News In Brief

The US

President Clinton attacked GOP plans to cut governmental medical insurance for the poor and elderly as ''far, far more than the medical system can handle.'' On Saturday, the Senate Finance Committee approved about $450 billion in cutbacks for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as spending reductions in the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor and $35 billion in welfare cuts. The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to vote on a similar version next week. The White House has threatened a veto

unless the proposed cuts in Medicare are scaled back. (Editorial, Page 20.)

Clinton signed a temporary spending bill Saturday that provides money to keep government agencies funded through Nov. 13. The struggle over spending priorities has delayed passage of all but two of the 13 separate appropriations bills to finance the government. Without the stopgap measure, an estimated 800,000 federal workers would have been furloughed at the start of the new fiscal year at midnight on Saturday.

Many Californians expressed relief that Gov. Pete Wilson had dropped his bid for the White House and was returning to tackle the problems facing the state. Wilson announced Friday he was pulling out of the race for the 1996 GOP presidential nomination because of a lack of cash. Wilson is the first Republican hopeful to withdraw, leaving nine candidates vying for the party's nomination.

Ross Perot challenged supporters to get the 890,064 signatures needed to qualify his Reform Party for the California ballot. ''This is going to be a challenge, but boy is this going to be fun,'' Perot told a crowd of about 500 in Buena Park, Calif. The signature drive began a week ago. Senator Dole, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, said he expected a third party to have difficulty in 1996. Making a campaign stop in Miami, Dole also said Governor Wilson would help Republicans win the

presidency even though he is no longer a candidate.

The Senate approved 15 of Clinton's long-delayed ambassadorial appointments. The vote came after Democrats cut a deal with GOP Sen. Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Helms had been sitting on the nominations since Democrats prevented a vote on his plans to revamp the State Department.

Influential members of Los Angeles's African-American community are calling for calm when the O. J. Simpson murder verdict is reached. One minister in the South Central area called L.A. a ''city in waiting.'' Another urged citizens to ''let the jury do its job.'' In Washington, nearly 1,000 people attended a Saturday prayer vigil prompted by the Simpson case. Simpson family members (above) sat in court Friday during closing arguments.(Story, Page 1.)

Republicans are trying to halt a Navy giveaway of seven ships. The surplus guided-missile frigates are worth a combined $420 million. That makes the deal one of the biggest recent giveaways of military equipment. The GOP critics say the US can't afford the Pentagon's practice of giving away millions in surplus equipment to friendly countries.

The Supreme Court starts its new term today with some thorny issues to consider, including gay rights, the role of race in political redistricting, the fairness of census counts, and gambling on Indian reservations. The justices have already committed themselves to deciding 42 cases by next June. That figure is expected to double as the court sorts through thousands of appeals. (Story, Page 1.)

At least 12 people were arrested yesterday morning in trouble along picket lines at two newspaper distribution centers in Detroit. At least four strikers were reportedly hurt in a scuffle with security guards for the company that prints ''The Detroit News'' and the ''Detroit Free Press.'' The bitter walkout is in its 12th week.

A sharecropper's daughter took her place at the head of Smith College in Northhampton, Mass., over the weekend, with a promise to uphold the school's mission of allowing women to pursue knowledge at its best. Ruth Simmons is the ninth president of the 2,700-student women's college and first black president at any of the Seven Sisters, a group of elite private women's colleges.

The World

More than 100 Jewish protesters in Jericho blocked a bridge to Jordan yesterday, saying they had been betrayed by Israeli Prime Minister Rabin. The residents of Israel's Jordan Valley farming settlements said the Thursday Israel-PLO accord signing negated Rabin's promise to them that the area would remain Israel's security belt. Also, Israel extended border closings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for an extra five days. About 100 settlers marching through Hebron Saturday threw stones and eggs and attac ked two Americans.

