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News In Brief

The US

A new opinion poll showed a drop in President Clinton's job-approval rating. In the survey, conducted by Democrat Celinda Lake and Republican Ed Goeas, 56 percent approved of the job Clinton is doing - down from the mid-60s before his Aug. 17 admission of an affair with a White House intern. Meanwhile, the president met with Senate minority leader Gephardt and other House Democrats and apologized for his actions in an effort to mend relations with restive party members. He was then to fly to Florida for a fresh test of his ability to raise funds - this time for a gubernatorial candidate.

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A 90-day inquiry into whether Clinton illegally benefited from ads that reinforced Democratic themes but were funded by the Democratic National Committee was opened by Attorney General Janet Reno. Clinton had a direct hand in shaping some of the ads - and gave them credit for his early success in opinion polls. The new review is the first of three current preliminary probes to specifically name the president.

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr said he would not give Clinton and his attorneys a preview of his much-anticipated report to Congress. Starr said he would send the document to Congress "under seal, for the House to release as it sees fit." Meanwhile, top House Republican and Democrats agreed on procedures for handling Starr's report and pledged to put aside politics in addressing it.

Nuclear-arms talks with India and Pakistan are hampered by inflexible US sanctions, the Clinton administration warned. Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat called on Congress to give the president the power to waive the penalties.

A tongue-in-cheek campaign by a Vermont dairy farmer highlighted primary voting in a number of states. Fred Tuttle, who ran with a $16 budget to allow for a GOP protest vote, defeated millionaire corporate-consultant Jack McMullen and was nominated to challenge Sen. Patrick Leahy (D). Elsewhere, Sen. Judd Gregg (R) of New Hampshire easily defeated state Rep. Phil Weber. He will face George Condodemetraky, the lone Democratic candidate. In Arizona, Gov. Jane Hull (R) received 77 percent of the vote in a contest with a political newcomer and will face Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson (D), who ran unopposed. Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) prevailed against token primary opposition. His opponent will be Ed Garvey, former leader of the pro-football players' union.

The Justice Department said it would seek a court injunction to force Northwest and one of its commuter affiliates to reinstate flights to 13 small communities left without air service since a strike began Aug. 31.

Researchers have come up with a way to help couples have babies of the sex they choose, The New York Times reported. It said scientists at the Genetics and IVF Institute in Fairfax, Va., had developed a method to sort sperm cells according to DNA content before artificial insemination. Early, limited testing reportedly indicates a 65- to 90-percent success rate - with the male rate somewhat lower than the female.

Researchers reported a 5 percent decrease in minority enrollment at medical schools in 1996. Dr. David Carlisle of the University of California Los Angeles said in an American Journal of Public Health article that between 1990 and 1994, the number of new minority medical-school students grew by 8.3 percent a year - but the growth halted in 1995 before decreasing in 1996. He and his colleagues blamed the reversal on lawsuits and a national retreat from affirmative action.

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A US appeals court in Denver unanimously upheld the conviction and death sentence of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh for the 1995 federal-building attack that killed 168 people.

By hitting his 62nd home run of the season, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark Mc-Gwire broke one of the most storied records in professional sports.

The World

Russians waited for word on whose name President Boris Yeltsin would decide to submit as his prime minister-designate for the third and final vote in parliament. Twice-rejected Viktor Chernomyrdin and acting Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov were summoned to meet with him, but it was unclear whether either would be his choice. The opposition Communist Party attempted to take advantage of Yeltsin's indecision, announcing it was ready to "take responsibility" for forming a government.

Anger mounted against the regime of Cambodian Premier Hun Sen after another day of violence in the capital, Phnom Penh. Police targeted Buddhist monks, reportedly killing one and wounding two others near the US embassy and the residence of opposition leader Norodom Ranariddh. Water cannon, clubs, and cattle prods were used to scatter demonstrators demanding the ouster of Hun Sen, whose electoral victory in late July they say was tainted by fraud.

No serious incidents were reported, despite the presence of thousands of protesters, as Indonesian President B.J. Habibie officially opened a sports stadium in Surabaya, the country's No. 2 city. Most of the protesters demanded that Habibie act to restrain the surging prices of staples or resign. He urged critics to be patient, saying "losing patience ... can make the situation more difficult." But student leaders vowed to mount new street demonstrations calling for greater economic and political reform. Meanwhile, the government's justice minister called for the execution of Indonesians caught trying to disrupt food supplies.

Police dragged a political dissident screaming from the lobby of a Beijing hotel, where UN human rights chief Mary Robinson was about to deliver an address on democracy. Robinson said she raised the incident with Chinese authorities, who assured her that the dissident already had been freed. But relatives said Chu Hailan, the wife of a jailed labor activist, had not been heard from since her arrest. Government officials have said Robinson's schedule was too full to allow meetings with dissidents, although her visit was to last 10 days.

A vote was imminent in the UN Security Council on a new resolution that would punish Iraq for cutting off cooperation with international weapons inspectors. The measure would suspend periodic reviews of economic sanctions that have been in place since 1990. The suspension would remain in effect until Iraq rescinds its Aug. 5 decision and would leave the Baghdad government with no means for ending the sanctions, as it has repeatedly demanded. The council is bound not to lift them until its experts certify that Iraq's arsenal of strategic weapons is destroyed.

The highest price yet offered for a professional sports team was accepted by directors of England's Manchester United soccer club. But the $1 billion bid by Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB satellite TV company met with immediate hostility from fans, legislators, and journalists concerned that it would cause a competitive imbalance on the field and in telecasts of games.

With elections for president less than a month away, Brazil's government announced $3.5 billion in emergency spending cuts between now and the end of the fiscal year. Further cuts in social and infrastructure spending will be imposed in 1999 under the plan to try to insulate the government's economic-recovery program from further battering by the spreading global recession. Critics, however, noted that an earlier plan begun last November was never fully implemented, causing the government's budget gap to rise to 7 percent of gross domestic product.


"His eyes watered, and I just looked at him and we shook hands ... and that's worth a million bucks." - Tim Forneris, on returning Mark McGwire's 62nd home-run ball, whose value has been estimated at $1 million.

Yes, that's a map that Sylvie Deschamps (l.) and her daughter, Sarah Shah, are studying as they trudge through a cornfield near Albuquerque, N.M. But they're not lost. Or, at least, they hope not. The women are trying to negotiate a maze hewn into the maize of Rio Grande Community Farms. The puzzle, open to the public weekends until Oct. 31, is in the shape of Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent of Aztec and Toltec tradition. Its two miles of trails supposedly take two hours to complete, even with an occasional misstep. But just in case, volunteers on a bridge above the 8-foot-high stalks keep track of everyone.

The Day's List

You're a Working Mom? Check Out These Firms

In compiling its annual list of 100 best companies for women employed outside the home, Working Mother magazine considered for the first time whether employers gave special training to managers and whether their pay was linked to effectiveness in handling issues important to such women. In addition to pay and child-care benefits, the magazine noted whether work-family programs were well used. The top 100 companies aren't ranked, but the following are considered "exceptionally progressive":

Citicorp/Citibank, New York

Glaxo Wellcome, Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Eli Lilly, Indianapolis

IBM, Armonk, N.Y.

Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J.

MBNA America Bank, Wilmington, Del.

Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station, N.J.

NationsBank, Charlotte, N.C.

SAS Institute, Cary, N.C.

Xerox, Stamford, Conn.

- Associated Press

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