News In Brief

The US and China traded salvos in a battle over US claims that China has not done enough to prevent piracy of American intellectual property. China retaliated with tariffs on imports from the US after US Trade Representative Kantor announced 100 percent tariffs on about $1 billion of goods imported from China. The sanctions take effect Feb. 26 if the two nations, whose bilateral trade amounts to $50 billion, reach no agreement. Kantor has invited the Chinese to another round of talks to settle the issue. In Paris, Chinese leader Deng's daughter said her father is healthy, but that ''the destiny of China is in the hands of a new team.''

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The G-7 countries, meeting in Toronto, blessed the US-led $50 billion aid package for Mexico. But finance ministers of the world's seven richest nations said it was now up to Mexico to fix its struggling economy. The meeting followed IMF approval of a $17.8 billion loan guarantee, with six key European countries abstaining, complaining they were not adequately consulted. The G-7 also called on Russia to continue economic reforms and said the costly military crackdown in Chechnya could hinder Russia's economic stabilization.

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As Russia tightens its grip on Grozny, Chechen fighters shot down a Russian warplane. Fierce resistance continued in the Chechen capital, although Russian troops cut off more access roads. Meanwhile, a Chechen opposition group installed by Moscow accused Russian forces of killing innocent people and of ''barbaric bombardments.'' At the Munich Security Conference, US Defense Secretary Perry told Russia to stop violating human rights in Chechnya; his British counterpart said Russian actions three were blocking closer European ties with Russia; and a Russian parliamentarian blasted the West for its slow reaction to Russia's ''large-scale crime against humanity.''

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Croatia's foreign minister announced he would go to Belgrade to seek formal recognition of Croatian independence. Such a deal could prevent a new Serbian-Croatian war but damage the Bosnian Croat-Muslim federation. In US-sponsored talks, Bosnian Croats and Muslims agreed to binding arbitration of their differences. Meanwhile, Serbian helicopters flew supplies into Bosnian Serb territory Saturday, violating both NATO's no-fly zone and Serbia's pledge to stay out of the war in Bosnia. Serious fighting continued around Bihac in northwest Bosnia, and Bosnian Serbs resumed harassment of aid convoys to Muslim enclaves.

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The Dutch dikes held, flood waters receded, and most evacuees returned home. The crisis is likely to make dike renovation an immediate governmental priority.

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Israel's Cabinet let stand closure of the West Bank and Gaza, but decided to allow teachers, doctors, and produce to enter Israel. The two-week-old ban, which has kept more than 60,000 Palestinian workers away from their jobs, followed a suicide bombing that killed 21 Israelis Jan. 22.

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Pakistan ground to a halt as the government called a general strike to support separatists in the Indian-ruled portion of Kashmir. The strike closed all government and private offices, the stock exchanges, and the port of Karachi. Gunmen attacked a Kashmiri fund-raising center in Karachi, killing 10 and wounding 15 others. India rules two-thirds of the province, which the two countries have fought over twice since independence. New Delhi claims Pakistan is training and arming the predominantly Muslim Kashmiri separatists, which Islamabad denies. India says the current fighting has killed 17,000 people since it erupted in 1990.

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations voted to admit Vietnam as its seventh member, Hanoi's official news agency said Friday. The decision must be ratified by ASEAN foreign ministers.

Clinton's 1996 spending plan will go to Capitol Hill today, where it will likely run into trouble from Republicans demanding even greater cuts to balance the budget by 2002. The president's $1.61 trillion budget proposal cuts taxes for middle-income earners by $60 billion, cuts spending by $144 billion over five years, and imposes no new taxes, a White House official said. The plan projects a $194.4 billion deficit in 2000.

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NASA shut down a leaky jet aboard the Discovery space shuttle, concerned that the seepage would affect a rendezvous with the Russian space station Mir. The propellant leak had decreased, and officials were hopeful that it would stop altogether. Russian space agency officials said they were concerned that any amount of leaking fuel might contaminate their orbiting station if the shuttle came too close. NASA said that in the worst-case scenario, Discovery would have to remain about 400 feet from Mir instead of approaching as close as 35 feet.

