News In Brief

THE WORLD

Japanese Prime Minister Murayama demanded a full investigation of yesterday's nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway system. Police said the toxic agent was sarin, a nerve gas that can be fatal even in small doses. The gas was planted in wrapped containers in at least five subway cars on three train lines. Six people were killed and more than 3,227 were treated in hospitals. No group immediately claimed responsibility, and there was no obvious motive.

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Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq in a major new thrust against Kurdish guerrillas. An Iraqi opposition group said the Turkish Army bombarded villages around the Iraqi town of Zakho, eight miles inside the border. There was no immediate word on casualties. The operation came after Kurdish rebels killed 15 Turkish soldiers in an ambush in southeastern Turkey last weekend.

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US Defense Secretary Perry flew to Kuwait from Saudi Arabia, where he received assurances of continued US military access to Saudi air bases and ports. Perry will also visit Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar this week, urging the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to improve its military forces and defense coordination in the face of growing threats from Iraq and Iran.

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The Israeli army confined 100,000 Arabs to their homes in Hebron to protect them from revenge attacks for the killing of two Jewish settlers by Palestinian gunmen. Settlers rioted in Hebron, demanding that Prime Minister Rabin break off Palestinian autonomy talks. The Muslim militant group An Israeli official blamed Hamas for the ambush.

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Leaders of the EU, Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, and Russia adopted a stability pact intended to eliminate the dangers of more Yugoslav-style conflicts in Central and Eastern Europe. Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev told the Paris conference that the rush to extend NATO, rather than building wider security structures to include all European states, would recreate cold-war divisions. Kozyrev is to meet US Secretary of State Christopher this week to discuss the issue. Meanwhile, the White House said President Clinton would attend ceremonies in Moscow May 9 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

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Heavy fighting erupted in central Bosnia and around the strategic northern Tuzla region, in the most serious breach yet of a four-month cease-fire. There were unconfirmed reports of dozens of people killed in Tuzla.

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Authorities in China's Himalayan region of Tibet announced a crackdown on temples and monks in the Buddhist region in an effort to crush the Dalai Lama's influence. China also ordered a new offensive against unplanned babies, especially among farmers and migrant workers.

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Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams returned from a groundbreaking US visit confident that Britain would lift a ban on ministerial-level talks with his Irish republican party. But Prime Minister Major said Britain is still waiting for the IRA's allies in Sinn Fein to make a commitment to disarm. After a phone call with Major, Clinton pledged to work closely with him to foster peace in Northern Ireland, even if Britain disagrees with Clinton's tactics.

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Finnish voters threw out their center-right coalition government and gave Social Democrats their biggest election victory since World War II. The defeat followed four years of unpopular welfare cuts during Finland's worst recession in half a century.

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An Algerian TV journalist was killed yesterday by suspected Islamic guerrillas. Rachida Hammadi was the first female journalist killed since Islamic militants began targeting journalists in 1993.

THE US

The House is set to begin debate on the GOP welfare-reform plan today. Democrats sponsored a ''lunch in'' on the Capitol steps Sunday, serving 3,500 children sandwiches and cookies. They claim GOP reform of the school-lunch program, which turns it over to states in the form of block grants capped at 4.5 percent growth per year, means schoolchildren will go hungry. House Republicans called the demonstration ''a sad display of exploitation and propaganda.'' The bill will probably pass by the end of the week.

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Housing Secretary Cisneros was set to present a plan to revamp public housing and cut $13 billion from HUD's budget. He would create a ''housing certificate fund'' to route rent-assistance monies to families in voucher form. Many Republicans want to eliminate HUD.

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The Supreme Court refused to let a Texas man sue a school where his son was killed. The father had argued that school officials had a duty to protect his son, who was shot by a nonstudent. The court also upheld an $18.7 million award against Chrysler Corp., won by an inventor who said the company stole his design for intermittent windshield wipers. In a repressed-memories case, justices rejected the appeal of an Ohio man ordered to pay $2.65 million to a niece, who says she recently remembered he sexually abused her years ago. During the original trial, jurors heard a tape in which the uncle admitted the abuse.

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The Labor Department was scheduled to propose scaled-back rules on repetitive-motion injuries in the workplace. The Washington Post said the rules would cover 21 million employees instead of 96 million as originally planned last June. The move comes days after the House voted to cut Labor's budget for refusing to honor GOP calls for a moratorium on new federal safety regulations.

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Senator Packwood said a tax-cut bill currently before the House would not pass the Senate without a concrete spending-cut plan. House budget committee chairman Kasich promised by May a comprehensive plan to slash the budget and cut taxes. Congress must trim $1 trillion in federal spending to balance the budget by 2002. The House GOP proposal would cut taxes $189 billion over five years; the administration wants to cut them $69 billion over the same period.

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Two more storms roared across the Pacific, and forecasters said they would hit northern California Tuesday and Wednesday. A storm yesterday packed 50-mile-an-hour winds, and six feet of snow were predicted in the Sierra. Californians in flooded areas tried to pick up the pieces, but some may never return home. Sonoma County officials say some houses on the Russian River have flooded so many times in the last decade that it may be cheaper for the government to buy them instead of continually restoring them.

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A pileup involving more than 100 cars halted traffic in both directions on an I-10 bridge near Mobile, Ala. Police blamed heavy fog for the accidents; at press time, one person was reported killed and at least 43 others injured.

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A federal grand jury is investigating Denver's minority-contracting program. The Rocky Mountain News said part of the investigation focuses on building of the new Denver airport. The probe is just one of several into the airport's construction.

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The federal government is investigating automakers' loans to minorities, the Detroit News said. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission want to find out whether the Big Three charged minorities a higher interest rate.

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Convicted murderer Thomas Grasso was executed in Oklahoma. Former New York Governor Cuomo had won a court fight to make Grasso serve out a 20-years-to-life sentence in New York before his execution. But new GOP Governor Pataki, honoring a campaign pledge, sent Grasso back to Oklahoma soon after his election.

ETCETERA

It's not my view to just let things that I think aren't good, either for the country or the party, go by.''

-- GOP Senator Chafee, on his opposition to antiregulatory measures passed by the House

Wildlife authorities in Zimbabwe put 8,000 elephants up for sale yesterday. The national parks department is trying to reduce herds to protect landscapes in six reserves. It prefers that the elephants stay in southern Africa. Unsold animals may have to be killed.

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Western art lovers are trying to keep a famous painting in Montana. Organizers are ''selling'' square inches of Charles Russell's ''The Exalted Ruler'' for $250 donations. So far, $750,000 of the $1.1 million purchase price has been raised.

At 11, Michael Kierney of Mobile, Ala., the youngest known college graduate in the world, plans to begin graduate study at the University of West Florida in Pensacola this summer. He has a degree in anthropology.

Top 10 Country Singles

1. ''This Man and This Woman,'' Clay Walker (Giant)

2. ''Thinkin' About You,'' Trisha Yearwood (MCA)

3. ''For a Change,'' Neal McCoy (Atlantic)

4. ''Wherever You Go,'' Clint Black (RCA)

5. ''Amy's Back in Austin,'' Little Texas (Warner Bros.)

6. ''As Any Fool Can See,'' Tracy Lawrence (Atlantic)

7. ''Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart,'' Shenandoah -- Alison Kraus (Liberty)

8. ''Which Bridge to Cross (Which Bridge to Burn),'' Vince Gill (MCA)

9. ''So Help Me Girl,'' Joe Diffie (Epic)

10. ''Down in Flames,'' Blackhawk (Arista)

Copyright 1995, Billboard -- Broadcast Data Systems

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