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News In Brief

The US

Las Vegas promoters scrambled to defend the city's image after at least 11 people were hurt in a stampede following the heavyweight championship fight between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. A spokesman for the MGM Grand hotel said a bottle being broken sounded like gunfire, sending the crowd streaming out of the hotel. In one of boxing's most bizarre matches Tyson, the challenger, was disqualified for biting Holyfield.

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President Clinton was set to continue the budget debate today. He has objected to the GOP tax-cut plan, which his spokesman says would "explode the deficit." Clinton also wants additions such as a child-care tax credit for the poor. Republicans are likely to be flexible, because they want to pass the plan that would include the first sweeping tax cuts since 1981 and promises a balanced budget by 2002.

High-level talks to persuade North Korea to join peace negotiations to formally end the Korean war were set to resume in New York today. Talks broke down in April because North Korea insisted they be linked to getting food aid for its near-starving population. North Korea has since dropped that demand.

US military involvement in the war on drugs was under scrutiny as residents of Redford, Texas, questioned why a group of Marines killed a goat herder near the town May 20. Redford, adjacent to the Mexico border, is known as a transit point for smuggled narcotics, but the victim wasn't known to have any drug connections. The Marines said they acted in self-defense after Esequiel Hernandez Jr. shot at them.

A senior Iranian intelligence officer may have had a role in the 1996 bombing that killed 19 Americans at a military housing complex in Saudi Arabia, The Washington Post reported. A Saudi fugitive now in the US - who has been implicated in the attack - said the Iranian officer helped to plan 1995 attacks on US interests in Saudi Arabia. The attacks never occurred but may have evolved into the 1996 bombing, Hani Abdel-Rahim al-Sayegh said.

Dissidents from Ross Perot's Reform Party said they would form a new political organization. They alleged unfair treatment of former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm, who sought the party's 1996 presidential nomination but lost to Perot. They also said they disapproved of a decision not to field congressional candidates.

Former national security adviser Anthony Lake will get $300,000 to write a book examining threats to the US, according to US News & World Report. He was the White House point man on foreign policy during Clinton's first term and was nominated to be CIA director this year, but he pulled out amid a tough confirmation fight.

Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R) decried as "nuts" a state ethics panel's decision to press charges against him on 32 alleged rule violations for using state cars and planes to raise campaign funds. He faces $480,000 in fines if convicted.

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Vincent "The Chin" Gigante was ordered to come to court in a jacket and tie. The reputed head of New York's Genovese crime family has been attending his racketeering trial unshaven and in a windbreaker. Observers also say he doesn't appear to understand the testimony. His lawyers claim he is "demented." The government calls the defense a ruse.

Cuban President Fidel Castro may remain in power for years to come, according to a poll of Cuban-Americans in Florida. Just 36 percent of respondents said a major leadership change would take place in Cuba within five years, The Miami Herald reported. In 1992, 77 percent said change was imminent.

A military airplane hangar was transformed into a ballroom for the proms of Grand Forks, N.D., high schoolers. The town's two high schools were damaged by April floods and couldn't hold the dances. So the nearby Air Force base offered its hangar. Designers donated dresses, florists gave free flowers, and the popular band Soul Asylum was imported for the occasion.

The World

Senior British and Chinese leaders, millions of Hong Kong residents, and thousands of visiting dignitaries and tourists were counting down the hours until the colony is transferred to Beijing's control at midnight tonight. The handover was to be preceded by a meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

Despite attempts at intimidation and the late delivery of ballots to many polling places, Albanians voted for a new parliament. Supporters of both the ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Socialists said they had been pressured by armed men to change allegiances. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other election monitors conceded the vote was unlikely to be fair, despite calling it a crucial step in restoring order to the Balkan nation. President Sali Berisha and Socialist leader Fatos Nano said they would refuse to work together in a coalition government.

Israeli political leaders were adjusting to the surprise announcement that hard-line Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon had met secretly with a senior Palestinian Authority official close to President Arafat. Sharon is expected to be named finance minister this week and has demanded to join Prime Minister Netanyahu's inner circle of advisers. But he has been a leading opponent of peace with the Pal-estinians and has called Arafat a "war criminal." The announcement followed a rally in Jerusa-lem by an estimated 50,000 Israelis calling on Netanyahu to quit and schedule new elections.

