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News In Brief

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Senate majority leader Dole says he rejected an offer by Oregon Senator Hatfield to resign from the Senate when it came time to vote on the balanced-budget amendment. Hatfield was the only Republican to vote against it. On other issues, Dole urged the Clinton administration to look more critically at Russian President Yeltsin's actions toward breakaway Chechnya.

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Warning of on-line troubles ahead, backers of a new bill in Congress want companies, universities, and anyone else providing access to the Internet to keep the worldwide network clean. One recent study found almost 100,000 pornographic images accessible by users of one university system. The Communications Decency Act was proposed by Senator Exon Representative Johnson.

The Supreme Court made it easier for employers to revise or cancel health insurance and other benefits provided to employees. Ruling in a New Jersey case, the justices said standard wording that gives a company the right to amend a plan is valid. The court also ruled that the government can stretch out Medicare payments that cover hospitals' losses from refinancing mortgage bonds. On another matter, the court refused to shield Representative McDade from racketeering and bribery charges.

Former Representative Oakar of Ohio faces indictment on seven felony charges. She is accused of failing to disclose a loan on a required summary of finances writing a $17,000 bad check, and filing false campaign records. The government has also accused former Representative Lukens of Ohio of bribery.

Astronauts aboard the shuttle Endeavour aimed their telescopes and gathered ultraviolet light from the Small Magelanic Cloud, an irregularly shaped galaxy near the spiral-shaped Milky Way. Seventeen galaxies are on scientists' 600-object wish list. Endeavour is due to land March 17.

Massachusetts Attorney General Harshbarger plans to sue the tobacco industry. He wants it to pay for the hundreds of millions of dollars the state has spent treating Medicaid patients for what were diagnosed as smoking-related diseases. Massachusetts joins a handful of states looking to hold cigarettemakers accountable.

Talks between striking baseball players and owners in Scottsdale, Ariz., broke down again. Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board was expected to rule against the owners this week, and that could lead to a federal injunction restoring the old work rules. Players say that if the injunction comes through, they would end the strike.

Residents of the seaside hamlet of La Conchita, Calif., had to abandon their homes to escape the rain-saturated hillside that threatened to release more waves of mud and rock. Nine homes were destroyed Saturday when a soggy hillside collapsed on La Conchita, about 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Etcetera

Tim Allen won four "People's Choice" awards for his ABC sitcom "Home Improvement" and the movie "The Santa Clause." The hit movie "Forrest Gump" and NBC's TV medical drama "E.R." each won two awards. NBC's "Ellen" and "Friends" tied for favorite new TV comedy series. Ron Howard received a special tribute for his career as a film and TV actor, director, and producer.

Embarrassed German authorities said dynamite, not a meteorite, caused a 65-foot-wide crater near Munich. A farmer said he heard a bang and saw mud and water blown 500 feet into the air. Authorities originally said a space object was responsible.

Twenty-six Pacific nations have launched a campaign to save the marine turtle from extinction, demanding a ban on commercial sales. Top 10 Pop Singles 1. "Take a Bow," Madonna (Maverick-Sire) (Gold) 2. "Creep," TLC (LaFace) (Platinum) 3. "Candy Rain," Soul for Real (Uptown) (Gold) 4. "Baby," Brandy (Atlantic) 5. "You Gotta Be," Des'ree (Music) 6. "Another Night," Real McCoy (Arista) (Platinum) 7. "On Bended Knee," Boyz II Men (Motown) (Platinum) 8. "If You Love Me," Brownstone (MJJ) (Gold) 9. "Strong Enough," Sheryl Crow (A&M) 10. "Hold My Hand," Hootie & the Blowfish (Atlantic) * (Platinum - more than 1 million copies sold; Gold - more than 500,000 copies sold.)- Copyright 1995, Billboard-Soundscan Inc. - Broadcast Data Systems.

``My commitment to a balanced federal budget is strong.... We do not need to amend the Constitution in order to do that." - Sen. Mark Hatfield (R), explaining his Senate vote against the balanced-budget amendment