News In Brief

By , David Mutch, and Peter E. Nordahl

The US

FBI investigators are weighing the possibility that Terry Nichols is the elusive John Doe 2 wanted in the Oklahoma City bombing case, Newsweek magazine reported. Although Nichols bears no resemblance to the sketch of John Doe 2 compiled from a witness, all trails in the investigation have linked him to arrested bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh, the magazine said. Because the bombed-out federal building is a hazard, a decision will be made soon whether to tear it down and build a memorial park, reconstruct it for use, or keep the shell as a memorial. A grand jury hearing evidence in the case continues to meet this week at Tinker Air Force Base outside Oklahoma City. (Story, Page 1.)

House Speaker Gingrich said action on antiterrorist legislation may be slowed by the promotion of Larry Potts, the FBI agent in charge of the 1993 Waco, Texas, operation, to the agency's No. 2 post. Potts, a close aide to FBI Director Freeh, also oversaw the 1992 federal siege of white separatist Randy Weaver. Gingrich said rural Americans and many Westerners have a ''genuine fear'' of the federal government. He cited a bill filed by Idaho Congressman Chenoweth that would require federal agents to register their guns with local law-enforcement officials.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Senate and House budget committees will come out with GOP plans this week to balance the budget by 2002. Political skirmishes are expected to focus on cuts in Medicare. Republicans have proposed cutting Medicare $280 billion below projected levels over seven years as part of more than $1 trillion in cutbacks. President Clinton and other Democrats say the GOP plan means sacrificing health care for the elderly to pay for tax cuts for the rich. (Story, Page 8.)

The battle for control of the House in 1996 is already under way behind the scenes, even before the presidential primaries or GOP efforts to balance the budget are complete. On their way to a spring break last month, Republican lawmakers were told by a House GOP campaign committee to raise money and organize an opposition-research program. Democrats are urging returning House veterans to run again, especially in the South, where the GOP is currently gaining ground.

Senator Dole may be following Richard Nixon's election advice. The Los Angeles Times published a letter written to Dole by the former president before his death last year. Nixon wrote that to get the nomination, Dole would have to run as far as he can to the right, where he would find many of the people who will decide the nomination. Nixon said Dole would then have to run back to the middle to get elected.

Dole said he will meet with surgeon-general nominee Henry Foster before deciding whether to bring the nomination to the Senate floor. Dole criticized Foster for making conflicting statements about the number of abortions he performed. Gingrich, meanwhile, backed away from supporting a constitutional ban on abortion.

Senator Nunn said he is making a personal assessment of whether he should retire when his fourth term expires in 1996. He said he wouldn't be rushed into a final decision.

About 18,000 state workers in Oregon began a three-day strike yesterday after contract talks on pay and pension issues broke down. The Oregon Public Employees Union, which is leading the strike, represents one-third of state workers. The strike includes health-care workers, clerical employees, tax collectors, accountants, and highway-maintenance workers.

Small cable-company managers said they were pleased with a government ruling allowing them to raise rates. The FCC said about 12 percent of the roughly 60 million cable companies will be affected by last Friday's ruling.

Whitewater prosecutor Starr is reportedly looking into maneuvering last summer by administration officials during an ethics investigation by the Treasury Department's inspector general. The investigation was to have been independent of any administration influence.

As the US prepared to return a group of Cuban rafters to their homeland, Miami's Cuban exile community began a series of protests over a new administration refugee policy. Coast Guard officials holding the rafters waited for a decision from Washington on how to proceed.

The World

French President-elect Jacques Chirac promised to make unemployment ''our principal battle'' and to fight social marginalization. Chirac defeated Socialist candidate Lionel Jospin 52.7 percent to 47.3 percent. Gaullist RPR party sources say Chirac will put a new generation of politicians into government and give key jobs to pro-Europeans when he names his cabinet next week. (Story, Page 1.)

