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News In Brief

By CompiledSuzanne MacLachlanDavid Mutch, and Peter E. Nordahl / April 27, 1995

The US

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James and Terry Nichols, previously held as witnesses in last week's truck-bomb explosion in Oklahoma City, were charged as conspirators with Timothy McVeigh in the construction of explosive devices in Michigan. McVeigh remained the only person arrested in the actual bombing of the federal building. A radio station in San Clemente, Calif., dropped controversial talk show host G. Gordon Liddy from its programming, saying Liddy's views ''foster and encourage extremist action.'' At press time, the death toll from the bombing stood at 96. (Stories, Page 1.)

Senators Dole and Hatch said they would coordinate efforts with White House officials to strengthen antiterrorism laws. Senator Daschle warned against measures that could infringe on personal rights. Six members of Congress earlier wrote to Attorney General Reno to caution against a raid on militia groups. They said such actions could be ''a precursor to martial law.'' In a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, 72 percent of the respondents said the federal government should actively investigate and infiltrate armed resistance groups ''even if doing so may infringe on their constitutional rights.''

The FBI, investigating a mail bombing that killed a timber industry lobbyist in his Sacramento, Calif., office Monday, said it had obtained three letters it believed were mailed by the ''Unabomber'' days before the attack. The New York Times reported yesterday it had received one of the letters, in which the writer said he would stop the killings if a news organization with nationwide circulation published a lengthy article written by him.

CIA director-nominee Deutch faced Senate questioning yesterday on terror bombings in the US and on CIA failure to fully inform Congress about Guatemalan killings involving Americans. Deutch said he would shake up the CIA to make it more effective against a perceived threat from international terror.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Domenici said balancing the budget will be so tough that he will likely have to delay presentation of his spending plan beyond its scheduled release Monday. Budget hearings are to begin today or tomorrow. Domenici's proposal includes a freeze on military spending and caps on entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Senators Domenici and Nunn introduced a bill to replace the current US tax system with one that allows unlimited deductions for savings and investments. They said the chief goal of the plan was to raise the level of national savings by allowing money an individual saves or invests to be deducted from income.

Orders to US factories for big-ticket durable goods rose 0.6 percent in March, rebounding from their first decline in four months, the Commerce Department reported. The increase surprised analysts, who had predicted a second straight drop.

A Senate committee approved a diluted package of medical-malpractice-liability reforms. The reforms would allow a state to gain an exemption by passing a law declaring that the federal statute did not apply to malpractice disputes within its borders.

The Supreme Court was to hear arguments on whether the Ku Klux Klan was discriminated against when Columbus, Ohio, city officials refused to let the group erect a 10-foot cross as part of a holiday display. The high court threw out a federal law that bans possession of a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. The court also ruled that states can regulate hospital costs by charging different rates based on a patient's health-care coverage. The decision reinstates part of New York's hospital-reimbursement system, saying it is not pre-empted by federal law.

The World

Russia will create a new army for the volatile North Caucasus region in a move that will breach limits laid down in a key disarmament pact, Interfax news agency said. Russian General Semyonov said the new 58th Army would be in place by June 1. He did not specify the number of troops involved or where the Army would be based. And Russia said it may withdraw its peacekeepers from Bosnia if warring parties fail to extend a truce.

Group of Seven officials meeting in Washington said the dollar had declined beyond ''justified'' levels indicated by underlying economic conditions. They said the dollar's battered course should be reversed but offered no specific plan on how to do so. Although they have bickered heatedly in the past about measures to bolster the dollar, G7 members kept a unified front after the meeting. Japanese Finance Minister Takemura, however, claimed the consensus was a victory for Japan's campaign to bolster the dollar.