THE NEWS IN BRIEF

By , Suzanne L. MacLachlan, and Peter E. Nordahl

The World

The US dollar regained ground in European trading, as interest-rate increases in France, Denmark, and Belgium helped it rebound against the German mark and Japanese yen. US Federal Reserve chairman Greenspan called the weak dollar unwelcome, troublesome, and "very likely overdone." Japan said it would consider new economic measures to deal with the problem, but gave no details. (Stories, Pages 1 and 9.)

Mexico's Congress approved terms of a $20 billion US aid package. The move sets the stage for a government economic plan designed to help end uncertainty about the peso and restore investor confidence. The peso has lost almost half its value against the dollar since December and even more against the mark and yen.

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Secretary of State Christopher said he was outraged by the killing of two US consulate employees in Karachi, Pakistan, and vowed to help the Islamabad government bring the killers to justice. Two gunmen sprayed bullets at a van carrying three US government workers, killing the two and wounding a third. They were the first Americans to die in the violence that has swept Karachi over the past year.

Delegates at the UN poverty summit in Copenhagen marked International Women's Day yesterday with a sober message: Up to 70 percent of the world's 1.2 billion poor and two-thirds of the world's illiterate are women. The week-long, 193-nation meeting has been hindered by disagreement over concrete commitments to increase foreign aid to poorer nations, debt relief, and education funding. (Women's Day in Russia, Page 1.)

China foiled a Western attempt to censure its human-rights record for the fifth successive year, narrowly defeating a US-backed draft resolution at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. The resolution was considered moderate, expressing concern at continuing reports of human-rights violations in China.

Rebel Serb leaders in Croatia, warning that war is imminent, met to plan a response in case of a pullout by UN peacekeepers. Croatia, which plans to expel the 12,000 UN soldiers after March 31, says it will try to use peaceful means to regain lands lost to the Serbs. But world leaders say a new Serb-Croat war would likely follow the pullout.

UN members owed the organization a record $3 billion at the end of February, with the US accounting for more than $1 billion. Russia owed the second-biggest debt, $624 million.

Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller said her government would use a landmark agreement with EU states as an opportunity to gain a permanent seat at Europe's table. The EU and Turkey ended more than two decades of negotiations and agreed on a customs union intended to bind Turkey to the West.

Britain will lift some orders restricting the movement of suspected terrorists in Northern Ireland but will not suspend anti-terrorist laws, the government said. Britain currently has exclusion orders against 56 suspects that bar them from entering England, Scotland, and Wales.

Canada and the EU issued conflicting statements in their fishing dispute. Canada said Spanish vessels withdrew from a key area, but an EU spokesman denied this. Canada earlier threatened to seize the ships. Canada and the EU have been arguing over dwindling stocks of Greenland halibut.

A prisoner serving a life sentence for killing former Philippine President Aquino's husband reportedly said he was ordered to kill the senator if an assassin failed to. It was the first time anyone convicted of the murder has spoken about a conspiracy involving senior figures from the armed forces. The US

Workplace productivity rose 2.2 percent last year, the Labor Department said. The increases held labor costs to a 0.9 percent increase, the smallest in three decades. Hourly compensation did not keep pace, however, rising only 0.5 percent; output went up 5.2 percent. The Mortgage Bankers Association said mortgage delinquencies edged up to 4.15 percent in the final quarter of 1994. The association said the trend is up, but that delinquencies are still low by historical standards.

President Clinton signed a largely symbolic order banning federal contractors from hiring replacement workers during strikes. Republicans vowed to swiftly introduce legislation to overturn it.

The House passed a bill requiring the loser in a federal lawsuit to pay the winner's legal fees if a settlement was offered before trial. The winner would pay the loser's fees if he won less than the pretrial settlement offer. (Story, Page 4.)

Representatives Schumer and Gejdenson asked the Justice Department to investigate breakfast-cereal prices. They said thefour largest companies corner the market and keep prices artificially high. Industry defenders said cold-cereal prices have risen less than inflation.

After bitter debate, a House committee approved basic changes in the food-stamp program. Its bill would cap cost-of-living increases at 2 percent. The administration said that would deprive more than 2 million people of benefits in 1996. (Welfare reform, Page 1.)

Two polls show Clinton vulnerable in New York. A Marist Institute poll gave him 42 percent against 44 percent for Senate Dole in a two-way race. A separate New York Post poll by the John Zogby Group said Clinton leads Dole, 45 percent to 38 percent. Both polls showed Clinton beating other potential GOP candidates and General Powell. The president carried the nation's second-largest state in 1992 with 50 percent of the vote.

The national parks are deteriorating because of a $4 billion maintenance backlog and lack of money, Congress's General Accounting Office said. It said an examination of 12 parks and monuments found visitor services cut back and the condition of trails and facilities declining.

Senator Hutchison proposed a six-month moratorium on new listings of endangered species. She spoke at Senate committee hearings on renewal of the Endangered Species Act. The House has approved a bill calling for a moratorium through 1996. Interior Secretary Babbitt called the proposal "a blunderbuss approach" to reforming the law. Meanwhile, 16 environmental groups asked Attorney General Reno to investigate allegations the Forest Service obstructed probes of fraud and timber theft in national forests.

Washington Mayor Barry was expected to announce 12 percent pay cuts for all District of Columbia workers. The move, part of a proposed budget, aims to help close a $722 million deficit. The D.C. Council Tuesday passed a $40 million property-tax rollback to benefit businesses.

A federal judge said Mississippi must spend $30 million to improve its historically black universities. He also ruled that the state cannot close one of its three black colleges as part of a plan to end segregation, and ordered the state to set uniform admission standards for all eight state universities.

International-mail rates will go up in June, the Postal Service said. A half-ounce letter to most foreign countries will cost 60 cents; to Canada, 46 cents. It did not announce the rate to Mexico. Etcetera

An Australian physicist whose inquiries into the nature of the universe have breached the barriers dividing science and theology has has won the $1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. Paul Davies is a professor of natural philosophy at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Moviegoing hit a 34-year high last year. Despite competition from cable TV and videos, box offices across the US attracted nearly 1.3 billion moviegoers, said Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

In an effort to cut costs, American Airlines says it has started serving some passengers their meals before they get on the plane. The food, in coolers beside the gate, can be picked up before or during boarding. First-class passengers and people ordering special meals are still served on the plane.

Classic leadoff man Ritchie Ashburn, Negro leagues star Leon Day, National League pitcher Vic Willis, and National League founder William Hulbert were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday. The four inductees were chosen by the 17-member Veterans Committee. Best-Selling Hardcover Fiction 1. "The Celestine Prophecy," James Redfield (Warner) 2. "Border Music," Robert James Waller (Warner) 3. "Original Sin," P. D. James (Knopf) 4. "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories," James Finn Garner (Macmillan) 5. "The Glass Lake," Maeve Binchy (Delacorte) 6. "The Cat Who Blew the Whistle," Lilian Jackson Braun (Putnam) 7. "Kiss the Girls," James Patterson (Little, Brown) 8. "Eyes of a Child," Richard North Patterson (Knopf) 9. "The Bridges of Madison County," Robert James Waller (Warner) 10. "Home Song," LaVyrle Spencer (Putnam)

- Publishers Weekly

``While the details of this brutal attack are unclear, it is yet another reminder of the dangers we confront in the worldwide struggle against terrorism."

- Secretary of State Christopher on the ambush of Americans in Karachi

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