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News In Brief

Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden

The US

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A grand jury in Washington charged a Saudi man with conspiring to kill Americans in Saudi Arabia last year. The one-count indictment of Hani Abdel Rahim Hussein al-Sayegh was part of a deal with the Justice Department in which he agreed to tell what he knows about a bombing that killed 19 Americans at a military housing complex in Dhahran. The indictment said an unnamed terrorist organization paid him for his work.

Baptist leaders voted to boycott the Walt Disney organization and its subsidiaries. The vote by the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Dallas, is not binding on the 15 million members of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. The boycott resulted from what church leaders saw as company policies that go too far in accommodating homosexuals.

There were signs of discontent with Speaker Newt Gingrich among House Republicans, as a group of conservatives met privately to discuss leadership. Rep. Lindsay Graham (R) of South Carolina, who organized the meeting, said he saw no need for a no-confidence vote, but a review of strategy was needed after a GOP retreat in a showdown over disaster-aid legislation.

There were also tensions between the White House and Senate Democrats. Led by Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, Democrats on the Finance Committee rejected administration pleas that they produce an alternative to a tax bill issued by committee chairman William Roth (R) of Delaware. Instead, they worked with Roth on a bipartisan proposal. Democrats reportedly were displeased at not being included in budget-balancing talks between the president and GOP leaders.

Republicans introduced a bill to end affirmative action. In an apparent reply to the president's recent defense of the practice, the GOP measure would bar the US government from discriminating against or granting preference to any individual or group based on race, color, national origin, or gender. A similar measure stalled in the last Congress.

Owners and players agreed on proposals to repeal aspects of major league baseball's 75-year-old exemption from anti-trust laws, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah said. He said the accord was "a momentous occasion," but details were not released. Repeal would mean baseball would be governed by the same rules as other professional sports, and players would have the same rights. Baseball's minor leagues would not be affected.

A House Interior subcommittee approved a $13 billion bill for land and energy programs in fiscal 1998. The spending level was $100 million less than the Clinton administration requested. The measure would shut down the National Endowment for the Arts and exclude $700 million for land purchases approved in a budget accord between the White House and Congress.

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Worker productivity rose by its quickest pace in more than three years, the Labor Department said. It grew in the first quarter at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.6 percent, double the 1.3 percent of the previous quarter.

General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative accord on a new contract at a key parts plant near Milwaukee, averting a threatened strike. Details were not released, pending a ratification vote later this week. The plant produces catalytic converters used on virtually all GM cars and trucks made in North America.

More than 200 Holocaust survivors who were US citizens at that time of their persecution may be eligible for reparations from Germany, the US Foreign Claims Settlement Commission said. Congress authorized the agency to rule on individual claims after Germany agreed in 1995 to pay reparations to certain US Holocaust victims.

An election in Washington State appeared to be tipping in favor of a proposal to build a new $425 million football stadium for the Seattle Seahawks. With 90 percent of the votes counted, officials said 51 percent favored the project and 49 percent opposed it. Billionaire Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen paid for the election and has an option to purchase the team.

The World

Notorious Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot surrendered to members of his own guerrilla group who had turned against him, according to reports from Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. An Army spokesman said the guerrillas planned to hold him for trial before an international tribunal for his role in the genocide of 1975-79. There was no word on Pol Pot's whereabouts. He was believed to have been on the run in the country's northern jungle.

Cambodia's co-premiers accused each other of assassination plots after a shootout between their security guards in Phnom Penh left at least two people dead. Although Prince Norodom Ranarridh and Hun Sen are coalition partners, they remain bitter rivals for power and are competing for the support of thousands of defectors from the Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement.

Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan handed his resignation to President Suleyman Demirel, news agencies in Ankara reported. Erbakan's coalition partner, Tansu Ciller, said she had enough support in parliament to form a new government, but it was not certain Demirel would designate her as prime minister.

Concern mounted in Hong Kong that the July 1 handover of authority by Britain could turn ugly if democracy activists carried out a vow to occupy the chamber where a new Beijing-appointed legislature is to be sworn in. The Democratic Party said some of its followers would make speeches there in support of political pluralism. It threatened "radical" action if the delegation was obstructed.

Japan's surplus with its trading partners grew by more than 200 percent in May - and by 93 percent with the US alone - over the same period last year, the finance ministry announced. Analysts said the news was not likely to be welcomed by the leaders of other countries attending the G7 summit this weekend in Denver. But they doubted that the issue would lead to a confrontation with Prime Minister Hashimoto.

In a rare public declaration, North Korea's defense ministry accused the US and rival South Korea of preparing for a "final battle" while professing to seek peace. The statement, carried by Pyongyang's official news agency, said fighting "is about to break out" while the North is weakened by food shortages. Analysts said the North's language was unusually strong, even by daily propaganda standards.

The executions of two Protestant policemen by the Irish Republican Army were a "slap in the face" to campaigners for peace in Northern Ireland, the leader of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland said. At the funeral for one of the victims, the Rev. Sam Hutchinson said their deaths undermined the faith of "people of goodwill" that there was any point in trying to bring Sinn Fein, the IRA's political ally, into talks on Northern Ireland's future.

US Ambassador Aubrey Hooks left the Congo Republic despite a new truce, warning that "the situation remains fragile and tense." The State Department said the US Embassy in Brazzaville no longer could be protected. The capital was reported calm with the truce in effect. But it is due to expire tomorrow when the last French troops withdraw, having completed the evacuation of thousands of foreigners.

Refugees were reported streaming out of western Ugan-da as fighting erupted between government troops and a force of rebels and Hutu militiamen. The Army confirmed the clashes near Bundibugyo, 300 miles west of the capital, Kampala, but withheld all other details. Uganda has accused ousted President Mobu-tu Sese Seko of the former Zaire (now known as Congo) of financing the rebel movement.


"Well done . . . well deserved . . . and it's about time."

- Army Secretary Togo West, at ceremonies making Claudia Kennedy the nation's first female three-star general.

Environmental protection took on a whole new meaning in central Massachusetts when a snapping turtle crawled up to the front door of a US Fish and Wildlife Service office, dug a hole in the earth, laid her eggs in it, and left. Biologists put up stakes to keep the area from being disturbed by groundskeepers, because snappers don't guard their nests. If the eggs aren't found by hungry raccoons or skunks first, the biologists say they should hatch about Sept. 1.

Perhaps on the grounds that past customers hadn't been given enough of a break, two glass company representatives in New York chose an uncoventional method of drumming up additional business, police said. The two were indicted for an alleged smashing spree in which they used slingshots and hammers. Their targets: trendy Manhattan shops that already had contracts with the company to replace broken display windows.

Heard about the purebred golden retriever that won the title of Most Obedient Dog in the US? At a trial in St. Louis sponsored by the American Kennel Club, he prevailed over 89 other competitors by carrying out various commands precisely - without acting up once. The animal's name: Naughty.

The Day's List

How US Public Opinion Ranks New immigrants

Cubans were the least favorably regarded of recent immigrant groups in a nationwide poll of 1,314 US residents - all of them citizens since at least 1980. It was conducted in May for Knight-Ridder newspapers by Princeton Survey Research Associates, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. The results, according to the percentage of respondents expressing a negative opinion of immigrants from the following places:

Europe 12%

Japan 18%

Africa 18%

China 19%

Caribbean islands 29%

Middle East 30%

Mexico 34%

Cuba 35%

- Associated Press

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