News In Brief

The US

Republicans on the House Appropriations subcommittee took aim at the White House budget, voting to trim President Clinton's own office funds, eliminate his Council of Economic Advisers, and slash the National Security Council. Democrats charged such interference in White House operations was unprecedented.

Democrats in Congress, conceding they can't halt the GOP balanced-budget blueprint, labeled it an extremist plan for the rich. Republicans said the plan, which aims to eliminate the deficits by 2002, has the votes to pass the House and Senate. The program recommends slowing spending for Medicare and other social programs and giving a $245 billion tax cut to millions of people and companies, including the well-to-do. Because it only outlines what the GOP says "should be," it does not require President Clinton's signature.

After cutting nearly $3 billion from Clinton's foreign-aid proposal, House Republicans are fending off demands from within the party for even deeper cuts as they try to pass a veto-proof aid bill. On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee arrived at a bottom line: $73 million in new cuts, leaving aid and export support at just under $12 billion for the next fiscal year.

The House Appropriations Committee voted to cut off funding for proposed Department of Agriculture meat-safety rules. It also voted to slash the Interior Department's science programs by one-third.

The space shuttle Atlantis prepared for its docking with the Russian Mir space station today. It will deliver two Russian cosmonauts and bring home astronaut Norman Thagard.

Clinton told leaders at the one-day Pacific Rim conference in Oregon that reduced earning power and savings are the silent threat to the American dream. He called on the Pacific states to find ways to compete in the 21st century.

The American Bar Association pledged in a consent decree to change ground rules it uses to determine whether law schools get its prestigious stamp of approval. The Justice Department earlier filed a lawsuit alleging that the ABA pressured law schools to raise faculty salaries to artificially high levels before it would approve their programs. The Justice Department acted after the Massachusetts School of Law sued the ABA when it was denied accreditation.

Legislation aimed at curbing shareholder lawsuits against companies and their accountants is moving toward Senate passage, despite last-minute pleas from victims of Charles Keating's failed Lincoln Savings & Loan. Supporters say the bill would curb lawsuits aimed mostly at generating fees for lawyers.

Irate Orange County voters in California rejected a tax increase aimed at pulling the wealthy county out of the biggest government bankruptcy in US history. The vote increased chances that the county will default this summer on $975 million it owes to some cities, agencies, and schools. (Story, Page 1.)

Defense Secretary Perry warned Clinton following last week's vote by a federal base-closing commission that the Pentagon may propose rejecting the findings, the Washington Post said. The paper said Clinton would welcome such a suggestion, particularly in light of the controversy over base closings in key election states.

Federal authorities tightened security at California airports following a bomb threat that may be from the so-called "Unabomber." The FBI said the San Francisco Chronicle received a letter yesterday saying an airliner out of Los Angeles International Airport would be blown up within the next few days.

The World

A Serb missile hit the television center in Sarajevo yesterday, killing at least one person and wounding 38 others, including Bosnian and foreign journalists. An hour later, an explosion rocked an apartment building across the street, causing serious damage and an unspecified number of casualties. The UN said the attacks occurred amid an increase in artillery exchanges in western Sarajevo. (Story, Page 7; Editorial, Page 20.)

South Korean voters dealt President Kim a humiliating electoral blow yesterday, stripping his party of political control in major cities and provinces. Officials said Kim's ruling Democratic Liberal Party lost 10 of the 15 major contests in the poll, including the mayorship of Seoul. The elections were widely seen as a mid-term assessment of Kim.

Sudanese shot and wounded Egyptian soldiers patrolling the border between the two countries, Egyptian news media reported. Egypt has stepped up efforts to block goods coming illegally across the border from Sudan, including weapons apparently intended for use by Muslim extremists in Egypt. On Saturday, Egyptian security forces seized what they described as one of the largest caches of weapons ever smuggled into Egypt. Egyptian President Mubarak has accused Sudanese of being involved in the attempt to assassinate him. Sudanese leaders have denied the allegations. Mubarak also said he hoped the Sudanese people would overthrow their government but Egypt would not help by sending forces.

