help from Velcro, the intrepid pet owner trained Tessa, her Himalayan cat, to eat at the table with a fork. She outfits Tessa with a spoon or fork held in place with a Velcro bracelet, and Tessa hops on a chair and digs in.

Security is so tight at the 37th International Mathematical Olympiad that only the participants know where it's being held. The strict security isn't for fear of terrorism, however. It's to prevent answers being passed to contestants. About 450 teen-agers from 75 countries tested their skills against a wide range of problems at the two-day event, which concludes today somewhere in the Bombay area.

The outback town of Broome, Australia, declared local camels a nighttime traffic hazard and hung tail-lights off them in an effort to prevent cars from colliding with the "ships of the desert."

Actor Kelsey Grammer sang the "Star Spangled Banner" at the All-Star Game in Philadelphia. The National League beat the American League 6-0.


The TV Kids Tune Into

According to Nielsen Media Research, these are the top 10 programs children between the ages of 6 and 17 watched from 8 to 9 p.m. last season.

1. Boy Meets World (ABC)

2. Family Matters (ABC)

3. The Simpsons (Fox)

4. Muppets Tonight (ABC)

5. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (ABC)

6. In the House (NBC)

7. Friends (NBC)

8. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (NBC)

9. Boston Common (NBC)

10. The Single Guy (NBC)

--TV Guide

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