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News In Brief

The US

The Mars Pathfinder mission will continue much longer than originally scheduled, space officials said. Nominally set for one week for the rover and a month for the lander craft, the mission is expected to go on for several more weeks for the little Mars buggy and months more for the lander that transmits data to Earth. Meanwhile, the mission got back on track after losing a day when the rover became stuck against the rock dubbed "Yogi."

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FBI investigators believe that most of $2 million China allegedly budgeted to increase its political influence in the US was spent on legal activities, US News and World Report reported. It said the FBI has no evidence linking the Chinese government to funds illegally funnel- ed to presidential campaigns. The FBI did not immediate comment on the report.

The House voted to reject a plan to replaced the National Endowment for the Arts with a system of block grants to states and localities. The 271-to-155 decision came a day after the House voted to abolish the NEA. The block-grant proposal was foiled by Democrats, by moderate Republicans who refused to vote to shut down the NEA, and by conservative Republicans who balked at continuing any federal arts funding.

The Coast Guard seized a boat that was to lead an exile protest flotilla toward Cuba after its pilots would not promise to stay out of Cuban territorial waters. Ramon Saul Sanchez, head of the Democracy Movement, had planned to lead 30 boats from Florida to the edge of Cuban waters - then proceed alone to the spot where 41 people died after a Cuban warship rammed and sank their boat July 13, 1994. He was to drop a rose and an order from the Organization of American States urging Fidel Castro to raise the boat.

George Tenet was confirmed by the Senate as the new CIA director. Tenet has been deputy director since July 1995 and acting director since December. He will succeed John Deutch, who left after 20 months on the job.

The Senate strongly urged - but did not require - the US to pull out its troops from Bosnia by June 30, 1998, giving the White House the flexibility it has sought for the peace-keeping mission. The House has voted to cut off funds for the troops at the end of June, despite White House arguments that a mandatory date could endanger US troops, jeopardize their mission, and undermine US credibility with European allies. It appeared the two houses would have to reconcile their differences in committee.

The North American Free Trade Agreement has had a modestly positive impact on the US economy, according to the Clinton administration. An executive summary of a NAFTA report obtained by The Associated Press says the accord has helped to create jobs in the US and has enhanced labor rights and environmental protection in Mexico.

Inflation at the wholesale level fell for a sixth straight month in June, setting a record for the 50 years the government has kept track, the Labor Department reported. Producer prices are reported falling at a 3.4 percent annual rate so far this year.

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US Rep. David Bonior (D) of Michigan was arrested during a protest supporting locked-out Detroit News and Free Press workers. Bonior, the House minority whip, was one of six labor, religious, and political leaders who entered the Detroit News building to demand renewed bargaining and rehiring of former employees. A strike by 2,500 workers began July 13, 1995, and ended when unions made an unconditional offer in February to return to work. The newspapers said they would only rehire former strikers as jobs became available. The National Labor Relations Board has asked a US judge to force the them to rehire the workers immediately. A hearing is set for July 31.

The proposed $368.5 billion tobacco settlement may permit price fixing, Federal Trade Commission chairman Robert Pitofsky said. The accord will apparently allow tobacco companies to decide how much the settlement is costing them and raise prices accordingly, he explained. "Let's do it through a tax where the money goes to the Treasury, as opposed to price fixing," Pitofsky said.

The World

Uneasy calm settled over Northern Ireland following tense but peaceful Protestant marches. Although the Protestant Orange Order agreed not to parade through Catholic neighborhoods, riots erupted in Belfast and Londonderry afterward, damaging many businesses. Nonetheless, Catholic leader John Hume urg-ed all sides in the province's sectarian conflict to use the Orange Order decision as a means to build new momentum for peace.

Cambodian co-Premier Hun Sen called for international inspection of the country's human-rights record, "free and fair" general elections, and for all newspapers - even those opposed to him - to resume publication. Critics said the moves were aimed at promoting an image of legitimacy for his new regime after fighting that ousted his rival, Norodom Ranariddh.

