EVENTS

SHUTTLE FLIGHT ABORTED AT LAST MINUTE

Space shuttle Columbia's engines shut down and the flight was aborted three seconds before yesterday morning's launch with seven astronauts aboard for a research mission. The launch team immediately secured the 2,000-ton shuttle on the launch pad. The five Americans and two Germans inside the cockpit were in no danger. The engines had been shut down automatically by a computer. Engineers confirmed that they saw no leaks around the main engines and that the vehicle was in a safe configuration, said NASA l aunch commentator Mitch Varnes. There was no telling when the flight might be rescheduled. It was only the third time that an engine shutdown occurred in 12 years of shuttle flying. The other two were in 1984 when Discovery shut down four seconds before liftoff, and in 1985 when a flight by Challenger was aborted three seconds before liftoff. Summit could move

The White House said yesterday it would consider moving President Clinton's summit with Boris Yeltsin to Moscow if the Russian leader requests a change. But Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers said Mr. Yeltsin has not asked for a change, and plans are moving forward to hold the meeting in Vancouver on April 3 and 4. The idea of moving the summit to Moscow involves the question of whether it is safe for Yeltsin to leave home now. If there were a coup in his absence, he might not get back into Russia to fight it . US, Russian subs bump

A US submarine collided with a Russian submarine in Arctic waters over the weekend, the second such collision in 14 months, US defense officials said yesterday. The officials, who asked not to be identified, spoke after a Russian Navy spokesman said in Moscow that a Russian nuclear submarine collided with an unidentified foreign sub in the Barents Sea but suffered minimal damage and that there was no radiation leak. US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court yesterday refused to order the federal government to release reports on nuclear plant safety that it gets from a private nuclear industry organization. The court, without comment, rejected a nuclear watchdog group's arguments that the federal Freedom of Information Act requires the reports to be made public. The court also agreed to decide whether property owners must be notified and given a hearing before federal agents seize their property as proceeds of illegal drug trafficking. T he justices said they will use a case from Hawaii to resolve conflicting lower court rulings on the need for such hearings in drug-forfeiture cases. Somalia talks to resume

The Somali faction led by powerful warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed said yesterday it would take part in reconvened United Nations peace talks suspended last week in Kismayu after Aideed supporters were expelled. A UN fact-finding mission sent to Kismayu after the faction walked out of the conference has not been able to shed light on what really happened. South Africa, Congo

South Africa and the Congo established diplomatic relations yesterday and agreed to work toward developing stronger ties. A Foreign Affairs spokesman in Johannesburg said the level of relations had yet to be decided. After years of isolation because of apartheid, South Africa now has formal relations with several African nations since President F.W. de Klerk launched reforms in 1990. British fishermen protest

Angry fishermen blockaded Britain's second-busiest commercial port today to protest imports of cheap foreign fish. About 30 trawlers were tied up across the channel into Teesport, near the mouth of the River Tees in northeast England. Fishermen say imports of white fish from outside the European Community, mainly Russia, have cut their income in half.

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