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News In Brief

The US

The White House issued two rebuttals to the special prosecutor's report. In rejecting charges of perjury, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and misuse of power, President Clinton's lawyers characterized Kenneth Starr's 445-page document as a crude smear campaign designed to embarrass and bring down the president.

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Clinton's job-approval ratings held steady amid signs they might become irrelevant. A CNN/Gallup poll conducted Friday found 62 percent of respondents approving the way he was doing his job, a rise of 2 percentage points from Thursday, the day after Starr delivered his report to Congress. Newsweek found Clinton's job-approval rating unchanged at 61 percent. But ABC found 57 percent saying he should be impeached if he encouraged Monica Lewinsky to lie about their relationship. In the CNN/Gallup poll, 6 out of 10 said the president should not be impeached.

An interfaith prayer breakfast offered Clinton another opportunity to seek forgiveness. And contrition was also the theme later Friday at what was described as a candid, emotional meeting of Clinton and his Cabinet.

Northwest Airlines and leaders of its striking pilots union ratified a new four-year contract, ending a walkout that has grounded planes since Aug. 28. Officials said the carrier should have one-fourth of its scheduled flights in operation by Wednesday and should be at full speed by Sept. 21. In addition to a 12 percent salary increase over four years, pilots won a phasing out of a two-tier wage scale that pays new hires at a lower rate, a union official said.

An $80 billion, five-year GOP tax-cut plan was unveiled by House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Archer of Texas. The proposal would be funded by projected budget surpluses, a move strongly opposed by the White House. It features a new standard tax deduction for married couples - estimated at an average of $243 per return - to compensate for the so-called marriage penalty in the tax code.

A review has begun of UN ambassador-nominee Richard Holbrooke's financial records and dealings with State Department officials, the Justice Department said. Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Holbrooke indicated he was cooperating with the review. The US was left without a UN ambassador when Bill Richardson resigned Friday to take over as Energy secretary.

Wholesale prices fell sharply in August, the Labor Department said in a report suggesting that inflation remains tame and the economy is not in serious danger of overheating. The producer price index fell 0.4 percent, reversing a 0.2 percent increase in July.

Coastal communities in Louisiana and Texas were assessing damage and trying to recover as flood waters from tropical storm Frances receded. The storm weakened to a tropical depression as it moved inland late last week, but its remnants caused scattered thunderstorms Saturday. In Houston alone, officials estimated residential losses at as much as $95 million.

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Restrictions that will ban or levy fines against Chinese exports packed in untreated wooden crates were announced by the Agriculture Department. It said Chinese exporters must fumigate or otherwise treat wood crates and pallets carrying Chinese goods to prevent shipment of a tree-eating beetle. A spokesman for China called the plan "irrational." Up to 50 percent of Chinese imports could be affected.

The International Monetary Fund said its reserves had sunk to historic low levels, with only $5 billion to $9 billion left for loans from regular reserve funds. Deputy Director Stanley Fischer said he could envisage the IMF using some of the money for loans, but only if new funds were provided soon by the US and other members.

The World

Amid warnings that "something must be done," senior diplomats and finance officials from the Group of Seven countries were to hold an emergency meeting today in London on the Russian crisis. Meanwhile, in Moscow, new Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, whose duties also begin today, said Russia urgently needs international loans and "is not the kind of country that will declare itself bankrupt." And his boss, President Boris Yeltsin, vowed that Russia would remain on the path of economic reform.

A show of strength by thousands of club-carrying supporters of Cambodian Premier Hun Sen was matched by a march of defiant antigovernment protesters in the capital, Phnom Penh. Heavily armed police appeared anxious as the protesters passed by carrying US and UN flags, but didn't stop them. But opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Norodom Ranariddh called off a strike planned for today out of concern that it would incite violence.

Israeli soldiers and police were taking seriously a vow by the Islamic militant group Hamas to avenge the deaths of two of its members. Security around bus stops, shopping centers, and other sites was called unprecedented. Brothers Imad and Adel Awadallah, long sought for their alleged involvement in terrorist attacks, were shot in a raid on their West Bank hideout late last week. At least 30 people were hurt over the weekend in clashes prompted by the shootings.

Elections officials in Bosnia scrambled to fix problems that kept thousands of people from voting on the first of two days of weekend balloting for president and members of the national and regional legislatures. International monitors said lists of eligible voters - many of them refugees from the country's civil war - had not been provided to several polling stations.

Albania's capital was in turmoil as protesters burned government vehicles and the office of Prime Minister Fatos Nano, whom they accused of ordering the death of a popular opposition leader. They demanded he resign within 24 hours. Nano's whereabouts were unknown, but his government condemned the murder of Democratic Party chief Azem Hajdari and offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of the assassin. Hajdari, who helped to topple Nano's previous regime in 1991, had survived a shooting a year ago this week by a supporter of the prime minister.

Editorial reaction to the report on President Clinton's involvement with Monica Lewinsky tended to be harsh in Asian capitals but more forgiving in the European press. Japan's Asahi newspaper called details of the report "vivid and disgusting." In Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post said Clinton's "fight for survival has reached its end." In Paris, Le Figaro slammed Clinton, but rival papers called independent counsel Kenneth Starr a "moral ayatollah" and his report to Congress "the first porno assassination in history." British Prime Minister Blair offered Clinton his "understanding and support." German Chancellor Kohl said he could only "shake my head" at threats of impeachment.

Whether the last major opposition stronghold in Afghanistan had fallen to forces of the Taliban movement was in dispute. The Sunni fundamentalist force said its troops had captured Bamiyan, northwest of the capital, Kabul, and had freed dozens of prisoners of war. The claim could not be independently confirmed. In Pakistan, the opposition Shiite militia, Hezb-i-Wahdat, acknowledged there had been fighting but said the town remained under its control.


"The president ... shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." - Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution.

Imagine you're a minister and someone comes to tell you that the bell in your church is ringing. You'd probably say: "So?" Isn't that what church bells are supposed to do? Yes, but that piece of news sent the clergy at Walnut Ridge Baptist in Waterloo, Iowa, hurrying to stop the noise. It seems the bell had quit working in 1974 - so long ago, in fact, that some parishioners didn't know the church had one. But early last week, without warning, the motorized device activated itself. It rang for 1-1/2 hours before neighbors complained to the police. Now the plan is to give Walnut Ridge new appeal by setting the timer so the bell is heard regularly on Sunday mornings.

Next time you're in Newfoundland with nothing else to do, consider the province's newest tourist attraction - an observation- submarine ride to where the Titanic lies on the Atlantic Ocean floor. Truth in labeling: The 14-hour trip costs $32,500 per person, so only a few visitors have taken it so far. But they say it was money well-spent.

The Day's List

How Parents Would Deal With Violence in Schools

A recent survey of parents found school violence their chief concern about the new academic year. The poll, by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for Shell Oil Co., also found that holding parents of unruly children accountable for their behavior was preferable to other likely remedies. The survey's key questions and the percentage of parents choosing various alternatives (sometimes more than one):

Chief School Concerns

1. Violence/shootings 75%

2. Peer pressure 65%

3. Low academic standards 59%

4. Poor quality of teaching 47%

5. Equipment/supply lack 36%

Remedies for Violence

1. Hold parents accountable 27%

2. Provide alternative settings

for unruly children 21%

3. Provide counseling 18%

4. Enforce suspensions 15%

5. Post armed security 6%

- PR Newswire

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