Peace efforts in the former Yugoslavia continue: US envoy Richard Holbrooke was expected to return to Sarajevo today after meetings with warring party members in Belgrade and Zagreb. He said yesterday differences between the parties remain very wide and refused to comment on prospects for a truce. On Friday, a Bosnian Serb soldier (above) hugged a fellow soldier after 66 Bosnian Serb soldiers were exchanged for 103 Bosnian Muslim soldiers in the Serb-held village of Satorovici. (Story, Page 1.)

Georgia issued an arrest warrant for the southern republic's former security boss yesterday, accusing him of masterminding an assassination attempt on leader Eduard Shevardnadze. Igor Georgadze, the most senior Georgian to be implicated, was accused of acting on the orders of ''reactionary forces.''

Nigeria's military ruler Sani Abacha commuted death sentences yesterday on 13 alleged coup plotters. Western nations had threatened economic sanctions if anyone was executed. But Moshood Abiola, the apparent winner of Nigerian's 1993 presidential election, would be tried for treason, he said. Abacha also announced a program to hand over power to a democratically-elected government in 1998.

Voters went to the polls in Portugal yesterday to choose a new parliament in a race in which the Socialists, out of power for 10 years, appeared to hold a slight edge over the ruling Social Democrats. An item in Thursday's Monitor incorrectly implied Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva was running. Actually, former Defense Minister Fernando Nogueira is the Social Democratic Party candidate.

Fifty-eight Chinese fishermen flew home from the Philippines to China yesterday after six months in jail; four senior officers were left behind to face further investigation. They were arrested in March for allegedly fishing in the disputed Spratly Islands area claimed by Manila.

China averaged economic growth of 11.7 percent during its eighth five-year plan (1991-95), according to a senior Chinese economist. But official media also said that while roaring industrial growth fueled the fastest economic boom in history and placed luxury cars and mobile phones in the hands of private entrepreneurs, another 70 million still do not have enough food to eat or clothes to wear.

Egyptian police arrested 47 suspected Muslim extremists in the southern town of Malawi yesterday, a day after three policemen were killed and seven wounded during attacks by suspected Muslim extremists.

South Korean President Kim Young Sam told the military yesterday to prepare as relations with the North grew tense. North Korea is strengthening its military and has placed more missiles and artillery units along the border, South Korean defense officials say. And armed provocation is probable if the North Korean government collapses, analysts say.

More than 40 Commonwealth finance ministers plan to meet this week in Jamaica to discuss how debt owed the World Bank and International monetary Fund is burdening poorer nations.


Opal, the Atlantic hurricane season's 17th tropical depression, became a tropical storm as it hovered off the Yucatan Peninsula Saturday. The 15th named storm of the season, Opal marks the first time the letter ''O'' has been used since weather forecasters began naming Atlantic storms in 1950. The busiest year ever was 1933, with 21 storms.

Philanthropist Paul Mellon and his wife, Bunny, have donated 85 major artworks to Washington's National Gallery of Art. The gift includes paintings by Degas, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Manet. Mellon is the son of gallery founder Andrew W. Mellon.

The Politics of Grants

Last year the government gave $40 billion to more than 39,000 nonprofit groups. A bill now in House-Senate conference would block federal aid to groups using more than 5 percent of their non-federal funds on political activities. Some top grant recipients and the amounts they received in 1994 follow:

National Council of Senior Citizens: $72,130,212

Catholic Charities: $25,959,337

American Association of Retired Persons: $24,376,956

United Way: $11,729,691

YWCA: $5,897,267

Presbyterian Church USA: $1,388,800

American Nurses Association: $1,206,762

League of Women Voters: $1,025,574

National Easter Seal: $972,247

National Education Association: $940,608

- Member Information Network database, House Information Resource, U.S. House of Representatives/Associated Press

'' [Holbrooke] is riding the whirlwind.... He's dealing with the duplicity of the principals, the cynicism of the press, the lethargy of the UN bureaucracy, the anxiety of Western capitals.''

- Anonymous Western diplomat in Sarajevo on US envoy Holbrooke's tough road to Bosnian peace.

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