Palestinian journalists in the West Bank complained that they were being targeted as Israeli troops fought with demonstrators in Hebron. Fourteen people were hurt, five of them photographers or sound technicians covering the burning of Israeli flags. An Army spokesman said soldiers had standing orders not to target journalists.

Senior US officials toured Eastern Europe over the weekend to discuss NATO expansion policy. Secretary of State Albright said the Baltic states - Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia - were eligible to join the alliance, despite concerns that such a move could jeopardize a recently signed cooperation agreement between NATO and the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Cohen told Bulgaria's leaders that continuing democratic reforms were essential to NATO membership.

Separate explosions that damaged two of Cuba's top luxury hotels were blamed on "people and materials" from the US. A Danish tourist and several employees were hurt in the blasts, which occurred minutes apart in the Capri and Nacional hotels in central Havana. No claims of responsibility were reported, but suspicion fell on anti-Castro exile groups attempting to discourage tourism - now Cuba's leading source of foreign exchange.

Spain's Basque separatist group, ETA, faced a backlash after following through on its threat to kill a popular politician. ETA kidnapped Miguel Angel Blanco, demanding that 450 of its jailed members be transferred to prisons in the Basque region in exchange for his release. When the deadline wasn't met, Blanco was executed despite appeals from hundreds of thousands of Spaniards and Pope John Paul II. Police in Pamplona fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up clashes between ETA supporters and angry opponents. Above,.

The new government of the Congo, formerly Zaire, said it would emphasize agriculture, fishing, and cattle breeding as its cornerstones of economic growth. The plan, unveiled after a two-week development conference, also called for employing technology "adapted to our social and cultural context." Under ex-President Mobutu, mining was the keystone of the economy.

China will hold a trade fair next year to modernize its military technology, a government newspaper reported. It said invitations would be extended to foreign electronics firms to participate in the event, which will feature radar systems, computers, and other equipment. Analysts say China's military technology lags far behind the West.

India's commercial capital was attempting to return to normal after two days of violence. It began after someone in a Bombay suburb draped a garland of shoes - a major insult - around the statue of a low-caste hero, touching off a riot. Police fired on the protesters, killing 10. Two more people died in later rioting. Protesters called a one-day strike, blocked trains, and forced businesses to close.


"It doesn't matter where a country is on the map, they are eligible for membership in NATO."

- Secretary of State Albright, on the possibility of Baltic states Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia joining the alliance.

No soup for you! That's what a German TV network told the US sitcom, "Seinfeld." It cancelled, saying Germans couldn't relate to the show that brought viewers the Soup Nazi. Seinfeld's replacement: reruns of "Hogan's Heroes" -- the 1960s-vintage series about a bumbling Nazi prison camp.

You've heard of leaking faucets. But a leaking river? There is one: near Sydney, Australia. The Cataract River loses 330,000 gallons of water a day because of cracks in its bed from coal mining below. What's more, methane gas seeping through the cracks causes bubbles on the surface that flame at the touch of a lighted match.

Every time a meeting of the parks commission in the small town of Yachats, Ore., runs late, one of its members gets up and walks out. It's not that commis-sioner William Kennelly-Ullman is disgusted, mind you. He simply has to be home by bedtime. William is 12.

The Day's List

Survey Ranks US Hotels, Resorts, Spas, and Inns

Factors like room quality, service, dining, and cost were considered in a recent Zagat survey,.based on comments and ratings from more than 12,000 frequent travelers: The rankings:

Best hotels

1. Mansion on Turtle Creek Dallas

2. Bel-Air Los Angeles

3. Windsor Court New Orleans

Best resorts

1. Lodge at Koele Lanai, Hawaii

2. Four Seasons Resort Maui, Hawaii

3. Ritz-Carlton Naples, Fla.

Best spas

1. Golden Door Escondido, Calif.

2. Canyon Ranch Phoenix

3. Canyon Ranch Lenox, Mass.

Best inns

1. Twin Farms Barnard, Vt.

2. The Point Saranac Lake, N.Y.

3. Chteau du Sureau Oakhurst, Calif.

- Associated Press

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