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News briefs

Veto-Proof House Majority Approves Cable Rate Bill

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON

The House approved a bill Thursday to control the rates charged to 55 million households with cable television, opening the way for the first price controls on basic cable service in eight years.

The vote was 280-128, a sufficient margin to override a certain veto by President Bush. The bill goes to the Senate floor for action next week, where the industry is hoping it can muster the 34 votes needed (if all senators vote) to sustain a veto and kill the measure.

The bill would allow the Federal Communications Commission to determine a "reasonable" charge for basic cable service the programs carried on local outlets of ABC, CBS, NBC, and the Fox network, local government and educational channels, and public TV stations.

While there would be no formal rate regulation of other services, such as the plethora of second tier channels carrying news, sports, music videos, religious and children's programming the FCC could intervene if customers filed complaints about excessive price increases.

The proposed legislation would leave unregulated the rates charged for the premium channels such as HBO, the Disney Channel and Showtime. It also does not deal with special programs available on a pay-per-view basis, including rock concerts, and boxing and wrestling matches.

Two Koreas Sign Pacts, But Can't Agree on Nuclear Inspections

Los Angeles Times

SEOUL, Korea

North and South Korea signed three accords Thursday that could lead to broad cooperation in political, military and economic spheres, but a continued deadlock over nuclear inspections threatened to keep them from taking effect.

The two prime ministers, meeting in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, signed detailed pacts to start the process of implementing December's landmark agreement that would begin to reconcile the country, divided since World War II. If implemented, the accords would at last defuse the peninsula's potential military time bomb and open the border for unprecedented exchanges of people, goods and information.

There headway over the emotional matter of family exchanges, however. Although the two sides had earlier agreed to allow the reunion of a selected number of families, the program was abruptly dropped after Pyongyang demanded that Seoul repatriate Lee In Mo, a North Korean war correspondent arrested on charges of guerrilla activity more than 40 years ago.

Serb Artillery Fire Continues

The Washington Post

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

U.N. efforts to bring all heavy weapons around this besieged city under international surveillance seemed close to collapse Thursday as Serb nationalist forces battered it again with near-continuous tank and artillery fire.

One 100mm tank shell in particular highlighted the vulnerability of the U.N. peace mission here and its apparent helplessness to abate the slaughter, scoring a direct hit on the fourth floor of U.N. headquarters. Luckily, it was a dud. The projectile broke some glass and clunked down the steel stairs of a fire escape, coming to rest in a parking lot. French demolition experts hauled it away for destruction.

"This is not the atmosphere, this is not a good ground to implement the U.N. mandate," Egyptian Brig. Gen. Hussein Abdel Razek, military commander of the 1,500-member U.N. relief force here told reporters. "I shall express my concern to both sides," he said as scores of howitzer and mortar shells whistled and boomed in the near distance.

Weather

A Tale of Two Seasons

By Marek Zebrowski
staff meterologist

Vigorous cold front attached to a potent low pressure system in Southern Canada will bring our late summer weather spell to an end on Saturday. The coldest air of the season that might cuase some scattered snow showers (!) in the northern Great Lakes will be modified by the time it reaches New England, yet, the unmistakeable fall chill will be well in evidence on Sunday with a slight warmup to follow under fair skies for early next week.

Friday Afternoon: Hazy, warm and humid with a high of 84F (29C) with a fresh southwesterly breeze at 10-15 mph (16-24 kmh)

Friday night:Continued hazy with cloudiness arriving towards dawn. Fog may form especially in the south coastal areas. Low around 69F (21C), southwesterly winds continuing

Saturday: Mostly cloudy with scattered light rain possible, then a chance of locally heavy thunderstorms during the late afternoon and evening hours. High of 79F (26C). Strong SW winds will shift to NW late in the day

Saturday night:Clearing and cooler with the temperatures falling to the upper 50s (13-15C) by dawn.

Sunday outlook: Fair and cool with highs in mid to upper 60s (17-21C)