News In Brief

By , David Mutch, and Peter E. Nordahl

The US

The FBI arrested two men wanted in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing May 2 after raiding a motel in Missouri. Gary Allen Land and Robert Jacks were being held as material witnesses to the April 19 bombing. The FBI said it didn't yet know if Land was ''John Doe 2.'' James Nichols, charged with conspiring to make explosives with McVeigh, was to have a bond hearing the same day. Nichols and his brother Terry are also material witnesses. Search crews, meanwhile, prepared to use machinery to clear away rubble in the federal building. President Clinton urged Americans to denounce antigovernment zealots. Administration law-enforcement officials asked Congress to expand their powers to investigate potentially dangerous groups. (Story, Page 3.)

The White House, rejecting a challenge from House Speaker Gingrich, refused to propose a remedy for Medicare's fiscal woes until the Republicans put their own cards on the table. White House chief of staff Panetta said House Republicans have a responsibility to produce a budget that addresses Medicare's pending bankruptcy. The House Ways and Means Committee was to hear testimony from Health and Human Services Secretary Shalala May 2 regarding the crisis. (Story, Page 1.)

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Sales of new homes rose 3 percent in March, reversing direction from February's 12.5 percent plunge, as mortgage rates continued to fall. The market was mixed, however, with sales rising by double-digit figures in the Midwest and West and falling by double-digit figures in the Northeast and South, the Commerce Department said.

The administration said it will allow thousands of Cuban refugees held at Guantanamo Bay to migrate to the US. Officials said the new policy would be announced May 2 as part of an agreement with Cuba. The administration said Cubans trying to reach the US by boats and rafts will be returned to Havana. (Opinion, Page 20.)

The Federal Election Commission said more money was raised and spent in last year's congressional races than ever before. Candidates raised $740.6 million and spent $724 million, breaking records set in both categories during the 1992 election cycle. Candidates raised 12 percent more in the 1994 cycle than they did in 1992 and spent 6 percent more, the FEC said.

The Senate was expected to vote May 2 on extending the proposed cap on punitive damages to health-care providers. The amendment would limit punitive damage awards in malpractice cases to three times the amount of economic damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.

Under a plan released by the Concord Coalition, a balanced-budget lobbying group, 4 out of every 10 Americans who get federal entitlements and earn more than $40,000 a year would have to make sacrifices to help balance the budget. The Concord Coalition said burgeoning federal health-care costs must be addressed or it will be impossible to keep the budget balanced after 2002. The report stopped short of calling for a radical overhaul of the health-care system.

Major League umpires and baseball owners agreed to a new five-year contract May 1, ending a 120-day management lockout. The umpires were due back on the diamond May 3, with raises of 25 percent to 37.5 percent.

A seventh juror in the O. J. Simpson double-murder trial was dismissed, leaving only five alternates. A 28-year-old Hispanic woman was chosen as a replacement. If the number of jurors drops below 12, both sides would have to agree to continue or a mistrial would be declared.

The World

Serb rockets hit the Croatian capital of Zagreb May 2, killing four and wounding up to 70 as Croatia erupted in the worst fighting in two years. Croatia bombed a Serb-held bridge that is the Croatian Serbs' last link to Bosnian Serbs. Croatian armed forces had stormed across a UN cease-fire line May 1, but May 2 the government said the offensive was over. Battlefronts also erupted across Bosnia after a truce expired May 1. (Story, Page 1.)

US trade representative Kantor and Japanese Trade Minister Hashimoto were to meet May 3 in Vancouver to try to break an impasse on sales of US autos and auto parts in Japan. The US, charging unfair practices, has leaked warnings of trade sanctions if talks fail again.

Gaullist Chirac, frontrunner in the French presidential vote May 7, pledged radical budget changes to create jobs and hinted at a higher minimum wage. Rightist Le Pen refused to endorse either Chirac or his opponent, Socialist Jospin. (Story, Page 6.)

