The News in Brief

Article excerpt

The US

A bill to deregulate cable TV rates and impose sweeping new restraints on violence and smut on television and computer services was set for a final vote yesterday in the Senate. Among other provisions, the massive bill would let local and long-distance telephone and cable companies get into each other's businesses and free the largest electric utilities to provide an array of telecommunications services. As an amendment to the bill, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to crack down on pornography on the Internet and commercial on-line services.

The House Judiciary Committee, drafting antiterrorism legislation, struck two blows to gun-control opponents. The committee approved a new definition of terrorism that includes the use of firearms and adopted a ban on so-called cop-killer bullets capable of piercing body armor. Both occurred over the objections of GOP gun-control foes, and it was not clear whether the bullet ban would stick.

After a nationwide manhunt, agents investigating the Oklahoma City bombing found the man they called John Doe 2 but concluded that he was not involved, the Justice Department said. The FBI is still trying to determine if a second man helped rent a truck believed to have carried the bomb. Federal investigators have evidence linking the two main suspects in the case to the robbery of an Arkansas gun dealer last November and speculate that this may explain how the bombing was financed, the New York Times reported.

The four senators seeking the GOP nomination are all financially comfortable, according to financial disclosure statements required from members of Congress. The one House member running for president, Congressman Dornan, has fewer assets than do his Senate colleagues but no debt. As majority leader, Senator Dole has a slightly larger congressional salary than his colleagues have - $148,400 compared with their $133,600.

A sharp drop in May auto production caused the nation's third straight decline in industrial output for the first time since the 1991 recession. The Federal Reserve said industrial production fell 0.2 percent last month on top of a 0.5 percent drop in April and 0.2 percent in March.

A new poll by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press found that Americans are paying almost twice as much attention to the congressional debate over Medicare spending as they are to the O. J. Simpson murder trial or Senator Dole's attacks on Hollywood. The only story that beat out Medicare was the Oklahoma City bombing.

Forty-seven percent of the nation's small businesses cite taxes as their biggest problem, and 57 percent say they think taxes will remain their largest foe in the coming decade, a survey by Inc. Magazine and USA Today found. (Story, Page 3.)

Finding Cuban President Castro an inviting campaign target, three GOP presidential candidates endorsed legislation to tighten sanctions against Cuba. Senators Dole, Gramm, and Specter also criticized shifts in US policy toward Cuba. The administration opposed aspects of the initial draft of the legislation, but some of the more controversial provisions were later deleted.

Stephen Yokich took over yesterday as president of the United Auto Workers at a pivotal point in the union's history. Yokich succeeds Owen Bieber, who is retiring after 12 years as president. The labor movement is battling to rebuild after more than a decade on the defensive with many workers reluctant to align themselves with unions.

Vietnam reacted in low key yesterday to the prospect that it may finally get full relations with the US, apparently seeking not to put pressure on Clinton for swift action. Vietnam was reacting to Secretary of State Christopher's recommendation to Clinton that he establish full diplomatic relations with Hanoi.

The defense in the O. J. Simpson murder trial began cross-examination of a coroner, who offered an approximate time of the killings based on medical factors. …