US Secretary of State Christopher opened negotiations between Israeli and Syrian military commanders on an Israeli pullback from the Golan Heights. Before the talks, Prime Minister Rabin said Israel's founding fathers never considered the Golan Heights an integral part of Israel. Israeli soldier, meanwhile, clased with Arab protesters in the West Bank yesterday as a hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners entered its 11th day. More than 1,000 lawyers began boycotting Israeli military courts as part of the campaign to free prisoners.

The US and Japan settled their auto dispute, Japan's NHK public TV quoted chief government spokesman Kozo Igarashi as saying. US negotiators reportedly softened their stance, saying they will not necessarily stick to numerical targets. US trade representative Kantor and Japanese trade minister Hashimoto had been trying to reach a deal before yesterday's midnight deadline.

US Defense Secretary Perry ended his first visit to Poland yesterday, saying his talks on US assistance in modernizing Poland's army on the road to NATO membership were productive.

Haitian President Aristide defended Haiti's chaotic elections as a peaceful advance toward democracy, but his conservative foes in Washington criticized them as a waste of US money. Hours after praising the elections, a legislative candidate was killed, the first death in connection with what otherwise were mostly peaceful elections Sunday. (Story, Page 6.)

Russian officials and Chechen rebels met yesterday for a new round of peace negotiations in Grozny amid signs of increasing military tension in the region. Elections and preparations for holding them were the main items on the agenda, a member of the Russian delegation said. In Moscow, President Yeltsin met with besieged top ministers as his prime minister tried to shore up support for the government in advance of a vote of confidence. Lawmakers have demanded that Yeltsin fire the ministers in charge of defense and interior in light of the bungled Chechen hostage crisis. (Story, Page 1.)

The EU granted $8.7 billion to nine ex-communist nations, including the Hungary, Romania, and Lithuania. The package was a main objective of the EU summit in Cannes, France. British Prime Minister Major said the meeting was a glimpse of what the EU will look like in 10 years.

Etcetera

President Clinton has a new secret weapon in his golf bag. It's a sleek metal driver called the Peace Missile, fashioned from genuine Russian nuclear missile parts. Showing his new gift to reporters as he flew home from Portland, the president called this case of defense conversion the ultimate example of beating swords into plowshares.

A prize of $160,000 for a single work of fiction in English will be awarded beginning in 1996 by IMPAC, the largest productivity-enhancement company in the world. Known as the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the prize becomes the largest monetary award for a work of fiction. James Irwin, president of IMPAC, chose Dublin as the location for the award because of its reputation as a literary city. The Dublin City Library will administer the award, and an international jury of writers will select the winner.

Affordable Housing in US

The number corresponding to each area is the percentage of homes sold that were within range of the median income household at the prevailing mortgage interest rate for January through March.

Most Affordable Percent

1. Elkhart, Ind. 86.3

2. Kokomo, Ind. 85.3

3. Elmira, N.Y 83.7

4. Lima, Ohio 82.8

5. Minneapolis 82.7

6. Davenport, Iowa 82.4

7. Binghamton, N.Y. 82.3

8. Kansas City, Mo. 82.3

9. Pensacola, Fla. 82.2

10. Lakeland, Fla. 81.5

Least Affordable Percent

1. San Francisco 20.8

2. Laredo, Texas 24.0

3. Salinas, Calif. 25.1

4. Santa Rosa, Calif. 28.1

5. Santa Cruz, Calif. 29.5

6. New York City 37.7

7. Honolulu 38.6

8. El Paso, Texas 39.2

9. Albuquerque 39.5

10. San Luis Obispo, Calif. 39.5

- National Association of Home Builders

" I hope for the sake of the dear Sudan that it achieves what it wants - and achieving what it wants means the overthrow of the government."

- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

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