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Rain fell on northern and central Florida, assisting fire crews but not dousing out-of-control wildfires. There were reports the fires were hurting Florida's $37 billion tourism industry, but officials said the impact on tourism wouldn't be known for a month or two. Wildlife also was suffering from the many blazes. President Clinton was to meet with residents and rescue workers in Volusia County tomorrow.

The White House said Clinton had accepted an invitation to meet with President Yeltsin in Russia in early September, confirming an earlier announcement by the Kremlin. A spokesman said the two leaders could lay the groundwork for talks on further arms cuts, even though the Russian parliament has made no progress toward ratifying the Start II treaty, which would sharply cut the nuclear-warhead stockpiles of both countries. The spokesman said there were no plans yet to add a much-anticipated stop in Northern Ireland to the Russia journey.

Senate majority leader Trent Lott said he was astonished by Clinton's statement in China that the US continued to oppose independence for Taiwan. Lott told reporters that he found the statement "counterproductive" - and Congress might have to "repair the damage." Lott noted that Congress had taken steps to bolster US relations with Taiwan in the past.

Clinton toughened US enforcement of a 1996 law that allows people to keep their health insurance when they switch jobs. The president authorized the Office of Personnel Management to cancel federal contracts with health-insurance companies that violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

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