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News In Brief

The US

There were no signs of a break in the nine-day-old UPS strike, despite a meeting of company and union officials with Labor Secretary Alexis Herman. Teamsters president Ron Carey said he would go back to the bargaining table only for "serious" talks. On NBC's "Today" show, UPS chief James Kelly warned the Teamsters they could lose some 15,000 jobs if the strike lasts two weeks. UPS took out full-page ads in today's editions of several newspapers, calling on the union to let its members vote on the latest UPS proposal.

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The AFL-CIO launched a $5 million media blitz designed to improve the public image of the labor movement and make workers more likely to support unions. The ads, reportedly developed before the UPS strike, show members praising the benefits of union membership. Last year 14.9 percent of workers belonged to unions, down from 23.8 percent in 1977. Separately, the 13-million-member AFL-CIO was expected to announce financial support for the Teamsters.

A protracted strike by UPS workers may help to persuade the Federal Reserve not to raise interest rates, even though the strike is certain to hurt the economy, analysts said. The strike could delay a widely expected pickup in economic growth in the third quarter and prolong a period of steady growth with low inflation, they noted.

At least 20 Mexicans and nine US truckers were arrested for allegedly trafficking cocaine from Mexico to areas as far north as New York, the Justice Department said. Drug-enforcement officials said the arrests show Mexico's drug barons are moving closer to eclipsing Colombian traffickers and controlling the US market. Recent US efforts to target drug routes once controlled by the late Mexican drug boss Amado Carillo-Fuentes have led to 89 arrests in 10 cities.

Nearly 1,200 people died while illegally crossing from Mexico into the US between 1993 and 1996, the Center for Immigration Research at the University of Houston said. Although drowning and auto-pedestrian accidents were the main hazards, fatalities from dehydration and exposure reportedly are rising because would-be immigrants are trying to cross the border in more remote areas to escape stepped-up detection efforts.

US airports were ordered to test their low-altitude warning systems, following disclosure that a system failure may have been a factor in the recent crash of Korean Air Flight 801 on Guam. The systems are designed to issue an alert if a jet is flying too low. Controllers on the ground then warn the pilot.

US Rep. Jay Kim (R) of California pleaded guilty to accepting $145,000 in illegal campaign contributions between 1992 and 1996, including $50,000 from a Taiwanese businessman. Kim faces up to three years in jail and more than $400,000 in fines when his sentence is pronounced in October. Despite the guilty plea, Kim's lawyer said the three-term congressman plans to remain in office and seek reelection in 1998.

Five groups of Pacific coast steelhead salmon gained protected status under the Endangered Species Act. The National Marine Fisheries Service listed steelhead in the upper Columbia River in Washington State and southern California as "endangered," meaning they are at risk of becoming extinct in the foreseeable future. Steelhead in the Snake River basin were listed as "threatened," or likely to be endangered. The listing prohibits anyone from killing the steelhead or harming their habitat.

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Productivity gains at US businesses outside the agricultural sector slowed in the second quarter and were slower in the first quarter than previously estimated, the Labor Department reported. Nonfarm productivity rose at a 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate between April and June, down from a 1.4 percent rate in the first three months, the agency said. It previously estimated the first quarter's rate increase at 2.6 percent.

The drinking water of 4.3 million people in nine states had levels of pesticides exceeding national standards during the past year, the Environmental Working Group said. Its report, based on US and state data, lists Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio as having areas where tap water contained concentrations of pesticides that exceeded standards set by Congress last year. The law bars use of pesticides on crops if they threaten to leach into drinking water and exceed the standards.

The World

US special envoy Richard Holbrooke conceded the Clinton administration was behind schedule in implementing the Bosnian peace accords. But the State Department refused to call his latest mission to the Balkans a failure. A spokesman did say, however, that Holbrooke won a pledge from Serbian President Milosevic only "to try" to keep indicted war-crimes suspect Radovan Kar-adzic from acting on behalf of the Bosnian Serb sub-state. Meanwhile, the sub-state's top court was to rule on whether the dissolution of parliament by Kar-adzic's rival and presidential successor, Biljana Plavsic, was legal.

