News In Brief

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

The World

Japanese police reportedly want to question a hospitalized man about the Tokyo subway nerve-gas attack. Eyewitnesses said they saw the man, who was injured in the attack, placing a gas container on a train. At press time, eight people had died in the attack, some 4,700 had been treated, and 700 were still in the hospital. The controversial Aum Shinri Kyo Buddhist religious group angrily denied press reports that it was involved. (Story, Page 6.)

Bosnian Serbs shelled Tuzla for a second day. Government forces reportedly won ground north of Travnik and on the Majevica heights overlooking Tuzla. Firing around Sarajevo also increased. UN officials warned the new fighting could lead to collapse of a shaky four-month cease-fire, which expires May 1. (Croatia, Page 1.)

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Turkish jets bombed Kurdish rebel camps, and 35,000 troops secured a 25-mile (40-kilometer) zone inside Iraq. But some reports said separatists may have escaped back into Turkey. The camps are located in the Western-protected safe haven for Iraqi Kurds. In Germany, a Kurdish bombing campaign against Turkish interests continued for the eighth straight night.

Italian Renato Ruggiero looks set to become head of the World Trade Organization. The US was reportedly prepared to support him, and rival Kim Chul Su of South Korea withdrew. Kim will become a deputy head instead. Mexican ex-President Salinas withdrew earlier after his brother's arrest for murder. The moves end months of wrangling.

Crimea's parliament Speaker insisted the region's constitution remains in force despite a Ukrainian parliamentary ruling abolishing it.The region has been at loggerheads with Kiev over autonomy since the breakup of the Soviet Union. A Russian vice premier visiting Kiev called it an internal Ukrainian matter.

A Mexican court sentenced the assassin of a ruling-party leader to 50 years in prison. Six others have been sentenced; the brother of former President Salinas faces charges of masterminding the crime. Meanwhile, thousands of debtors surrounded the Interior Ministry March 20 to protest soaring interest rates.

Israel's deputy foreign minister made a surprise visit to Cairo to discuss the peace process and nuclear nonproliferation. In Israel, police banned cars entering from Gaza after they discovered a truck full of explosives. They arrested two Palestinians they said were planning a major attack.

US officials expressed concern over reports of a new Russian offensive in Chechnya. The reports came on the eve of Secretary of State Christopher's meeting with Foreign Minister Kozyrev. The US is also upset about planned Russian sales of nuclear equipment to Iran.

Namibia's President Nujoma was inaugurated for his second term as the nation celebrated five years of independence from South Africa. Nujoma named himself police minister March 20, causing concern about concentration of power.

Troops patrolled Bujumbura's streets after two days of ethnic violence between Burundi's Hutus and Tutsis. Six people were reported killed and 11 wounded March 20; 17 were murdered a day earlier.

Suspected Islamist gunmen killed a top news media executive in Algeria. The day before, female journalist Rachida Hammadi was wounded and her sister killed in another attack. The Islamic Salvation Front told government workers to quit their jobs or be killed.

India's Congress Party avoided a split when dissident A. K. Antony was named chief minister of Kerala State.

The US

President Clinton urged quick passage of a bill that would give him power to slash individual items from federal spending bills. Republican lawmakers filed a motion calling for a vote March 22 to stop a Democratic filibuster. The 54 GOP senators need six Democrats to side with them to bring the bill to a vote. (Story, Page 3.)

House GOP leaders want to level off defense spending at $270 billion a year through the end of the century. The plan would result in a drop in the military's buying power. It also indicates that GOP leaders would not protect the Pentagon as they seek ways to balance the federal budget and cut taxes.

More than 100 House Republicans asked GOP leaders to limit a $500-a-child tax cut to families earning $95,000 or less. Senator Packwood said cutting the deficit may require raising tax revenues in addition to reducing spending. The Finance Committee earlier went along with a House move eliminating a tax break for broadcast or cable TV companies that sell properties to minorities. Packwood also mentioned the possibility of capping the home mortgage deduction at $250,000.