The UN condemned Bosnian Serbs for the deaths of 10 people in a shelling attack on a western suburb of Sarajevo Sunday. The UN said it would take measures, possibly military action, to punish the Serbs. Firefights and artillery duels continued along Sarajevo's front lines after the attack. Prime Minister Silajdzic summoned ambassadors in Sarajevo and urged their governments to stop the siege or lift the arms embargo on Bosnia. (UN peacekeeping, Page 3.)

As US President Clinton left for Moscow yesterday, GOP leaders threatened ''catastrophic consequences'' for US aid to Russia if President Yeltsin sells nuclear goods to Iran. The warning added political tension to a summit already marked by disputes over the nuclear deal, Chechnya, and NATO. In Grozny, a top rebel leader said Yeltsin can't hide the war in Chechnya from world leaders visiting Moscow to celebrate victory in World War II.

Filipinos voted for a new Congress and thousands of regional officials yesterday in a test of President Ramos's popularity. Eighteen people were killed and 35 injured in violence before the polls opened. Office-seekers include the widow and son of the late President Marcos. Complete results could take weeks because of poor communications and a laborious counting system.

French President Mitterrand hosted a group of nearly 80 world leaders at ceremonies marking the end of World War II in Europe. A service was held at the Arc de Triomphe, where Mitterrand relit the flame at France's memorial to the unknown soldier. US Vice President Al Gore and other dignitaries came to Paris after attending a ceremony of reconciliation in London. They continued on to Berlin last night for further commemorations. (Story, Page 7.)

The chief US negotiator in nuclear talks with North Korea arrived in Seoul yesterday for three days of consultations with South Korean and Japanese officials. Robert Gallucci is to resume suspended talks with the North Koreans next week. The US military, meanwhile, is shipping in tanks and other weaponry to modernize its 37,000-strong troop contingent in South Korea.

Meeting with Egyptian President Mubarak yesterday in Cairo, Israeli Foreign Minister Peres offered to allow a Palestinian fact-finding mission in Jerusalem. Peres was trying to defuse a dispute over Israel's confiscation of land in Jerusalem's Arab sector. The Arab League earlier demanded that the UN Security Council take up the issue.

Japan said it was willing to resume talks with the US over trade in cars and car parts if the US stopped pressing the issue of voluntary Japanese purchases of foreign auto parts. Japan repeated its vow to take the dispute to the World Trade Organization if the US follows through on its threat to impose sanctions on Tokyo. (Story, Page 6.)

More than 100 nations said they will back indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at a UN conference this week. The US, major Western allies, and Russia argued that indefinite extension is the best way to prevent more states from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Etcetera

Former Congressman Mike Synar, who was known as a political maverick when he represented Oklahoma, was honored by the Kennedy family yesterday with the 1995 Profile in Courage Award. Given annually since 1989, the award recognizes politicians who take unpopular stands.

The Chinese city of Shanghai is sinking. The reasons: excessive use of underground water and the city's huge infrastructure construction. Shanghai is the world's largest construction site: More than 9,000 projects are under way there.

Top 10 Albums

1. '' 'Friday,' Soundtrack,'' (Priority)

2. ''Throwing Copper,'' Live (Radioactive) (Platinum)

3. ''Cracked Rear View,'' Hootie & the Blowfish (Atlantic) (Platinum)

4. ''Me Against the World,'' 2Pac (Interscope) (Platinum)

5. '' 'The Lion King' Soundtrack,'' (Disney) (Platinum)

6. ''II,'' Boyz II Men, (Motown) (Platinum)

7. ''Hell Freezes Over,'' The Eagles (Geffen) (Platinum)

8. ''John Michael Montgomery,'' John Michael Montgomery (Atlantic)

9. ''Astro Creep: 2,000 Songs of Love, Destruction,'' White Zombie (Geffen)

10. ''Crazysexycool,'' TLC (LaFace) (Platinum)

(Platinum signifies more than 1 million copies sold; gold signifies more than 500,000 copies sold)

Billboard-Soundscan Inc.

''We did not win the cold war to walk away and blow the peace on foolish, penny-wise, pound-foolish budgeting.''

President Clinton on Republican threats to cut foreign aid for Russia

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