Argentine President Menem is no longer assured of victory in a May 14 vote, polls show, since his rival, Frepaso candidate Bordon, could take enough votes to require a runoff. The office of Mexican President Zedillo denied a news report that Colombian drug funds made their way into Zedillo's campaign last year. Peruvian police said two American Maoists are wanted for a meeting they held last year with Shining Path guerrillas in Peru.

Chechen rebels stepped up attacks on Russian troops in Grozny just a week before world leaders arrive in Moscow to celebrate the 50th anniversary of World War II. President Yeltsin has tried to impose a unilateral Russian cease-fire in the war, which is broadly condemned by world opinion.

Leaders of South Asia's seven nations began a conference in New Delhi aimed at building greater economic cooperation and launching a trade bloc. Lowering of tariffs could begin in December. Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto stayed away because of strained relations with India, but Pakistani President Leghari was to meet with Indian Premier Rao over the dispute in Kashmir.

South Korea welcomed North Korea's decision to restart talks with the US on a major nuclear accord, in which the US wants North Korea to accept South-Korean-made nuclear reactors.

A new Israeli Army plan calls for pulling troops from six Palestinian towns in the West Bank over a 14-month period starting in November, an Israeli daily reported. An Israeli official confirmed the plan but said there is no timetable. The PLO asked the UN to stop planned Israeli land confiscations in East Jerusalem. (Story, Page 7.)

France rejected the unilateral US trade embargo on Iran announced by President Clinton May 1, but Israel welcomed it. Japan, at US urging, cancelled a loan package to Iran. Japan is the only major source of credit to Iran. The US accuses Iran of pursing nuclear weapons and of backing terrorism.

Hundreds of people marched through Kigali, Rwanda, shouting ''UN go home'' and accusing the world of unfairly pointing at Rwanda's Tutsi government for a mass killing at a refugee camp April 22, at which at least 2,000 died. Placards accused UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali of ignoring last year's genocide of the nation's Tutsi minority. (Story, Page 7.)

At least 103 journalists were killed in 1994, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said. Only 50 of the UN's 185 member nations respect freedom of the press, the media-rights group charged.

Etcetera

China began a new 40-hour work week May 2 as millions of workers returned to their jobs after the May Day holiday. Many cheered the new law, which gives them Saturdays off. In the city of Yiwu, meanwhile, more than 1,500 children under 16 reportedly continue to work illegally. A labor law that took effect Jan. 1 bans employment of children under 16.

Britain's Prince Charles joined Hamburg officials to mark the 50th anniversary of the surrender of that German city. Hamburg is often called the most British of German cities. It was also one of the places most ravaged by British bombers. Hamburg surrendered on May 3, 1945 -- early -- rather than face more bombing.

New York City remains among the worst places in the US for mail delivery. The latest quarterly survey by the US Postal Service shows that first-class mail is being delivered on time 76 percent of the time in Manhattan -- up from 52 percent a year ago. Of 96 US postal regions surveyed, service was worse only in Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands, and San Juan.

Another burning issue is on its way to Texas' governor. A resolution declaring the jalapeno the official state pepper passed the Senate. The House has given its approval, and Gov. George W. Bush reportedly plans to sign the measure.

Top-Grossing Films In the US, April 28-30

(Preliminary figures)

1. ''While You Were Sleeping,'' $10.2 million

2. ''Friday,'' $6.8 million

3. ''Bad Boys,'' $4.4 million

4. ''Rob Roy,'' $3.3 million

5. ''Village of the Damned,'' $3.05 million

6. ''Kiss of Death,'' $2.9 million

7. ''A Goofy Movie,'' $2.8 million

8. ''Top Dog,'' $2.1 million

9. ''Don Juan DeMarco,'' $1.7 million

10. ''Jury Duty,'' $1.4 million

Associated Press

''Now you know how easy it is to make something big little, something little big, something straight twisted, something good look wrong.''

President Clinton on criticism over Henry Foster's nomination for surgeon general

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