The crew of Mir, prepared for repairs that officials said would be difficult and could require the Russian space station to be abandoned if they were unsuccessful. The repairs were to include a space walk by Russia's two cosmonauts trying to install a modified hatch in Mir's scientific module, allowing cables to tap electricity from its solar collectors.

A new truce in the Congo Republic was broken almost as soon as it was announced, reports from the capital, Brazzaville, said. Gunfire was heard in the city, and rival government and militia forces claimed control of the international airport. But the area was spared the heavy shelling that rocked it last week.

An estimated 100,000 people jammed Mexico City's famous Zocalo in a show of support for leftist opposition mayoral candidate Cuauhtmoc Crdenas. Late opinion polls suggested his lead over rival candidates was nearly insurmountable in the first popular election for the office in this century. Previously, the mayorship of the capital was an appointed position. After the Crdenas rally, perhaps 70,000 more supporters gathered in the same square for a campaign appearance by another opposition candidate, Carlos Castillo Peraza. The election is scheduled for July 6.

At least 9,000 Afghan refugees crossed into formerly Soviet Turkmenistan to escape intense fighting in their homeland, the Red Cross-Red Crescent federation reported. It said Turkmenian authorities were confining the Afghans to a desert area where daytime temperatures reach 113 degrees F. The influx was reported to be the first of its type as Afghanistan's Taliban militia battled for control of strategic northern areas with the forces of opposition Gen. Abdul Malik.

Another round of evacuations to a "safe zone" followed the latest eruption from the Sou-friere Hills volcano on Montserrat. Helicopter searchers spotted three people whose villages had been engulfed by lava flows, but 19 others remained missing. Rescue officials complained that their teams were "picking up the same people repeatedly" as evacuated villagers ignored warnings and returned home to tend to their farms and livestock. Meanwhile, the British government pledged $11.3 million in relief assistance to Montserrat.


"It was going to be the party with no special interest money. Now, special interest money runs the Reform Party - Ross Perot's money."

- Nelisse Muga of San Diego, on why she and other dissidents are leaving the Reform Party to start their own.

Journalists are supposed to report news, not make it themselves. But in New York two reporters have done the opposite. New York Post writer Andy Soltis beat IBM's Deep Blue Jr. computer in an exhibition chess match. And "60 Minutes" investigative reporter Morley Safer may have to answer - instead of ask - questions because of a traffic violation. He paid a fine, but addressed it to "the idiots at Town of Cornwall Justice Court." The court wants him to come in and explain why.

School administrators in Dublin decided Michelle Hartnett should be disciplin-ed for violating the rules, so she was sent home. Her offense: using a complete English sentence during an intensive three-week course in the Irish language. What did she say? "Pardon me," after failing to stifle a sneeze.

Some students get to college via loans. Others earn their tuition by holding jobs on the side. Zachary Grasley chose a different route. The St. Johns, Mich., resident plans to enroll at Saginaw Valley State this fall with the proceeds from a two-story lakefront home that he built himself. His mother borrow-ed $181,000 to finance the project. It sold for $210,000.

The Day's List

Nuclear Power Plants Rated as Troublesome

Indian Point Unit 3 at Buchanan, N.Y., corrected safety problems dating back to June 1993 and has been removed from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's list of power plants requiring special monitoring. But the agency says 13 other reactors must be watched until their performance improves. The plants, their operators, and locations:

Crystal River Unit 3, Florida Power Corp., Crystal River, Fla.

Dresden Units 2 and 3, Commonwealth Edison, Morris, Ill.

LaSalle Units 1 and 2, Commonwealth Edison, Ottawa, Ill.

Zion Units 1 and 2, Commonwealth Edison, near Chicago

Maine Yankee, Main Yankee Atomic Power, Wiscasset, Maine

Millstone Units 1-3, Northeast Utilities, Waterford, Conn.

Salem Units 1 and 2, Public Service Electric & Gas, Salem, N.J.

- Associated Press

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