CLINTON OFF TO A BUSY VACATION President Clinton began unwinding Saturday after a summer of discontent in Washington. He promised to make health care ``the first order of business'' in the fall. The president spent the first day of his Martha's Vineyard vacation jogging and playing golf. ``It feels good,'' he said with a huge smile. ``I'm not sure it's real yet.'' Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter, Chelsea, remained behind at the estate of Boston developer Richard Friedman, where the family is staying until a few days after Labor Day. Brown in Beijing
US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown opened a landmark trade mission to China yesterday, saying human rights are a vital US interest but that business is his top priority. He was joined by a delegation of 24 US corporate leaders. At the start of Brown's mission Saturday, Chinese authorities briefly detained and then released a prominent dissident, Wang Dan. Russian harvest woes
Grain, potato, and vegetable crops in the Russian far east are being harvested at a disastrously slow pace because of a shortage of fuel and spare parts, Itar-Tass news agency said yesterday. Only 198,000 out of 358,000 acres of grain will have been harvested by the end of August, by which time all grain has usually been gathered in. ``The potato harvest has not yet started. Vegetables are dying in the fields. Beans are withering away,'' Tass said. Flood inundates Moldova
Severe flooding in the former Soviet republic of Moldova has killed at least 50 people and caused colossal damage, Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli said yesterday. The central part of the republic has already been declared a disaster zone. ``The damage and the ruins are colossal,'' Sangheli said in a radio address. Venezuela wins title
Venezuela's team ended the United States' two-year run as Little League champion Saturday, beating the Northridge, Calif., team, whose city was ravaged by an earthquake seven months ago. It became the first Latin American team to win the title since 1958. The score was 4-3. Japan launch succeeds
Japan's space program got a long-delayed boost yesterday when the H-II rocket got off the ground after two failed launch attempts earlier in the month. The orange, yellow, and white H-II rocket - the first to be developed entirely in Japan was carrying a two-ton government satellite into a geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the earth for telecommunications research. The event marks Japan's entry into the lucrative satellite-launching business.