WORTH NOTING ON TV

* TUESDAY

Retooling America (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): Acknowledging the end of the cold war is one thing. Navigating the huge and often wrenching economic changes that result from defense cuts is another. This documentary moves across the United States - from Maine to Los Angeles - entering work sites and talking with people to see what these changes are like. It also asks what leaders from business, labor, and the government make of the upheaval.

At Maine's Bath Iron Works - employing some 10,000 workers - a machinist looks ahead to when the company's defense contracts run out in five years. He foresees a double threat: to his paycheck and to the sense of being part of an effort bigger than himself.

At Calstart in Los Angeles, on the other hand, some laid-off workers hope to create a new kind of electric car - a project that could produce 50,000 jobs. Other groups in L.A. want the government to plow former defense money into improving the community.

A range of perspectives are given voice, from George Kourpias, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, to Tom Culligan, vice president of McDonnell Douglas. What is perhaps the the key point - and the most promising one - is asked by Rep. Maxine Waters (D) of California: ``This is a chance to have a real debate about how we put Americans to work.'' * WEDNESDAY

Evening News From Moscow (C-Span, 6-6:30 p.m. EST): A report in Russian with simultaneous English translation.

Metropolitan Opera (PBS, 8-10:30 p.m.): Verdi's four-act opera ``I Lombardi'' was taped last Dec. 21 during its regular run at the Met. The complex storyline, set during the Crusades, involves two lovers - one Christian and one Muslim - and their separation.

The impressive cast includes Luciano Pavarotti, Samuel Ramey, Bruno Beccaria, and Lauren Flanigan. James Levine conducts.

Please check local listings for these programs.

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