The News in Brief

Article excerpt

The US

President Clinton is scheduled today to become the first sitting president to give sworn testimony to a criminal grand jury probing his actions. The president spent much of the weekend deciding what to say during an appearance due to begin at 1 p.m EDT in the Map Room of the White House. Aides said it was likely Clinton would make a TV appearance after his secret testimony in an effort to blunt any political damage from possible leaks.

Some 34,000 telephone workers walked off their jobs at U S West after two days of talks with a federal mediator failed to resolve differences over a performance-pay plan. The company said there would be some delays in repairs, installation, and directory-assistance calls, but little effect on automated phone service. It was the first strike at U S West since it was created in the 1984 breakup of AT&T.

The rapid growth of legalized gambling in the US and Canada has drawn more and more teenagers into games of chance - with many finding it more addictive than smoking, alcohol, or drugs, researchers said. A set of studies presented at a meeting in San Francisco of the American Psychological Association indicates 5 to 8 percent of young Americans and Canadians report a "serious" gambling problem. The serious-problem percentage among teenagers is reportedly almost twice that of US and Canadian adults, researchers said.

Israel's destruction of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 spurred Saddam Hussein to accelerate plans to build a nuclear bomb, an Iraqi defector told The New York Times. Khidhir Abdul Abas Hamza, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist, said that after Israel's bombing of a reactor in Osirak, Iraq, Saddam moved the program and increased its staff from 400 to 7,000. Hamza said he was amazed Iraqi nuclear- weapons sites were not bombed during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The Justice Department said it would appeal a court ruling that the Food and Drug Administration has no jurisdiction to regulate tobacco products. A three-judge panel of the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. - with one judge dissenting - said the US agency had overstepped its authority in issuing regulations in August 1996 that restricted the sale of tobacco products to minors and limited advertising and marketing by tobacco companies.

The latest airline bid to raise leisure fares may have a better chance of succeeding than previous attempts this year because some of the increases exclude cities where Northwest is the primary airline, analysts said. Four percent advance-fare increases by Delta, US Airways, and Continental late last week followed a similar hike by American Airlines. Northwest, which faces a possible pilots' strike at the end of the month, has already forced its rivals to rescind five fare hikes this year by refusing to match their increases. The latest price increases do not affect travel to Detroit, Memphis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, which are Northwest hubs.

Steve Fossett was expected to leave Australia behind in his bid to be the first to balloon nonstop around the world. Saturday, the Chicago financier broke his own balloon distance record of 10,480 miles. Ironically, Fossett's earlier record for sailing across the Pacific appeared in jeopardy Sunday. French adventurer Bruno Peyron and crew were poised to sail a catamaran into San Francisco Bay at the end of a trip that began in Yokohama, Japan, Aug. 2. They were running about two days ahead of Fossett's record of 16 days, 17 hours, and 21 minutes, set in 1995.

Correction: An item in this space Friday, Aug. 14, put the estimated cost of a rerun of the Teamsters Union presidential election at $8.6 billion. The correct figure is $8.6 million.

The World

British politicians promised Northern Ireland's fragile peace process would not be shattered after the biggest bomb attack in the province in 30 years killed 28 people and injured 220 others. …