The News in Brief

Article excerpt

The US

The FBI is investigating the possibility of sabotage after an Amtrak train carrying 267 people derailed yesterday in a remote desert area in Hyder, Ariz. At least one person was killed and more than 100 were injured when the train derailed at about 1:30 a.m. 50 to 60 miles southwest of Phoenix. At least three cars fell about 30 feet from a bridge over a dry stream bed. The train, the Sunset Limited, was bound for Los Angles from Miami. All 12 cars and two locomotives derailed.

The world economy is looking good and getting better all the time, said members of the IMF and World Bank, who met over the weekend in Washington at this year's annual meeting. The meetings were scheduled to continue yesterday with officials debating proposals aimed at addressing the debt problems of the world's poorest countries.

Hurricane Opal caused at least $1.8 billion in damage to insured property along Florida's Gulf coast, making it the nation's third-costliest storm. Opal, which blew ashore east of Pensacola Oct. 4, killed 19 people in four states. It destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses along a 120-mile stretch of the Florida Panhandle from Pensacola Beach to Mexico Beach. Power remained out for 41,000 customers in the Panhandle. Thousands more as far north as North Carolina were still blacked out.

Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia announced yesterday he will not seek reelection. The four-term senator is perhaps the most prominent southern Democrat and the Senate's foremost authority on defense issues. He is the eighth Senate Democrat to announce retirement plans in 1996 compared with only one Republican. (Story, Page 1.)

Fifty-three percent of blacks and 77 percent of whites say the Simpson trial hurt race relations, according to a USA Today-CNN poll. The races are divided on their faith in the justice system, with 54 percent of blacks saying it is biased and 58 percent of whites saying it's not. Meanwhile, blacks and conservatives are urging President Clinton to take a more visible role in dealing with racial tension. Retired Gen.Colin Powell told BBC radio yesterday the Simpson trial revealed a racial chasm in America.

Republicans hope legislation allowing companies to make discretionary withdrawals from employees' pension plans will help cut the deficit by raising $9.5 billion in corporate taxes. The legislation would permit companies to withdraw surplus funds in their "defined benefit" pension plans as long as they left 25 percent more than needed to meet current liabilities. The withdrawn money could be used for any purpose and would be taxed at the normal corporate tax rate.

Gay activists and House Republican campaign strategists managed to find common ground at their first meeting on AIDS programs and corporate America's efforts to treat gay employees fairly. The activists from the Human Rights Campaign Fund ended up contributing $5,000 to Republican coffers. The Walt Disney Co. said it will offer health insurance to live-in partners of its gay and lesbian employees, as well as partners' dependent children.

Military records show that 169 US marines and sailors in Japan have been court-martialed for rape, child molestation, or other sex crimes since 1988, the Dayton Daily News reported. The newspaper's computer analysis of military records showed that bases in Japan had more sexual-assault trials of marines and sailors than any other location in the world. (Story, Page 1.)

Pope John Paul II was back in Rome yesterday after a five-day visit to the US. In final comments, the pope called on Americans to apply their religious convictions to political issues.

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is likely to announce a further expansion of his global media group News Corp at the company's annual meeting today, analysts said. Possible announcements include an expansion at Fox Television or another venture with is partner MCI. …