News In Brief

By , David Mutch, and Peter E. Nordahl

The US

The investigation into the bombing in Oklahoma City continued to focus on acquaintances of the one suspect , Timothy McVeigh, and on US paramilitary groups. An Army deserter who had served at Fort Riley, Kansas, with McVeigh was apprehended in California. In other developments, Mark Koernke, the founder of a militant anti-government group in Augusta, Mich. and a reputed associate of McVeigh's, was under investigation because of a fax he reportedly sent to Texas Congressman Stockman an hour before the bombing. The fax seemed to describe the federal building that was destroyed. Koernke has a national shortwave radio show that preaches the doctrines of paramilitary groups. Rescuers reached the area where a day care center was located. At press time, the death toll stood at 78; about 100 people were still missing. (Stories, Page 1)

President Clinton said he would seek additional wiretapping and surveillance powers to monitor paramilitary groups. Clinton's countermeasures would include legislation to establish a Domestic Counterterrorism Center to be headed by the FBI as well as legislation giving the FBI more authority to comb through hotel registers and to search phone logs. Clinton said he would direct all federal law-enforcement agencies to broaden their counterterrorism work. He warned against inflammatory rhetoric that divides Americans. Chief of Staff Panetta told CBS that there's a balance to strike between the needs of law enforcement and basic rights. He said Clinton's request for broad new powers was ''right on the mark.''

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Federal agents were ready in early March to raid the New York office of Aum Shinri Kyo, the sect suspected in the March 20 nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway. A federal judge, however, would not issue a warrant. Time magazine said federal chemical weapons specialists intended to raid the office based on a tip from the Japanese government.

The Senate returned to work yesterday after a two-week recess. Senator Specter said the Senate would hear testimony this week from FBI Director Freeh on the Oklahoma City bombings. The intelligence committee will also begin confirmation hearings on Deputy Defense Secretary Deutch's nomination as director of the CIA.

Favored to beat out the eight other GOP presidential hopefuls in Iowa, Senator Dole has earned the nickname ''President of Iowa.'' Dole will ''walk away'' with the Feb. 12 Iowa caucuses if the trend continues, the head of Senator Specter's campaign said.

The Supreme Court rejected Dr. Kevorkian's contention that assisted suicide is a constitutional right in Michigan. The high court also let stand a Florida ruling making it harder for federal courts to change state judicial-election systems that dilute the political clout of racial minorities. The court let stand an environmental ruling that federal officials said could disrupt land-management efforts in nine Western states. It refused to hear a US Forest Service appeal challenging a federal-appeals court decision involving two federally owned forests in Oregon. And the maker of an anti-baldness product cited by the Federal Trade Commission for false advertising lost its appeal.

Baseball teams are slashing early-season ticket prices; kids will get in free at some ballparks; and cheap eats are on the menu -- all to entice fans to embrace the game again and forget the long strike. Opening games are slated to begin tonight, but ticket sales have been slow.

Microsoft and the Justice Department were back in court, trying to get a federal appeals court to overrule a federal judge's decision to reject a settlement between the software company and the government.

Niles DeGrate won $1.2 million in a four-year court suit in Los Angeles against Eaton Corp. The judge ruled Eaton fired DeGrate because he is black.

Almost one-fourth of all US children lived in fatherless families last year, four times the number in 1950, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The organization said lower wages and unemployment were partly to blame. (Story, Page 3.)

The World

Rwandan refugees fled by the thousands yesterday from a camp where at least 2,000 died in the country's latest burst of ethnic violence. An estimated 100,000 men, women, and children trudged toward the provincial capital of Butare. The EU said it would have to reappraise its policy on humanitarian aid to Rwanda. Britain, the third-largest provider of humanitarian aid to the country, took a cautious line on apportioning blame for the killings. Belgium condemned Rwandan troops for brutality, and France called for those responsible to be punished.

The Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal formally named Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as a war-crimes suspect. Gen. Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serbian Army commander, and Mico Stanisic, former head of the Bosnian Serb Special Police, also were named. No charges have been filed against the three. Instead, the tribunal is asking the Bosnian government to give it jurisdiction in any cases involving them, which is considered the first step toward an indictment. Fighting flared in northern Bosnia amid diminishing expectations that a much-violated cease-fire, due to expire in a week, could be renewed.