A Washington Post-ABC News survey showed 56 percent of 1,524 adults polled support most of the GOP Contract With America. Fifty percent said Republicans have begun to break the gridlock in Washington; 48 percent said the GOP is keeping its campaign promises; 51 percent said Republicans are trying to do too much at once; and 52 percent said the more they hear about congressional Republican action, the less they like it.

The administration's plan to revamp federal housing programs ran into Republican opposition. Congressional leaders said the $13 billion in reductions proposed by Housing Secretary Cisneros do not go far enough.

Former Kansas Congressman Glickman was to begin conformation hearings March 21 on his nomination for Agriculture Secretary. The Senate is expected to confirm him.

Clinton named former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell as head of a new Justice Department office designed to stem violence against women. Clinton was to make the announcement as part of an event focusing on crimes against women. He is trying to bolster the 1994 crime bill in the face of Republican attacks.

The Supreme Court limited the government's ability to appeal to a federal court when dissatisfied by an administrative board's ruling. The court said government administrators generally don't have the proper legal standing to mount such appeals.

California Governor Wilson is expected to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee. Though not a formal declaration of candidacy, the committee would allow Wilson to raise and spend money in a bid for the nomination. (Story, Page 1.) Pat Buchanan accused Jewish protesters of ''Brownshirt tactics'' after they interrupted his presidential declaration speech in New Hampshire March 20. The protesters accused him of being a racist.

The Boston Celtics prepared to retire Reggie Lewis's number at the Boston Garden amid talk that the former team captain used cocaine. In a report on Lewis's 1993 death, the Wall Street Journal said he refused to take a drug test, and that concerns about finances and bad publicity prompted the Celtics to ignore drugs as a possible cause. In a follow-up article, a friend said he and Lewis used cocaine five days before Lewis collapsed in April. He died in August.

Acting baseball commissioner Selig and union head Fehr met secretly in Washington in an effort to restart talks. Owners and players agreed it would be impossible for major leaguers to begin the season on time.

Federal wildlife officials announced a plan to revive endangered salmon populations on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, including captive breeding and buying up fishing boats. (Story, Page 3.)

Etcetera

The World Bank is giving Uzbekistan $32 million to try to save the Aral Sea, a once-huge saltwater lake that has been so drained and polluted that it is in danger of drying up completely. Experts from the US, Russia, Australia, and the Netherlands have been invited to find corrective solutions. The sea, in Central Asia, was once one of the world's biggest inland bodies of water.

Bill Koch's controversial move of putting a man on the previously all-women America3 sailing team paid off -- for one race, at least. With veteran tactician Dave Dellenbaugh at the helm, Mighty Mary beat Dennis Connor's Stars & Stripes by 1 minute, 36 seconds March 20 to tie for second in the America's Cup defender semifinals.

More than 1,000 eager Elton John fans lined up along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood March 20 for the rare opportunity to get the rock star's autograph. He was in Los Angeles to promote his new album called ''Made in England.'' Tower Records stayed open past midnight to accommodate the event.

Top-Grossing Films In the US, March 17-19

(Preliminary figures)

1. ''Outbreak,'' $10.7 million

2. ''Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh,'' $6.3 million

3. ''Man of the House,'' $5.5 million

4. ''Bye Bye, Love,'' $4.6 million

5. ''Losing Isaiah,'' $2.7 million

6. ''The Brady Bunch Movie,'' $2.1 million

7. ''Pulp Fiction,'' $2 million

8. ''Just Cause,'' $1.7 million

9. ''Forest Gump,'' $1.65 million

10. ''Roommates,'' $1.4 million

Associated Press

``I don't think the few of my colleagues who keep trying to raise the temperature on our relations with Europe to great heights are doing a great deal of good for market confidence.''

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Clarke, replying to anti-Europe Conservatives

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