News In Brief

By , Suzanne MacLachlan, and Peter Nordahl

THE WORLD

Mexico's opposition National Action Party claimed victory in a governor's election in the central state of Jalisco. Exit polls indicated that the PAN would take 54 percent of the vote to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party's 37 percent. It was the first state vote since President Zedillo took office in December and would be only the fourth governorship the PRI has lost in 65 years. The PRI was expected to do poorly primarily because of its drastic devaluation of the peso. Also, the election was held three days after Zedillo sent troops to the southern state of Chiapas to quash leftist Indian rebels.

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The PLO pledged to root out terrorists and deny them safe haven in exchange for Israel's promise to pull back its troops on the West Bank and proceed with Palestinian elections. Israeli Prime Minister Rabin is scheduled to meet PLO leader Arafat again tomorrow in Washington. During talks, Foreign Minister Peres said Israel would not sign the global treaty against nuclear weapons, despite pressure from Egypt.

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Russia and Chechnya agreed to a cease-fire, the ITAR-Tass news agency said. The agreement was reached in talks between the commander of Russian troops in Chechnya and the chief of Chechen forces. Meanwhile, a Moscow-backed provisional government with little local support said it plans to move to Grozny next week. Its provisional foreign minister, Ruslan Madiyev, insisted that the new government would be independent of the Russian and Chechen governments.

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Peruvian troops seized the hills above Tiwinza, the last Ecuadoran stronghold on Peruvian soil, and began a ''final assault,'' President Fujimori said. He said Peruvian antiaircraft fire had downed two Ecuadoran warplanes. Fujimori planned a diplomatic counteroffensive against Ecuador, sending diplomats, academics, and journalists abroad to explain Lima's position in the conflict.

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The 82-member Bosnian Serb parliament is expected to fight pressure from Belgrade to accept an internationally brokered peace plan at its meeting in Samac in northeast Bosnia. A splinter group that appears willing to accept the plan will likely be forced back into the fold or silenced by fellow deputies. The UN said it will test an alternative route for aid convoys through a Bosnian Serb stronghold to the Bihac enclave, where it says some residents are starving.

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French Premier Balladur launched his campaign for president, but his lead in the polls is threatened by infighting and scandals on the right. In setting out his platform, Balladur proposed limiting the presidency to one seven-year term. He also said he wanted more tax cuts to fight unemployment and a strong monetary policy to stabilize interest rates. The two-round election to succeed Socialist President Mitterrand will take place April 23 and May 7.

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China's population was expected to surpass 1.2 billion this week and will reach 1.3 billion by 2000. The country's State Council has approved a family-planning program for 1995 to 2000 that emphasizes eduction and propaganda, officials said. Measures to enforce China's one-baby-per-couple policy have not been entirely effective: Farmers are still having large families. About 21 million Chinese babies are born each year.

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Vietnam turned over the remains of what are thought to be at least six missing American servicemen in Hanoi yesterday. The remains were recovered during joint US-Vietnamese field searches. US veterans who have traveled to Hanoi are expected to hand over photos, diaries, and other battlefield souvenirs that might help Vietnam answer questions about its missing soldiers.

THE US

President Clinton said his economic policies have brought rising prosperity. In his annual economic report to Congress, he said 5 million jobs have been created since he took office and that manufacturing jobs grew every month in 1994, the first time in 16 years that had occurred. The report predicts that GDP will grow 2.4 percent in 1995 and 2.5 percent annually through 2000. It foresees inflation averaging 3.2 percent or less and unemployment at 5.9 percent or less through the rest of the decade. Clinton asked Congress to work with him in providing universal health care for every American and to reform welfare.

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The House took up a proposal to replace $8 billion to put 100,000 police officers on the street with $10 billion in block grants. States could use the grants as they see fit. Clinton has vowed to veto the change.

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Vice President Gore went to Tennessee to bolster the nomination of Dr. Henry Foster as surgeon general. The trip was aimed at highlighting Foster's work to prevent teen pregnancy and divert attention from his involvement in abortions and sterilizations of women deemed retarded, officials said.

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Speaker Gingrich said he will not run for president in 1996. He told a breakfast meeting with business leaders he would stay in Congress to work on the GOP ''Contract With America.''

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A fierce winter storm hit the Northwest, dumping up to 5 feet of snow in some areas. Portland, Ore., got a foot of snow, while 80-mile-per-hour winds halted ferry service in Washington and left 70,000 people without power. In Colorado, the Weather Service reported more than 60 avalanches in 48 hours. Two skiers were killed in Colorado and Utah and hundreds of automobile accidents were reported across the region.

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Substance abuse and addiction, including smoking, will cost the federal Treasury $77.6 billion this year, a study says. The research, performed at New York's Columbia University, estimates that $66.4 billion will be spent on health care and disability costs and $11.2 billion in welfare payments to alcohol or drug users. It recommends cutting off welfare to addicts and alcoholics who refuse treatment and says Medicare should charge smokers higher fees.

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Competition drove the average price of gasoline down almost 1 cent to $1.18 a gallon, the Lundberg Survey reports. It says producers are absorbing higher refining costs in the battle for customers.

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Northrup Grumman Corporation said it would lay off 1,000 workers in a missile program the Pentagon canceled last December. The cut was part of a $7.7 billion trim in weapons spending.

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Senator Gramm said a $175,000 Republican donation to an anti-abortion group last fall was ''perfectly legal.'' He said he knew the money the National Republican Senatorial Committee gave to the National Right to Life Committee would promote views held by GOP Senate candidates.

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The Supreme Court refused to block an Illinois ruling giving custody of four-year-old Baby Richard to his biological father. Only Justices Breyer and O'Connor voted to grant the stay.

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The National Law Journal said federal use of paid informants and ''snitches'' is out of control. It said cash payments to informants increased from $25 million in 1985 to $97 million in 1993. The weekly quoted several former government officials who said the practice is distorting the legal process, and called for better supervision.

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The Los Angeles Times accused Veterans Affairs Secretary Jesse Brown of charging the government for personal trips home to Chicago. In his first 20 months in office, Brown went to Chicago 20 times, the paper said. A VA spokesman defended the travel and denied any wrongdoing.

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The O. J. Simpson trial was in recess yesterday. On Sunday, jurors visited the scene of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, the restaurant where Goldman worked, and Simpson's estate. They had previously heard testimony from the first Los Angeles police officer to arrive on the scene after neighbors discovered the crime.

ETCETERA

CBS is on course to drop to third place from first place in the TV ratings race. Industry executives say CBS is not appealing to viewers under 50 - the segment that advertisers like most.

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The Tate Gallery, one of London's greatest museums, has chosen an abandoned power station beside the River Thames for its new modern-art gallery. The Tate and the Southwark Borough Council hope the project will transform the area - now a dreary expanse of often-deserted streets, empty office buildings, and dingy shops and cafes.

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If Michael Jordan improves as much in 1995 as he did as a rookie, he could join the Chicago White Sox before the season ends. His quest begins tomorrow when he reports to the Nashville Sounds, the White Sox's AAA affiliate.

Week's Top Video Rentals

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. ''Maverick,'' (Warner)

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

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

10. ''Speed,'' (FoxVideo)

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

12. ''Airheads,'' (FoxVideo)

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

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

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

Copyright 1995, Billboard Publications Inc.

Most of the time there are two or three informants, and sometimes they are worse criminals than the defendant on trial.''

US District Judge Marvin Shoob, on federal law agencies' use of informants

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