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News In Brief

The US

Microsoft's chairman takes center stage as the government's antitrust trial against the software giant enters its second week in Washington. Government lawyers planned to show hours of Bill Gates's videotaped pretrial deposition today and then release them to TV stations. The government has charged Microsoft with illegally trying to divide the Internet browser market with rival Netscape, then, failing that, moving to crush its competitor. Meanwhile, Microsoft's lawyers charged Netscape with failing to turn over evidence.

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Paula Jones's lawyers tried unsuccessfully to get the Secret Service to turn over evidence that might have been helpful to her sexual harassment lawsuit, documents unsealed yesterday showed. The Secret Service objected to four subpoenas from Jones's lawyers, saying it would impair agents' ability to protect President Clinton - arguments that ultimately proved unsuccessful with independent counsel Kenneth Starr. An appeals court panel in St. Paul, Minn., heard Jones's plea to reinstate the case last week. It was dismissed in April.

As the countdown began for John Glenn's return to space Thursday, NASA was keeping a weather eye on hurricane Mitch's passage through the Caribbean. So far, launch conditions remain favorable, the agency said. The senator and six fellow Discovery crew members are due to spend nine days in space conducting tests.

Military force may be used if Yugoslav President Milosevic does not keep his agreement to withdraw Serbian troops and police from the province of Kosovo, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger told ABC-TV. Yugoslavia had until today to comply with UN demands for peace.

The Senate will hold hearings on the CIA's role in the new Middle East peace accord to examine cost and whether it would endanger US agents. Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Shelby (R) of Alabama said he is concerned about plans to have the CIA track Palestinian antiterrorism efforts, calling those a departure from its traditional role. Secretary of State Albright says the agency often provides on-the-ground support for diplomacy and has helped battle terrorism in the Middle East since 1996.

Efforts to oust Clinton may hurt Republicans' chances for election in California, a poll published yesterday the Los Angeles Times found. A majority of respondents disapproved of Congress's decision to launch an impeachment inquiry. Fifty percent of those polled wanted to see Democrats elected, as opposed to 43 percent who favored Republicans. One-quarter of respondents said the scandal has increased their resolve to vote.

The US has approved funds to help Kenya rebuild after the Aug.7 bombing of the American embassy in Nairobi. A $40 million measure in the budget bill Clinton signed last week was designed to help the African country recover from the massive car bomb that killed 250 and injured 5,000, embassy sources said.

The US is confident it will be able to bridge a gap with the European Union on protecting citizens' private data, a senior diplomat said. An EU law protecting such data - from addresses to buying habits - went into effect Sunday. The US takes a more laissez-faire approach, allowing industries to set their own rules.

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The Kennewick Man is traveling cross-country. After a two-year legal wrangle among scientists, Northwest Indians, and bureaucrats, the 9,300-year-old skeleton will be transferred from Washington, D.C. to Seattle. The oldest human skeleton found in the Northwest is thought belong to a tribe that arrived in North America via land bridge from either Asia or Scandinavia.

Utah authorities said they were investigating two narcotics agents who allegedly ordered adult movies while supposedly seeking evidence against brothers arrested on drug charges.

The World

Serb Army and police units in Kosovo were regrouping, apparently to withdraw from their positions as the deadline neared for Yugoslav President Milosevic to avoid punitive strikes by NATO. Hours earlier, gunfire crackled in western Kosovo's hills despite the presence of international truce monitors. A Serb commander complained that the firing came from Albanian separatists trying to provoke retaliation for which his side would be blamed.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu lost his first political battle over the peace deal he signed last week with the Palestinian Authority. Led by opponents of the accord, a committee in parliament voted to consider whether to force early elections. The effort must still survive three readings before elections can be called. Meanwhile, it was not clear how the discovery of a murdered Israeli security guard in the West Bank city of Hebron would affect the new deal.

Russian Prime Minister Primakov will substitute for President Yeltsin at today's special meeting in Vienna with European Union heads of government, the Interfax news agency announced. Yeltsin's health is closely watched because of his frequent absences from work, and the announcement raised familiar questions about his ability to continue in office. Meanwhile, a senior financial specialist in parliament said Russia wouldn't be able to pay any of its $17.5 billion foreign debt next year without new international aid.

The senior religious leader of Chechnya's Muslim community escaped injury in a car-bomb attack one day after a similar incident killed police antikidnapping director Shahid Bargishev. Mufti Akhmad Khadzhi Kadyrov's driver was hospitalized in the latest attack. Kadyrov's nearby headquarters also was heavily damaged.

Five days after saying it was willing to put accused terrorism-financier Osama bin Laden on trial, Afghanistan's Taliban militia opened an inquiry into his activities. A spokesman said evidence against the Saudi millionaire would be welcome from "anywhere in the world," but indicated the Taliban was convinced of his innocence. Bin Laden is suspected of involvement in the Aug. 7 bombing of two US embassies.

Voting in record numbers, Spain's Basques chose a new regional parliament to try to turn a five-week-old truce into lasting peace. The outcome - in what was viewed as the most important election in the history of Basque country - was weighted more heavily toward forces who favor independence, especially the political party allied with the militant separatist group, ETA. But the Popular Party of Prime Minister Jos Maria Aznar also increased its seats from 11 to 16 in the 75-member parliament.

The governments of Peru and Ecuador signed a treaty ending a 57-year dispute over placement of their border. The controversy, which erupted into warfare three times, resulted in dozens of deaths. The accord also provides $3 billion in international aid for development of the impoverished area.

In addition to heavy criticism of white apartheid rule in South Africa, a leaked copy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's long-awaited report also accuses the ruling black African National Congress of human rights abuses, news broadcasts from Johannesburg said. The panel, which was set up to help heal apartheid-era wounds, says the ANC must accept responsibility for the torture and execution of suspected "enemy agents," bomb attacks that injured innocent civilians, and the actions of President Mandela's ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in the 1988 kidnapping and beating death of a young black activist in Soweto township.


"The whole world is accusing bin Laden of terrorism. But we are saying he is not involved in this." - Taliban official Abdul Hai Muttmayan in Afghanistan, which opened an 'inquiry' into the Saudi financier's activities.

Have you been summoned to jury duty recently? Results of a new study suggest that if you're impaneled for a trial you'll probably disregard the instructions of the judge in the case and vote according to your own attitudes and convictions. The Juror Outlook Survey found more than 1 respondent in every 6 who was likely to feel a bias against makers of tobacco products, asbestos insulation, or breast implants. One in 6 acknowledged a bias against politicians. And almost one-third distrusted any testimony by police officers.

Then there was the juror in Santa Rosa, Calif., whose vote could result in a new trial for an ex-felon found with a gun in his possession. George Mueller had been the only member of the panel who thought the defendant was innocent. But the jury deliberations were dragging the case close to the two-week mark, and Mueller "could not afford to miss any more" days of work. So he ended his holdout and voted to convict. Now the defense is seeking to have the case retried.

The Day's List

More Girls in School, but World Gender Gap Grows

Comparing 1985 and 1995 statistics, a Population Action International study indicates 51 countries still have serious educational gender gaps, although others have made striking gains in educating girls. The Washington-based group says there were still 75 million fewer girls than boys in school in 1995, while the number of school-age children was rising. Most progress came in regions with the biggest gender imbalance - the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. The countries showing the greatest progress in reducing the gender gap:

1. Nepal

2. Oman

3. Algeria

4. Saudi Arabia

5. Togo

6. Lebanon

7. Congo

8. Egypt

9. Iran

10. Malawi

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