News In Brief

By , David Mutch, and Peter E. Nordahl

The World

Egyptian and Israeli officials will meet today in Paris to discuss differences over nuclear arms. Egypt has been lobbying for Israel to sign on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in an effort to free the Middle East of nuclear weapons. Egyptian President Mubarak said he opposes the US policy of extending the treaty without Israel signing on. China said it wants an international agreement to ban first-strike use of nuclear weapons and pledged not to be the first to use them. An NPT review conference is scheduled for April 17 in New York. (Story, Page 1.)

Palestinian police arrested six Hamas supporters in the Gaza Strip. The arrests came after a suspected Hamas bombmaking factory exploded last Sunday. Hamas opposes Israeli-PLO peace talks. PLO Chairman Arafat said Israeli Army explosives were found at the explosion site, feeding rumors that some Israelis have a secret pact with Hamas to halt the peace deal.

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Police investigating the sect suspected in the Tokyo nerve-gas attack focused on a woman arrested at an airport carrying a box filled with passports and lists of sect members. She was identified as the wife of a senior member of the um Shinri Kyo.

Up to 4,000 refugees a day are pouring out of Chechnya, overwhelming the neighboring region of Dagestan. More than 20,000 Chechens crossed last week. Since the Russian invasion Dec. 11, about 500,000 Chechens have been forced from their homes.

Trade diplomats accused Japan of dragging its heels over measures to open its market to foreign imports. The criticism came as Japan faced a review of its trade policy by the world trade body, the General Agreement on Tarrifs and Trade.

Fighting in northeast Bosnia reached its most intense level since the Muslim-led government launched an offensive March 20, UN observers said.

Voters in Scotland go the the polls today in local elections and are expected to give a massive thumbs down to British Prime Minister Major's ruling Conservatives. In Washington, Major and President Clinton patched up angry differences over policy on Northern Ireland.

Peruvians will vote Sunday on whether to give President Fujimori another five years to implement his free-market policies. Fujimori is leading in the polls.

Cambodia said violent clashes between the Khmer Rouge guerrillas and government military forces have sharply increased. Up to 53,000 people have been displaced by the most recent fighting.

About 60 more people were killed in Burundi, raising the toll to 500 in two weeks. In Kenya, two leading opposition members of parliament said President Moi's government raided their offices and placed them under arrest. War-crimes investigators in Rwanda identified 400 suspects who may face charges of genocide or other atrocities, the chief prosecutor said.

Irish police arrested four suspected members of the Irish National Liberation Army, including its reputed commander.

The US

The House was expected to vote on a $189 billion tax-cut plan. Speaker Gingrich said he was two to three votes short of being assured the bill would not be blocked from debate. He vowed to hold the House in session beyond Friday's scheduled break to ensure passage of the measure. House Democrats, meanwhile, gathered signatures on a letter asking Clinton to veto legislation that combines health insurance tax deductions for about 3 million Americans with a tax break for media magnate Rupert Murdoch.

Senator Dole scheduled a showdown vote today on a $15 billion spending-cuts package. The Republicans want to cancel already-approved spending for summer youth jobs, public broadcasting, and other programs. Democratic leaders want to force a vote on an amendment restoring $1.3 billion of the GOP cuts in education and children's programs.

House and Senate negotiators appear ready to agree on a $2.7 billion supplemental defense-spending bill. The chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriation Committees forged a compromise on competing versions of a bill to replenish Pentagon accounts used to pay for deployments to Haiti and elsewhere. Clinton earlier warned that unless the money is approved this week, he would order sharp cuts in training and maintenance. (Story, Page 3.)

The House approved a measure that would impose longer prison terms on people convicted of federal child pornography or prostitution offenses. The lawmakers also passed a measure that would require federal agencies to get consent from parents before surveying minors about sex or religion.

The administration is drafting proposals aimed at limiting oil sales by Iran. White House Press Secretary McCurry said top advisers to Clinton met and discussed increased sanctions on Iran.

Wholesalers' inventories of goods increased for the eighth consecutive month in February despite stronger sales, the Commerce Department said. Department officials said the combined jump in January and February inventories was the sharpest for any two-month period in more than seven years.

A federal jury found Francisco Duran, a Colorado hotel worker, guilty of tying to kill Clinton last October when he shot at the White House.

One in 5 Democrats thinks Clinton should not seek reelection, according to a poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. The survey found Clinton vulnerable to a challenge from Senator Dole. Colin Powell, meanwhile, said he was considering running for president, though he isn't sure if he'll seek the nomination of either major party.

Chicago Mayor Daley scored a landslide victory over independent Roland Burris, winning a second full term.

A panel of the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals denied baseball owners' request to have an injunction stayed, clearing the way for the season to begin April 26. (Story, Page 1.)

Investigators are looking into assertions that Washington Mayor Barry's wife funneled $2,000 in campaign funds to her brother. The allegations were published by the Washington Post. Standard & Poor's, meanwhile, threatened to further downgrade District of Columbia municipal bonds.

Striking transit workers spent a second day frustrating suburban commuters, blocking two stations outside Philadelphia (Story, Page 18.).

A federal appeals court ruled the City College of New York didn't violate a professor's free-speech rights when it demoted him for anti-Semitic remarks. The Supreme Court had ordered the appeals court to reconsider the college's effort to oust Leonard Jeffries as chairman of its black studies department.

Etcetera

After months of controversy, the Egyptian government abandoned plans to build a superhighway past the Pyramids at Giza. Cairo will instead adopt a route that avoids the plateau site, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Authorities will likely dig up the part of the eight-lane road that has already been built.

''Waltzing Matilda,'' Australia's unofficial national anthem, turns 100 this month, and Australians plan a number of celebrations. For instance, Winton, a dusty Outback town of 1,200 where the ballad was first sung, expects to be inundated by 10,000 people.

Moscow's Tretyakov art gallery, home to Russian masterpieces spanning nine centuries, reopened Wednesday decked out in marble, fresh paint, and modern security systems, after a decade of renovation. It contains 100,000 works of art.

The circus came to Capitol Hill yesterday, marking the 125th anniversary of Ringling Brothers. The free, one-day performance, arranged by House Speaker Gingrich, an animal lover since boyhood, was endorsed by both houses of Congress

Weekly Top Video Rentals

1. ''Timecop,'' (MCA-Universal)

2.''Clear and Present Danger,'' (Paramount)

3. ''Natural Born Killers,'' (Warner)

4. ''True Lies,'' (FoxVideo)

5. ''Stargate,'' (Live)

6. ''Color of Night,'' (Hollywood)

7. ''The River Wild,'' (MCA-Universal)

8. ''The Lion King,'' (Disney)

9. ''Milk Money,'' (Paramount)

10. ''It Could Happen to You,'' (Columbia TriStar)

11. ''Wolf,'' (Columbia TriStar)

12. ''The Client,'' (Warner)

13. ''The Little Rascals,'' (MCA-Universal)

14. ''In the Army Now,'' (Hollywood)

15. ''Corrina, Corrina,'' (New Line)

Copyright 1995, Billboard Publications Inc.

``I've checked the Constitution very carefully, and you do not have to belong to a political party.''

Colin Powell on running for the presidency

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