News In Brief

THE WORLD

Turkish Prime Minister Ciller appealed for calm after 17 people were killed and at least 100 injured in two days of clashes in Istanbul between Turkish police and demonstrators. Turkish officials accused ''dark forces'' of being behind the rioting, which began March 12 after an unknown gunman killed two people and injured 15 in a drive-by shooting. Turkish authorities said a committee of parliament members would investigate the rioting.

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Britain announced it would withdraw several hundred troops from Northern Ireland. It is the first reduction in its massive armed presence in the province since last September's IRA cease-fire. Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary Mayhew said the decision ''reflects the improved security situation and is a further step toward normality.''

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Spain will reimpose visa requirements on Canadian tourists after Canada recently seized a Spanish fishing trawler. Spain's Foreign Minister Solana said the measure was one possible way Madrid could strike back in its dispute with Ottawa over North Atlantic fish stocks.

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The UN Security Council will extend the oil embargo and trade sanctions against Iraq until at least May. Washington demanded that the measures continue until Iraq cooperates with UN weapons monitors, returns missing Kuwaiti military equipment, and improves its human rights record. The measures were imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.

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A new era of US-Russian space was crowned when US astronaut Norman Thagard and two Russian cosmonauts blasted off in a Soyuz space capsule March 14. The trio will spend three months aboard the space station Mir. The mission is part of an agreement between the countries that is supposed to lead to construction of an international space station beginning in 1997.

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Senior UN envoy Akashi reported little progress in trying to convince warring Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-led government to honor a cease-fire and to extend it into the summer. Nine French peacekeepers in Sarajevo died and four were injured March 14 when their truck plunged off a mountain road near Sarajevo.

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Israeli Prime Minister Rabin told a parliament committee that there had been ''almost no change'' in Israel's position regarding an agreement with Syria and said the key building blocks for peace were still missing. The announcement came after US Secretary of State Christopher held back-to-back talks with Rabin and Syrian President Assad in hopes of reopening negotiations between the two countries.

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PLO and Israeli delegates resumed talks in Cairo March 14 on expanding Palestinian self-rule and drafting plans for Palestinian elections. Negotiators will try to build on a PLO-Israel agreement that set July 1 as a target for drawing up a plan for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and holding elections.

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Former Mexican President Salinas denied government allegations that he has taken political exile in the US. In a written statement, Salinas said he was visiting New York on business, but that he planned to travel to other countries.

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Women continue to be largely absent in the highest ranks of the permanent missions to the UN, according to a new UN report. As of January 1994, women headed only seven missions out of 187. Among the 240 delegates holding ambassadorial rank, only 11 were women.

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Ethnic warfare in Ghana that killed thousands of people in a northern region last year flared up again, leaving at least eight people dead and 21 wounded.

THE US

A Senate Republican package of options for trimming Medicare, Medicaid, and other benefit programs drew fire from advocates for the elderly. The proposals, released March 13 by Senator Judd, include a new way to compute the inflation rate that would reduce the growth of certain benefits and raise taxes for many Americans. Senator Dole is studying the proposals.

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Education Secretary Riley said the US could lose its sense of national educational purpose if Republicans pursued the idea of abolishing the Education Department. Presidential candidates Dole, Alexander, and Gramm all have said education is best administered at the state and local levels. House Speaker Gingrich said the department is an ''enormous disappointment.''

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Seeking to display early strength in his presidential bid, Dole traveled to New York to accept the endorsements of Governor Pataki and other state GOP leaders. Patrick Buchanan, meanwhile, said he would announce his presidential campaign in New Hampshire the week of March 17 and acknowledged that he was a long shot.

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Retail sales declined in February for the first time in nearly a year. Sales fell five-tenths of 1 percent, the Commerce Department said. The current account deficit set a record during the fourth quarter and was the highest in seven years for all of 1994.

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White House Chief of Staff Panetta was to visit flood-ravaged California March 14. Crops were submerged after another storm hit northern California March 13, but skies were expected to clear by March 15. Local farm experts predicted a financial fallout from the flooding.

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The Postal Service proposed sweeping changes in its rate structure aimed primarily at businesses. Consumers will feel the change only in the cost of mailing a postcard, which will rise to 21 cents. The Postal Service said its new rate structure would be fairer, charging less for mail that is less expensive to deliver.

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A federal judge decided to rule on four California lawsuits seeking to overturn a voter-approved law that denies almost all services to illegal aliens. She refused to allow the issue to be decided in state court. A trial on the Proposition 187 issue is scheduled for Sept. 5.

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Clinton appointed Lt. Gen. Charles Kurlak as head of the US Marine Corps. The announcement was timed to coincide with ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the battle for Iwo Jima in Japan.

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The federal government plans to execute its first inmate in 32 years on March 30. David Ronald Chandler is an alleged drug kingpin convicted of hiring another man to murder a police informant. He is the first federal defendant sentenced to death under a 1988 law allowing capital punishment for killings associated with a continuing criminal enterprise.

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The State University of New York will close or merge eight campuses and raise tuition by $1,600 for undergraduates if the state budget is approved with no changes. University trustees said 2,500 jobs would be eliminated and 720 campus programs cut or curtailed under Governor Pataki's proposed budget.

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The administration decided to block a US oil company subsidiary's deal to develop two Persian Gulf oil fields for Iran, the Houston Chronicle reported. Some administration officials suggested that Conoco had asked for an executive order blocking the deal by one of its Dutch subsidiaries to provide it with a graceful withdrawal, the paper said. The deal was the first involving a US oil company and Iran since 1979.

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Defense attorney F. Lee Bailey will continue his cross-examination of police Detective Mark Fuhrman in the O. J. Simpson trial. On March 13, Bailey implied that Fuhrman tried to frame Simpson by planting a bloody glove on his estate. He also suggested that Fuhrman wiped the bloody glove inside Simpson's Ford Bronco.

ETCETERA

Something you can finally use from Washington -- the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!''

-- Oliver North, launching his new radio talk show in Silver Spring, Md.

At the Pan American games being held this year in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the US led the medals chart through March 13. It had received 60, 23 of them gold. Cuba was next with 38 overall, 20 gold. Host Argentina had 27 overall, six gold.

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Oliver North, controversial Iran-contra figure and failed US Senate candidate, made his debut March 13 as a tart-tongued talk-show host. His program runs daily in the afternoon on WWRC radio in Washington. North says his mission is to keep the federal government honest.

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Someone dropped a bag full of money on a residential street in Charleston, W. Va., sending people into a money-grabbing frenzy. By the time police arrived, every dollar was gone. Police don't know who dropped the clear plastic bag of bills, or how much was in it.

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Euro Disney will cut peak-season ticket prices 22 percent this summer to attract more visitors, the theme park announced March 14. Starting April 1, admission will be 195 francs ($39), compared with 250 francs ($50) last summer.

Top-Grossing Films In the US, March 10-12

(Preliminary figures)

1. ''Outbreak,'' $13.4 million

2. ''Man of the House,'' $7.2 million

3. ''The Brady Bunch Movie,'' $3.5 million

4. ''Just Cause,'' $3.1 million

5. ''Hideaway,'' $2.7 million

5. ''Roommates,'' $2.7 million

7. ''Pulp Fiction,'' $2.1 million

8. ''Forrest Gump,'' $1.9 million

9. ''Legends of the Fall,'' $1.4 million

10. ''Billy Madison,'' $1.3 million

--Associated Press

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