Top world economic officials began gathering yesterday for the key spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. On the agenda: the weak dollar and spillover from the Mexican turmoil. The US has come under unusually open attack, accused of failing to put the brakes on a soaring budget deficit and preventing the dollar from skidding on currency markets. US Treasury Secretary Rubin defended his country's approach, saying the administration had been responsible in handling the economy and insisting that it wanted the dollar to be strong. (Story, Page 1.)

Israel lifted a 10-day order closing its borders to Palestinians. The closure was imposed to prevent attacks during the week-long Jewish Passover holiday. Hundreds of Palestinians waited up to four hours at roadblocks to get into Israel. PLO leader Arafat complained that the closure cost Palestinians $3 million a day in lost income. Jordan and Israel, meanwhile, floated the idea of a joint authority in the rift valley between their countries that would oversee a deregulated area aimed at free trade with the US and Europe. Guerrillas ambushed an Israeli patrol in south Lebanon with a roadside bomb, triggering a retaliatory bombardment, security sources said.

An unexpected strong showing by the far edges of France's political spectrum left the nation's conservative Premier Balladur out of the presidential running and a Socialist candidate, Lionel Jospin, clinging to first place. Paris mayor Chirac was still expected to patch rifts among conservatives and win the May 7 runoff. The winner will succeed Socialist President Mitterrand. (Story, Page 6.)

Italian Silvio Berlusconi's conservative coalition gained a narrow victory in regional elections, according to projections. But Berlusconi fell short of the resounding victory he sought over a leftist bloc, and as a result, his drive for parliamentary elections may lose steam. Projections gave the conservatives about 43 percent of the vote.

Taking stock before the anniversary of South Africa's historic all-race elections Thursday, President Mandela said his first year in office had been a success ''beyond my wildest dreams.'' Among his achievements, Mandela cited extended health care, a feeding program for about 5 million children, and the very fact that his diverse coalition government had remained intact.

The top scientist of a Japanese sect suspected in a nerve-gas attack on Tokyo's subways died yesterday of stab wounds, dealing a setback to the ongoing investigation. Hideo Murai was in charge of the sect's secretive experiments with chemicals. Police identified the attacker as Hiroyuki Jo, a South Korean national with Japanese residency.

Etcetera

Howard Cosell, who died in New York Sunday, was the most revered and reviled sportscaster of his time. His outspoken ''tell it like it is'' style infuriated many viewers and athletes, but it also left an indelible mark on sports coverage in America.

Vietnam, faced with a building boom, unveiled plans to preserve the old Vietnamese quarter of its picturesque capital, Hanoi. The area contains a maze of alleyways, pagodas, and other ancient crumbling buildings.

The comedy ''Four Weddings and a Funeral'' garnered five British film awards. It won for best film; best director, Mike Newell; best actor, Hugh Grant; best supporting actress, Kristin Scott Thomas; and a special prize for most popular film. Susan Sarandon won best actress for her role in ''The Client.''

In celebration of National TV Turnoff Week, teachers such as Vicky Cunningham from San Antonio, Texas, are urging students to spend time reading or with their families. The average American spends four hours a day watching the tube, according to TV Free Americas.

Top 10 TV Shows, April 10-16

Rank/Show/Network/Rating

1. ''Home Improvement,'' ABC, 21.0, 20.0 million homes

2. ''Friends,'' NBC, 18.1, 17.3 million homes

3. ''ER,'' NBC, 17.9, 17.1 million homes

3. ''Seinfeld,'' NBC, 17.9, 17.1 million homes

5. ''Grace Under Fire,'' ABC, 15.6, 14.9 million homes

6. ''Coach,'' ABC, 14.2, 13.6 million homes

7. ''Primetime Live,'' ABC, 13.6, 13.0 million homes

8. ''Murphy Brown,'' CBS, 13.5, 12.9 million homes

9. ''NYPD Blues,'' ABC, 13.2, 12.6 million homes

10. ''Cybill,'' CBS, 13.0, 12.4 million homes

10. ''Murder, She Wrote,'' CBS, 13.0, 12.4 million homes

(Rating equals percentage of American homes with TVs.)

A.C. Nielsen Co.

''No doubt it is going to require some special effort to get the fans back.''

Tyler Barnes, spokesman for the Houston Astros, on what baseball teams are doing to fill the stadiums

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