Senator Dole predicted trouble for Clinton's surgeon general nominee. Speaking on NBC's ''Meet the Press,'' Dole said the White House should have told Congress sooner that Dr. Henry Foster had performed abortions.

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In his weekly radio address, Clinton tried to persuade Republicans to back his plan for a 90 cent increase in the minimum wage. House Republicans countered that they are already helping the economy create jobs by shrinking the government.

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From West Virginia to New England, it was winter at last. The East's first major storm of the season pounded the Middle Atlantic and Northeast states with heavy snow, winds up to 50 m.p.h., and low wind chills. Snowfall ranged from 6 inches in Kentucky to at least 20 inches in northern New England states. Thousands of travelers were stranded. (Story, Page 3.)

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Speaker Gingrich spoke up on issues ranging from illegal immigrants to public radio over the weekend. At a town meeting in Atlanta, he said he wants the US border with Mexico sealed off this summer to stop illegal aliens. In a lecture at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga., he said NASA should have been disbanded after the Apollo space program ended in the 1970s. He later said he was proposing that NASA be overhauled, not abandoned. At a town meeting in Smyrna, Ga., he said his proposal to cut federal funding for public broadcasting was misrepresented. He said he thought both PBS and National Public Radio would survive, but that public broadcasting could do more to support itself. Finally, the Speaker said Taiwan should be readmitted to the UN.

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After raising fans' hopes that baseball might soon be back on the field, players and team owners struck out again. On Friday, owners dropped the salary-cap they imposed six weeks ago. By the next day, any optimism that the move would dissolve obstacles toward a settlement of the six-month-old strike had evaporated. Talks were expected to continue. Clinton set today, the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's birth, as the deadline for an accord. Spring training is scheduled to begin Feb. 16.

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A new book asserts that Clinton decided not to run for president in 1988 after an aide demanded to know whether he had had affairs with a list of women. Clinton was governor of Arkansas at the time. According to the book, ''First in His Class,'' by Washington Post reporter David Maraniss, Clinton and Betsey Wright went over the list to determine which women might talk publicly. Wright suggested Clinton not get into the race in deference to his wife and daughter. In response to the book, Wright said she was concerned about ''liars and gold diggers,'' but that she knew the rumors were not true.

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Barbra Streisand received a standing ovation at Harvard without singing a note when she told a gathering that conservatives in Washington are threatening the arts in America. She said she was especially concerned about moves to cut funds to the National Endowment for the Arts and the Public Broadcasting System.

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In an effort to combat growing professionalism in the sport, the International Skating Union will consider giving prize money. Its president, Ottavio Cinquanta, says the next ISU council meeting will take up the proposal.

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Germany and Russia secured places in the second round of the Davis Cup in Naples. Defending champion Sweden avoided elimination by winning its doubles match with Denmark.

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Firefighters rescued a Leavenworth, Wash., man who was pinned beneath a pile of wood and snow for 28 hours after his barking dog led them to his location.

Top 20 Video Rentals

1. ''The Client,'' (Warner)

2. ''True Lies,'' (FoxVideo)

3. ''Blown Away,'' (MGM-UA)

4. ''Maverick,'' (Warner)

5. ''When a Man Loves a Woman,'' (Touchstone)

6. ''Renaissance Man,'' (Touchstone)

7. ''The Mask,'' (Turner)

8. ''Speed,'' (FoxVideo)

9. ''I Love Trouble,'' (Touchstone)

10. ''Wolf,'' (Columbia TriStar)

11. ''The Shadow,'' (MCA-Universal)

12. ''Guarding Tess,'' (Columbia TriStar)

13. ''North,'' (Columbia TriStar)

14. ''Airheads,'' (FoxVideo)

15. ''Beverly Hills Cop III,'' (Paramount)

16. ''City Slickers II,'' (Columbia TriStar)

17. ''Wyatt Earp,'' (Warner)

18. ''Baby's Day Out,'' (Fox)

19. ''The Paper,'' (MCA-Universal)

20. ''With Honors,'' (Warner)

Copyright 1995, Billboard Publications Inc.Top 20 Video Rentals

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