Israel lifted restrictions on agricultural goods leaving the Gaza Strip after US special envoy Dennis Ross urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to ease punitive measures imposed on Palestinians in the wake of the July 30 suicide bombings in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, some 5,000 Palestinians marched through the West Bank town of Nablus chanting anti-Israel slogans and burning an effigy of Ross.

Cambodian co-Premier Hun Sen conferred with King Sihan-ouk in China (where the latter is undergoing medical treatment) apparently to seek approval for last month's violent coup that ousted the king's son, Prince Ranariddh.

Hard-line members of parliament threatened to block two nominations to the Cabinet of Iran's new president, Mohammad Khatami. They oppose Ataollah Mohajerani, chosen to head the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, for advocating talks with the US in 1994, and Interior Minister-designate Abdollah Nouri, who would carry out proposed reforms of Iran's strict religious code. Despite receiving wide support from women in his election in May, Khatami's Cabinet list included no females.

No antigovernment rallies will be held in Kenya for the next 10 days, an alliance of opposition groups announced. The decision gives religious leaders time to mediate between President Daniel arap Moi's Kenya African National Union and opposition leaders who demand constitutional reforms prior to elections that must be held this year. The alliance was widely criticized for violence that erupted during protests in Nairobi late last week.

Apparently for the first time in British history, less than half the public supports the monarchy, a widely respected opinion survey found. In the ICM poll, published in The Guardian, only 48 percent of respondents said they believed the country would be worse off without the royal family. The newspaper said the outcome was due to repeated news stories about the behavior of royal family members.

Senior government officials in Thailand asked for more time to address the country's deep economic problems, but did promise a shakeup of Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's Cabinet. Calls for reform and for Chavalit's resignation have been mounting as those woes intensify. The government is expected to sign a $16 billion international loan agreement Aug. 21.

Turkey's parliament was expected to vote today on controversial legislation that would have the effect of closing Islamic junior high schools. The government-sponsored measure, bitterly opposed by powerful Muslim factions, would cost an estimated $613 million to implement over the next three years. It was a key element of the military's demand for a crackdown on Islamic activism that was rising under ex-Prime Minister Erbakan.

The UN appealed for urgent food aid to avert famine in Tanzania, saying the government in Dar-es-Salaam had a reserve of just 17,000 tons of grain for a population of almost 30 million people. It blamed inadequate rainfall for an expected poor harvest that begins next month.


"In Bosnia, no matter how much progress you make, you still have a long way to go."

- State Department spokesman James Rubin, on reports that US envoy Richard Holbrooke had little to show for his latest effort to reconcile the hostile parties to the Dayton peace accords.

Despite the experience of an Italian tourist, travel agencies report no intention of offering vacations to Yemen that include being kidnapped by antigovernment tribesmen. Giorgio Bonanomi, abducted earlier this month, said such packages would be a "fantastic" idea because he was treated well, was fed exotic fruits, and was never afraid for his safety.


It was with little joy that Army Lt. Col. David Hampton and his family transferred from Fort Sill, Okla., to a new assignment in Newport, R.I. Not because the historic seaport didn't appeal to them. But Simon, the family cat, had vanished while movers were packing their belongings. Twenty-two days later, though, the story ended happily when Hampton pried open a crate in the new home and found Simon weak from hunger, but otherwise well.


Police in Oradell, N.J., rearrested a not-too-clever prison inmate after he sneak-ed away from an outdoor work detail. But rather than losing himself in the area's densely populated cities, he couldn't resist burgling a house. Vigilant neighbors called the cops as he went door-to-door, clutching bottles of liquor and wristwatches and asking for directions because he didn't know where he was.


The Day's List

New No. 1 at Box Office: It's 'Conspiracy Theory'

Industry analysts say women ticket-buyers helped the most in pushing the new Julia Roberts/ Mel Gibson thriller to the top of the earnings charts, ending a two-week run there for "Air Force One." The top-grossing films for the Aug. 8-10 weekend, with their estimated revenues (in millions of dollars):

1. "Conspiracy Theory" $19.4

2. "Air Force One" $18.2

3. "Spawn" $9.1

4. "George of the Jungle" $6.3

5. "Men in Black" $5.7

6. "Picture Perfect" $5.0

7. "Contact" $4.4

8. "How to Be a Player" $4.1

9. "Air Bud" $3.5

10. "Nothing to Lose" $2.8

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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