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News In Brief

The US

President Clinton put considerable energy into stumping for fellow Democrats in 11th-hour preelection politics. He planned to campaign for Lt. Gov. Don Beyer in Virginia, who trailed Republican candidate Jim Gilmore for governor in late opinion polls. Earlier, Clinton showed support for Ruth Messinger, who is running for New York mayor against incumbent Rudolph Giuliani (R), and Jim McGreevey, who is in a tight race for governor of New Jersey against incumbent Christine Todd Whitman (R). He also stumped for Eric Vitaliano in New York, who is pitted against Vito Fossello (R) for a congressional seat vacated by Republican Susan Molinari.

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Voters will cast ballots tomorrow on several heated issues, including a Washington-State initiative to allow medical use of marijuana and another requiring trigger locks on handguns. In Oregon, voters will reconsider their 1996 law legalizing physician-assisted suicide when they vote on the issue again. In Houston, they will decide whether to ax an affirmative-action program.

The US Supreme Court rejected a challenge to California's Proposition 209, the measure that bans race or gender from being a factor in state hiring or school admission. The court turned away arguments by a coalition of civil rights groups. Analysts say 209 is the most significant repeal of affirmative-action laws in the past 20 years. It is seen as a bellwether for other states.

Israel and the Palestinians headed into peace talks in Washington with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Clinton's special Middle East mediator, Dennis Ross. Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy and Mahmoud Abbas, a senior deputy to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, were to consider an ambitious US agenda that seeks to expand Arafat's hold on areas of the West Bank.

A US Treasury Department official has admitted she destroyed a document showing two Secret Service agents were under internal investigation because their version of "Filegate" differed from the White House's, The Washington Times reported. Emily Coleman told Senate questioners the document she ripped up identified John Libonati and Jeffrey Undercoffer as having committed possible "perjury," the Times said. Coleman said she substituted a document listing the subjects as "unknown." The White House has maintained that more than 900 confidential FBI files on Reagan and Bush administration officials were obtained because of a "bureaucratic snafu" stemming from outdated Secret Service data.

The Senate committee investigating campaign fundraising abuses probably won't recommend specific charges be brought against any individuals, Sen. Fred Thompson (R) of Tennessee said on CNN. The panel chairman added that a decision on whether to proceed with criminal charges would be made by the Justice Department.

After telling analysts it had no plans to increase its buyout offer for ITT Corp., Hilton Hotels announced an $80-a-share bid - $10 more than the original proposal. The Hilton offer still is $2 less than the price ITT agreed to last month from Starwood Lodging, a real-estate investment trust. But Hilton argued its offer contains more cash and is less vulnerable to declines in stock value. ITT's annual shareholders meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12.

Despite running with a shoe-lace that wouldn't stay tied, John Kagwe of Kenya won the annual New York Marathon. Kagwe's time was 2:08:12, 11 seconds slower than the course record. Franziska Rochat-Moser, co-owner of a gourmet restaurant in Lausanne, Switzerland, won the women's division in 2:28:43. The race attracted 30,500 entries.

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More than 200 people were evacuated from damaged homes in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., after a tornado tore through the seaside community. More than two dozen people were injured, but no deaths were reported. Meanwhile, Clinton declared Nebraska a major disaster area because of recent severe snow and rain storms.

The World

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent a negotiating team to Iraq in hopes of defusing tensions over that government's noncooperation with weapons inspectors. The move came as Iraq refused access to at least one team of experts that included an American. In Washington, the Clinton administration rejected Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's demand for "a dialogue" to "put things in their proper perspective."

Thai Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said he plans to resign by the end of the week. He has been under intense pressure to step down because of his coalition government's inability to tackle a deep economic crisis.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger also announced he would step down - at the end of the month. The word came after Transport Minister Jenny Shipley delivered an ultimatum to resign or face losing power in a leadership challenge. Analysts said Bolger's move paves the way for Shipley to replace him as leader of the National Party and to become the country's first woman prime minister. Bolger has held the post since 1990.

Tropical storm Linda, packing heavy rains and 80-m.p.h. winds lashed Vietnam's southern coast. Officials said the storm was the worst to hit the area in almost 100 years, blaming Linda for sinking more than 200 fishing boats, killing dozens of people, and leaving thousands of others homeless.

Saying, "We all have a past, but we must overcome [it] to define our future together," Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis opened a two-day summit on bringing new peace and prosperity to the Balkans. Expectations were low for the meeting on the island of Crete because of deep-seated tensions among such participants as Greece and Turkey, Greece and Macedonia, and Yugoslavia and Albania.

Striking truckers set up more than 100 roadblocks across France, denying access to main roads, fuel depots, and border crossings. The blockades were set up after negotiations failed over the weekend between the Force Ouvriere (FO) trade union and France's main employers group, CNPF. The ruling Socialists and the union accused CNPF of seeking a confrontation to get back at the government for deciding to cut the workweek from 39 to 35 hours.

Despite last-minute problems with a spacesuit, two Russian cosmonauts successfully dismantled a failing solar panel during a six-hour spacewalk outside Mir. Commander Anatoly Solovyov and engineer Pavel Vinogradov also recovered several scientific experiments from the space station's hull, and made adjustments for the installation of a device that will help to keep Mir's air clean. The crew is working to reverse the effects of a collision with an unmanned cargo ship in June.

A study by the World Bank and UN Program on HIV/AIDS recommended that governments increase spending on education and other programs to prevent the disease from spreading. The report said 23 million people are infected with HIV, with 8,500 new cases each day. It also indicated that 90 percent of all cases occur in developing countries, where resources are scarce to confront the problem.

Indonesia announced a series of economic reforms as part of a bailout plan designed by the International Monetary Fund. The measures are aimed at loosening import and export controls to help foreign companies operating in the country. The government also shut 16 insolvent banks over the weekend as it works to secure $33 million in foreign loans. The package is the IMF's second largest. Mexico secured $50 million in loans in 1995.

"We're not interested in a dialogue. We're interested in compliance."

- White House spokesman Mike McCurry, after Iraq said it wanted to 'put things in proper perspective' on cooperating with UN weapons inspections.


It was a truly golden moment for Frank Landstrom when his phone rang and Tom Johnson of Clearwater, Fla., was on the other end of the line. You see, Johnson had found Landstrom's 14-karat, $450 bracelet in the parking lot of a supermarket - two weeks and 35 miles from where a crow had snatched it off his golf cart and flown away. Impossible, you say? Wait, there's more. After returning the jewelry to its owner, Johnson declined a reward. He said: "I didn't want the money; I already had a great story to tell."

In an effort to keep current - not to mention currency - the Salvation Army is committing itself to a new way of collecting charitable donations for the coming holiday season. Attached to its kettles at locations around Akron, Ohio, will be credit-card reading devices so passersby may make contributions using American Express, Visa, or Master Card. A trial run last year netted $5,000. One reason for the move: to lower the risk of theft for curbside bell-ringers.

The Day's List

Phone Industry Now High On Customer Gripes List

"Slamming" and pager and beeper scams were among consumer concerns that propelled telephone companies onto the Better Business Bureau's list of the 10 most complained-about industries for the first time last year. The list, with the number of complaints for each category:

1. Franchised auto dealers 14,668

2. Auto repair shops 9,728

3. Home furnishings stores 7,792

4. Miscellaneous services 7,129

5. Home remodeling contractors 6,829

6. Used-car dealers 6,164

7. Computer sales/service 5,733

8. Telephone companies 5,682

9. Retail stores 4,898

10. Laundries/dry cleaners 4,649

- Council of Better Business Bureaus

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