News In Brief

By , Suzanne MacLachlan, and Peter Nordahl

THE WORLD

US and Chinese officials signed a pact to end Chinese piracy of American movies, music, and other goods. Failure to resolve the dispute would have meant punitive US tariffs on more than $1 billion in Chinese imports. Under the agreement, China will create nationwide task forces to combat intellectual property pirates and launch raids to destroy fake goods.

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Former US President Carter denied he got a chilly reception when he visited Haiti on a three-day fact-finding mission. Carter was accompanied by Senator Nunn and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Powell. Anti-Carter graffiti was splashed around the capital, and no representative of the Haitian government met the Americans at the airport. Carter also denied that he had done anything to try to influence parliamentary and municipal elections, set for June 4.

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A security guard for slain Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was arrested in connection with the murder last March. His role in the alleged conspiracy was not immediately known. A suspected gunman was arrested Friday; another was sentenced earlier to 45 years in prison.

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Yemen and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding on resolving their six-year-old border dispute. The memorandum calls for committees to demarcate the land and sea borders between the two countries; a military committee to ensure no troop movements take place on the borders; and a committee to develop economic, commercial, and cultural ties between the two countries.

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growing quantities of prescription drugs intended for medicinal use are not adequately policed and are ending up in the hands of the world's drug traffickers, a new report by the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board says.

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Serbs launched a fresh terror campaign against Muslims in northern Bosnia. A UN spokesman said Serb soldiers had beaten Muslim civilians and ransacked their homes. UN flights to Sarajevo airport were suspended after aircraft came under gunfire. The US, meanwhile, said it would consider sending troops to Croatia to protect UN peacekeeping forces if they are forced to withdraw.

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Commerce Secretary Brown denied a New York Times report that the US plans to drop its support for former Mexican President Salinas to head the World Trade Organization. North and South Americans, Asians, and Europeans are divided over who should head the prestigious WTO. Each bloc is backing a regional candidate, but none can win without a consensus.

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The Group of Seven industrial nations wrapped up a three-day mini-summit in Belgium, pledging to work together for a global technological revolution. The countries remained divided over how wide to open markets and how strictly to police cyberspace.

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An electrical short circuit in a remote-control device used to detonate mines triggered an explosion in Chechnya, killing at least 25 Russian soldiers.

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Rival Somali clans battled outside the Mogadishu airport as UN peacekeepers prepared to withdraw from Somalia, CNN said. About 2,000 US marines and Italian soldiers are expected to arrive this week to secure part of Mogadishu's port and airport.

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A North Korean delegation canceled its visit to South Korea, just hours before it was to have crossed the border. The delegation had planned to discuss ''comfort women'' used by Japan in World War II. North Korea said it pulled out because of South Korean government interference. It would have been the first visit in 15 months.

THE US

Debate over the balanced budget amendment is red hot as tomorrow's Senate vote approaches. Senator Moynihan told NBC's ''Meet the Press'' the amendment could be an economic disaster. President Clinton said it would lead to an ''extreme fiscal policy'' set by the courts and the Federal Reserve. Senator Nunn, one of five undecided Democrats, said he wants the amendment changed to keep federal courts out of the fiscal process. Speaker Gingrich offered to meet with Nunn today to discuss a possible compromise. The proposal appears to be one to three votes short of the 67 needed for passage.

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The stock market starts the week coming off record highs two days in a row. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed to 4,011.74 Friday after breaking the 4,000 mark the day before. Stocks and bonds both stumbled early Friday after the Commerce Department said durable-goods orders rose 0.6 percent in January. Economists had expected a slight decline.

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An industry trade group said orders for US-made machine tools plummeted 31 percent in January. The drop followed a boom late last year, and analysts still expect moderate long-term growth.

