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News In Brief

The US

A House panel is to vote today on whether Attorney General Janet Reno should be cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over memos from her top investigators recommending an outside prosecutor look into campaign-finance abuses. Calling a press conference after a Government Reform and Oversight Committee hearing on the matter, Reno said releasing the documents to the panel would threaten an ongoing investigation. A contempt citation, if approved by the committee, would require a vote of the full House.

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President Clinton's credibility is badly tattered, but the public has little appetite for impeachment, a survey released by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press indicated. Sixty-six percent of respondents contacted late last week said Clinton has probably or definitely lied in connection with the Monica Lewinsky matter. That compares with 49 percent in February. But 57 percent said they would have an unfavorable opinion of members of Congress who supported impeachment hearings.

Talks aimed at settling state lawsuits against the tobacco industry are at an impasse, North Carolina Attorney General Mike Easley said. During negotiations last week in New York, there was some progress, Easley said, but talks expected to resume Tuesday were called off - and no new direct negotiations have been scheduled.

Michigan's Democratic gubernatorial primary was won by Geoffrey Fieger, a wealthy attorney best known as the legal defender of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He narrowly defeated Larry Owen, a lawyer who had courted unions and party leaders. In a Kansas primary, Gov. Bill Graves easily defeated a socially conservative GOP challenger. And in Missouri, Attorney General Jay Nixon won the Democratic nomination for the US Senate seat held by two-term Republican Christopher Bond.

The House rejected a GOP effort to cut funding for the Legal Services Corp. A 255-to-170 vote restored $109 million removed at committee level, raising to $250 million the amount that would be available to the program that uses US funds, donations, and attorneys' pro-bono time to provide legal aid to poor people.

The government offered to reimburse the Teamsters Union some $4 million to help pay for oversight of a second leadership election. The offer was submitted in a Manhattan court where the union had asked for funds to pay for supervision of a new election to replace former union President Ron Carey. His narrow win over James P. Hoffa in 1996 was thrown out because of illegal fund-raising by his campaign. No date has been set.

Efforts to fund the International Monetary Fund were seen benefiting from a division in the GOP House leadership. An IMF package approved by the Senate in March had appeared all but dead in the House. But aides to GOP Conference chairman John Boehner said he is likely to back the full $18 billion IMF proposal if the agency agrees to reforms. Aides also said support for the proposal was growing within the conference, despite opposition from House leader Richard Armey and majority whip Tom DeLay.

The House approved and sent to Clinton a bill clarifying credit-union membership. In February, the Supreme Court ruled that credit unions had expanded illegally for the past 16 years by taking in members from nonuniform groups. The new measure would allow credit unions to take in unrelated groups if each has less than 3,000 people. The president said he would sign it into law.

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A new $20 bill that goes into circulation next month was unveiled by the Treasury Department. To foil counterfeiters, the new bill has a watermark - visible when held to the light - in the shape of the portrait of Andrew Jackson on its face. It also has a plastic security thread that glows under ultraviolet light and, in the lower-right corner, a large numeral printed in color-shifting ink - green when viewed straight on, but black when it is held at an angle.

The World

Iraq's rubber-stamp parliament unanimously adopted a resolution urging President Saddam Hussein to stop cooperating with UN weapons inspectors. Meanwhile, chief arms inspector Richard Butler accused Iraq of concealing biological weapons after cutting short a visit to the country with the collapse of this week's talks. Butler said although Iraq was close to meeting its obligations in destroying chemical weapons and missiles, it had "never told us anything like the truth" about biological weapons.

The European Union sent observers to verify reports of mass graves found in a Kosovo town where Serb forces defeated ethnic Albanian separatists last month. Three newspapers from Austria, Germany, and Sweden said graves containing more than 500 bodies were found near Orahovac. Serbs reportedly killed 1,000 civilians in the area.

British Columbia's Nisga'a Indians drew closer to their century-old goal of independence, signing a controversial treaty with the provincial and Canadian governments. The treaty, British Columbia's first comprehensive land claims settlement this century, is expected to set the tone for talks with nearly 50 other tribes. The Nisga'a are to receive $126 million, title to 745 square miles of Nass Valley land, rights to its resources, and the ability to pass laws and operate their own court system. The accord must be approved by the tribe, Canada's Parliament, and British Columbia's provincial legislature.

Congo's foreign minister vowed to topple President Laurent Kabila, accusing him of corruption and nepotism. Bizima Karaha announced he had joined up with Army mutineers, who had denounced Kabila's "dictatorship" and reportedly captured two major towns in the eastern Congo. Kabila said neighboring Rwanda had sent troops to help the ethnic Tutsi rebels.

Colombia suffered the worst wave of politically motivated violence in many months. In a nationwide show of strength just before a new president was to take office, Marxist guerrillas coordinated raids that had killed at least 76 people. Officials said there were 27 separate attacks in more than half the country's 32 provinces. The heaviest death toll was reported in La Uribe, in the country's central Meta province.

Cambodian leader Hun Sen's party was declared the winner in last week's elections, but the announcement did not stop the country's political violence and opposition claims of voting fraud. The ruling Cambodian People's Party won 41.4 percent of the vote, while the opposition party of Prince Norodom Ranariddh took 31.7 percent. Government troops were reportedly battling soldiers loyal to Ranariddh near the Thai border, causing hundreds of refugees to cross the frontier, Thai military officers said.

Two Israeli settlers were ambushed and killed during a patrol of their West Bank settlement, prompting hard-line Israeli politicians to demand that Prime Minister Benjamin freeze Mideast peace talks. Unknown gunmen killed two Jewish students in the Yitzhar settlement, which is surrounded by Palestinian villages.

Stock markets tumbled from Asia and Europe after big losses on the New York Stock Exchange where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 300 points Tuesday.


"They've prolonged this agony, this process, by never quite telling us the whole story."

- Chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler, on his efforts to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq.

Hit hard by a recession, Japanese candymakers are reportedly turning to the country's male population to boost flagging sales. The struggling chocolatiers are trying to woo the men who up to now have preferred to wrap themselves in a Samurai-warrior image rather than unwrap dainty chocolates wrapped in pink foil. The new strategy: appeal to their latent machismo by offering high-quality, bitter sweets, wrapped in gold paper in dark-toned boxes.

It's summer, and you buy a cantaloupe to cut up in fruit salad or maybe to enjoy one slice at a time with breakfast. How long do you expect it to last? Maybe four to five days at most? Now imagine taking home the specimen Bill Rogerson harvested in North Carolina. Defying the withering heat, the Robersonville resident's garden produced a muskmelon weighing 72 pounds. Will that qualify for the next Guinness Book of World Records? It well may; Rogerson is the defending champion in this category. Last year his prize tipped the scale at 63-1/4 pounds.

The Day's List

Texas Imprisons Many - Louisiana, Oklahoma Too

The US reportedly trails only Russia in the share of its citizens behind bars - and among US states, Texas trails no one. In fact, according to the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, at the end of 1997 Texas (140,729) and California (157,547) together accounted for more than a quarter of all state-prison inmates. The 10 states with the highest incarceration rates and the number of prisoners sentenced for more than one year per 100,000 state residents:

1. Texas 717

2. Louisiana 672

3. Oklahoma 617

4. South Carolina 536

5. Mississippi 531

6. Nevada 518

7. Alabama 500

8. Arizona 484

9. California 475

10. Georgia 472

- Associated Press

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