News In Brief

THE WORLD

At least seven Israelis were killed and 40 wounded in two car-bomb attacks in the Gaza Strip. One suicide van exploded as it passed a bus near a Jewish settlement, killing seven people and wounding 20. Two hours later, a second car-bomb attack wounded other Israelis near another settlement. Islamic militants claimed responsibility.

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Peruvians went to the polls yesterday to decide whether to retain President Fujimori for five more years, but a vote-rigging scheme in the city of Huanuco clouded the election. Some 15 people were charged with efforts to favor Fujimori.

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The UN closed Sarajevo airport after Serbs riddled a US plane with artillery fire and refused to guarantee the safety of humanitarian flights. China's foreign minister arrived in Belgrade for talks with Serbian President Milosevic. China does not favor current UN economic sanctions on Serbia.

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Iraq is developing nuclear weapons in breach of a UN ban, London's Sunday Times said, citing a defecting Iraqi scientist.

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The top Arab human-rights group urged Turkey to stop its incursion in northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels. The Arab Organization for Human Rights said Turkey has violated the rights of civilians and the sovereignty of Iraq. US Deputy Secretary of State Talbot arrives in Ankara today to push for a withdrawal.

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Japanese police arrested the top doctor at a Tokyo hospital affiliated with the sect suspected of gassing the Tokyo subway. The doctor was accused of illegally confining a 23-year-old female member of the group.

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Bhutto said India's weapons program threatens an arms race with Pakistan, and she urged international talks to halt the spread of mass-destruction weapons in South Asia. Bhutto arrived in the US last week and has already met with Senator Dole. She will meet President Clinton tomorrow.

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The Philippine government said the group blamed for last week's attack on the town of Ipil is linked to terrorist groups in the Middle East and South Asia. The Abu Sayyaf group is thought to be the local chapter of a Libyan terrorist group active in Egypt and Pakistan.

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Mexico's government and Chiapas rebels met for the first time in more than a year, hoping to set a time and place for peace talks. Rebels seek to end exploitation of indigenous people in southern Chiapas state.

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Voters in Japan's two largest cities elected TV entertainers as governors, rebuking mainstream political parties. Tokyo's next governor is a former TV actor named Yukio Aoshima. Osaka's governor is comedian ''Knock'' Yokoyama. Aoshima, to prove his untainted style, did not campaign.

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The suicide of a senior Chinese official under suspicion of corruption has exposed the extent of investigations into high-level graft in the Communist Party, analysts said. He was the first senior official to commit suicide since the end of the Cultural Revolution.

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Quebec's separatist bloc could split over a proposal that endorses formal economic ties with the rest of Canada. Lucien Bouchard made the proposal at a party convention on Friday.

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Guerrilla forces killed four Russian border guards in the third day of fighting in Tajikistan. The Islamic fighters, some based in neighboring Afghanistan, were driven from their country in 1992 after losing an election. Up to 20,000 people have been killed in the subsequent civil war. Tajikistan has appealed to the UN and the Commonwealth of Independent States for help.

THE US

President Clinton wrapped up a a three-day trip to the West. He told a California audience that Democrats must be prepared to abandon affirmative-action programs that don't work. Citing figures that 1 of every 12 students carries a gun, Clinton also called for public pressure to persuade House Republicans to fund a federal program to deal with the ''national crisis.'' In his weekly radio address, he criticized Republican welfare-reform plans.

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Senator Dole will formally enter the Republican race for president today as the front-runner. Making his third bid for his party's nomination in 15 years, Dole will announce his candidacy from the capitol building in Topeka, Kan. Dole earlier said the Senate will adopt tax cuts but won't simply rubber-stamp the House-approved package.

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A top federal regulator said US banks may be lending money too easily. Eugene Ludwig, comptroller of the currency, said a committee is being formed to look into the matter. Other regulators recently have urged bankers to exercise restraint when making loans. Economists, meanwhile, said the dollar's continued decline could force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again, undermining the economic expansion.

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Conservative House Republicans, supported by several Democrats, proposed repealing the ban on assault-style weapons. The measure also could overturn some state and local gun laws. Republicans have made lifting the assault-weapons ban a priority. The House is expected to vote on the bill next month.

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Senator Simpson said he and his staff were investigating the financial dealings of the American Association of Retired Persons. They are looking at the AARP's books, business interests, and hiring practices, Simpson said. Also in question is the AARP's receipt of federal grants, which Simpson said totals about $100 million a year. The AARP said the amount is closer to $86 million. The group said its books are open and it has nothing to hide from Simpson.

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Housing discrimination against minorities is continuing among lending agencies, a magazine study says. A six-month investigation by U.S. News and World Report says poor and minority homeowners are turned down for property insurance 50 percent more often than white, middle-class homeowners. The study also says poor Americans pay twice as much for property insurance as white residents in middle-class neighborhoods.

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Commerce Secretary Brown received big tax breaks from investing in an apartment complex declared unfit to live in, the Los Angeles Times reported. The paper said Brown reported that the building was located in upscale Potomac, Md., but was actually in the poorer community of Landover, Md. In February 1994, housing inspectors declared 14 of the building's 150 units unfit for human habitation. Brown invested $71,000 in the building in 1983 and later received about $175,000 in tax write-offs, the paper said. A spokeswoman for Brown said he's a passive investor in the complex and doesn't know its location.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury and relatives of British-born Nicholas Lee Ingram denounced his execution in Georgia's electric chair. Ingram was convicted of killing an Atlanta man in 1983.

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New Orleans is bracing for a week of anti-abortion protests starting today. City officials said they beefed up security at 12 sites where abortions or abortion counselling is provided.

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NASA executives wasted nearly $6 million on travel expenses by traveling on government jets rather than commercial airplanes, the Houston Post reported. The paper said a fiscal 1993 audit by NASA's inspector general places the amount of waste at $5.8 million. NASA said using commercial flights would have saved only $1.6 million.

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Referring to America's role in Vietnam, former Defense Secretary McNamara said, ''We were terribly wrong.'' His admission on the Associated Press program ''Newsweek on Air'' broke his 25 years of silence and makes him the highest-ranking former US official to say publicly that pursuing the war was a mistake.

ETCETERA

We don't have to retreat from these programs.... But we do have to ask ourselves -- are they all working? Are they fair?

-- President Clinton in defense of his decision to review affirmative-action programs

About 5,000 survivors and two-dozen US veterans gathered at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany Sunday to mark its liberation 50 years ago

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Hanoi has given a US firm a license to help develop China Beach near Da Nang into a tourist resort. It was a playground for US troops during the Vietnam War, which ended for the US 20 years ago this month.

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''Bombay,'' a romance set against the backdrop of religious riots in India, has upset India's Hindus, conservative Muslims, and censors. Police in Bombay, fearing riots, stopped the film's screening.

World's Busiest Airports

(In Passengers)

1. Chicago O'Hare

2. Atlanta

3. Dallas-Fort Worth

4. London Heathrow

5. Los Angeles

6. Frankfurt, Germany

7. San Francisco

8. Denver

9. Miami

10. New York-Kennedy

(In Cargo)

1. Memphis

2. Tokyo

3. Los Angeles

4. New York-Kennedy

5. Frankfurt

(In flights)

1. O'Hare

2. Dallas-Fort Worth

3. Atlanta

4. Los Angeles

5. Miami

Airports Council International

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