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A US Customs program to speed cargo across the US-Mexican border may have increased the flow of illegal drugs as well, the Associated Press said. Customs inspectors say the Line Release program, which allows approved companies to take shipments across the border without inspection, makes it easy for drug smugglers to mix narcotics with legitimate cargo. Customs Commissioner Weise and White House drug czar Lee Brown visited San Diego to announce tougher inspection procedures and the transfer of more inspectors to the Southwest.

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The administration's proposed base-closing list will be shorter than expected, observers say, because of politics and the costs of shutting down facilities. Texas appears hardest hit, but no major bases there will be eliminated. The list reportedly names some 16 bases for closure and proposes shrinking several others.

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In presidential campaign developments, Senator Gramm traveled to Iowa, New Hampshire, and Arizona after kicking off his presidential campaign. He won a straw poll of California Republican convention delegates Saturday, picking up 56 percent of the votes cast, followed by Governor Wilson and Senator Dole. Senator Spector, a pro-choice moderate, said in Iowa that he would formally declare his candidacy later this spring. Tennessee's former Governor Alexander announces tomorrow.

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Governor Wilson endorsed a 1996 California ballot initiative to repeal the state's affirmative-action laws. Republicans want to repeal state statutes granting state jobs, contracts, or college admission based on race, sex, or ethnicity.

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Nearly 500 people marched in Union Point, Ga., to celebrate the lifting of a merchants' ban on 21 blacks entering many stores. City officials and merchants lifted the ban following negotiations ordered by a federal judge. They said the ban was an anti-shoplifting measure and denied charges it was racially motivated.

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Key defense witness Rosa Lopez is scheduled to testify today in the O. J. Simpson murder trial. Judge Ito decided she would testify out of order after a hearing in which she said she wanted to return to El Salvador to escape press harassment. Lopez claims she saw Simpson's Ford Bronco outside his home at the time the prosecution alleges he was committing the murders. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that Ito will dismiss a juror who failed to report a domestic-abuse incident on his questionnaire. He would be the fourth juror dismissed in the case.

We're either going to have to change the policies of our federal government or we are going to lose the American dream.''

Sen. Phil Gramm, Republican presidential candidate

ETCETERA

Tom Hanks and Jodie Foster won as best actor and actress at the first Screen Actors Guild awards. Hanks took ''The Actor'' for ''Forrest Gump''; Foster, for ''Nell.'' Other winners: Best supporting actor: Martin Landau, ''Ed Wood.'' Best supporting actress: Dianne Wiest, ''Bullets Over Broadway.'' Best actor in a TV movie or miniseries: Raul Julia, ''The Burning Season.'' Best actress in a TV movie or miniseries: Joanne Woodward, Breathing Lessons.'' Actor in a drama series: Dennis Franz, ''NYPD Blues.'' Actress in a drama series: Kathy Baker, ''Picket Fences.'' Actor in a comedy series: Jason Alexander, ''Seinfeld.'' Actress in a comedy series: Helen Hunt, ''Mad About You.'' Ensemble performance in a drama series: ''NYPD Blues.'' Ensemble performance in a comedy series: ''Seinfeld.''

Top 10 TV Shows, Feb. 13-19

Rank/Show/Network/Rating

1. ''ER,'' NBC, 22.9, 21.9 million homes

2. ''Seinfeld,'' NBC, 22.5, 21.5 million homes

3. ''Seinfeld,'' NBC, 22.2, 21.2 million homes

4. ''Home Improvement,'' ABC, 19.4, 18.5 million homes

5. ''Grace Under Fire,'' ABC, 18.6, 17.7 million homes

6. ''A Woman of Independent Means, Part I -- NBC Sunday Movie,'' NBC, 17.8, 17.0 million homes

7. ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 17.1 16.3 million homes

8. ''Friends,'' NBC, 16.9 16.1 million homes

9. ''Mad About You,'' NBC, 16.5, 15.7 million homes

10. ''NYPD Blue,'' ABC, 16.4 15.6 million homes

(Ratings equal percentage of American homes with TVs)

A. C. Nielsen Co.

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