News In Brief

The US

Groups of negotiators began converging on Dayton, Ohio, yesterday for Bosnia peace talks that start tomorrow. EU representative Carl Bildt said that tomorrow will be ''the last you are going to see of us for quite some time.'' To maintain secrecy, contact with the press and the outside world will be minimal; the talks will likely last between one and three months. Among the thorny issues to be worked out among Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian leaders: the structure of a new constitution, a separation-of-forces agreement, and redrawing borders.

Congressional negotiators have begun to bridge the House-Senate budget gap this week. A compromise is expected within three weeks. But as the talks begin, some Republicans have suggested keeping the compromise process within the confines of Congress and leaving the White House largely out of the deal. When GOP Senator Domenici suggested the idea to Democrat Senator Kerry Sunday, Kerry said he is ''willing to deal.''

The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to hear the racially sensitive case of five black men who claim that a Los Angeles area prosecutor prosecuted them on drug-trafficking charges because of their race. The Court also left intact the conviction of Ruben Zuno-Arce - a Mexican thought to have killed a US Drug Enforcement Agency agent in 1985.

The Senate is taking its turn at hearings on the 1992 siege at Waco, Texas. House hearings ended this summer. At issue as the panel convened yesterday: procedures and decisions of the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms before and during the standoff. Critics say the agencies should have waited longer for Branch Davidian group members to surrender. Authorities say the Davidians were never coming out. Those scheduled to testify include: ATF director John Magaw, FBI director Louis Freeh, Treasury Undersecretary Ronald Noble, and a Branch Davidian member.

Conservatives may not have as much sway in the GOP as conventional wisdom holds: A New York Times/CBS poll released yesterday found 38 percent of likely Republican primary voters say they are ''pro-choice''; and 80 percent do not consider themselves part of the ''religious right.'' Separately, Elizabeth Dole is taking a year off as head of the Red Cross to help with her husband's presidential campaign. But if Mrs. Dole (with Senator Dole above) becomes first lady in 1997, she wants to return to the Red Cross and work full time outside the White House.

Five hunger strikers protesting the end of affirmative action in the University of California system said they won't stop, even after being arrested Sunday. They were set to travel to Sacramento to lobby Gov. Pete Wilson today. The group began the protest Oct. 17, decrying the July 20 decision by the nine-school system's regents, led by Wilson, to abolish racial and gender-preference admission practices.

Americans boosted their giving to the 400 largest charities in the US by 6.3 percent last year. The organization receiving the most, for the third straight year, was the Salvation Army. (List, at right.)

Business beware: The Cali drug cartel has turned to US companies to launder its profits, The New York Times said yesterday. In a New York-based probe, 105 firms accepted drug money - sometimes unwittingly - for electronics and other items shipped to Colombia. Investigations continue in Houston, Miami, New York, and L.A.

Astronauts pointed Columbia's belly toward the sun Sunday to begin warming its tires in order to soften them for next weekend's landing. Columbia has been orbiting with its tail pointed earthward to minimize the need to fire its jets, which might jar sensitive experiments.

The World

Turnout was expected to exceed 90 percent as Quebeckers went to the polls yesterday to decide the future of their province. The outcome was too close to call, and pollsters say the undecided 10 percent will ultimately make the difference.

Croatian President Franjo Tudjman appeared headed for an election victory yesterday. But preliminary returns indicated he might not get the two-thirds majority he needs to change the constitution. Observers said the vote was mostly fair and credited Tudjman's strong lead to nationalist euphoria after recent military victories over rebel Serbs. Meanwhile, a long-awaited Dutch government report said the massacre of Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica marked a dismal failure for the UN.

Middle East nations appealed for $40 billion yesterday at the Middle East and North Africa Economic Summit. The funds would be used for development projects aimed to link the region economically. The request list includes: $25 billion for Israel, $8 billion for Morocco, $6 billion for the Palestinians, $3.5 billion for Jordan. Proposed projects include: An international airport and a fiber-optics telecommunications system. Also, in Damascus yesterday, US Secretary of State Christopher failed to persuade Syrian President Assad to resume stalemated peace talks with Israel. And, Israeli troops killed three guerrillas in a south Lebanon gun battle.

Sri Lankan tanks advanced toward the Tamil rebel stronghold of Jaffna in the worst day of a two-week offensive, the government said yesterday. About 40 soldiers and 92 rebels were killed. The Army began a six-day recruitment campaign (above) yesterday, while rebels called on young Tamils to enlist and ''defend the Tamil homeland.''

Despite charges of widespread fraud and disorganization, officials proceeded with Tanzania's first multiparty elections yesterday. Polling went smoothly in some areas. New voting will be held in Dar es Salaam, where some poll materials never arrived.

Grigory Yavlinsky, head of the Yabloko reformist party in Russia, said yesterday that Kremlin hawks in President Yeltsin's camp were trying to sabotage a reformist challenge for the presidency. The Central Election Commission ruled last weekend that Yabloko could not run in Dec. 17 elections for the Duma - the lower house of parliament.

Nick Leeson, the futures trader involved in Britain's Barings Bank collapse, will return to Singapore next month and stand trial, his lawyer said yesterday. Lesson had been fighting extradition from a Frankfurt prison. (Story, Page 7.)

Bulgaria's ruling Socialist Party won 40 percent of votes in Sunday's local elections, preliminary estimates showed yesterday. Analysts said favorable economic factors and a strong local party network added to the good showing by the BSP, which is largely made up of ex-Communists.

Mexico's business and labor leaders signed a pact with the government Sunday that would cut taxes, raise wages, and offer incentives to firms to hire more workers. The deal was an attempt to drag Mexico's economy out of a 10-month slump. Labor Secretary Javier Bonilla Garcia forecasted 3 percent economic growth next year with 20 percent inflation.

About 500 anti-nuclear protestors overran British Prime Minister John Major's country home an hour before his meeting with French President Jacquees Chirac yesterday. Major's show of support for France's nuclear testing also drew condemnation from New Zealand and Australia.

Sarah Balabagan will receive 100 ''light lashes'' and one year in a United Arab Emirates prison, a court ruled yesterday. The Philippine maid said she killed her boss in self-defense when he tried to rape her. The complex case caused international outcry and bad publicity for UAE when she was sentenced to death.


Next rainy season, if the Thai government has its way, farm crocodiles that break out of their pens may not run free for very long. The Department of Fisheries wants farm owners to plant microchips in the beasts so they can be tracked. Some 300 of them got loose during this past rainy season.

Sherwood Forest, once the fabled haunt of socially conscious thieves, is hardly big enough to hide Friar Tuck these days. Farming, timbering, mining, and urban sprawl have cut the forest down to a single stand of ancient woodland, barely enough for a decent chase scene. And by the way, none of Hollywood's Robin Hoods - from Douglas Fairbanks to Kevin Costner - ever ambled through Sherwood Forest: too few trees, too many tourists.

Italian sports-car maker Ferrari opened a showroom in Shanghai yesterday, and a company official said it had already sold 12 cars in China - all with red color schemes. The Shanghai showroom is Ferrari's second in China.

John Wayne can still take the likes of Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson. Wayne, who died 16 years ago, came out on top in the latest Harris Poll survey that asked 1,005 Americans to name their favorite movie star. Eastwood and Gibson finished second and third.

Top Charity Recipients

A survey cited by the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows donations to the US's 400 largest nonprofit organizations rose to $22.4 billion in 1994, up 6.3 percent from 1993. In millions

1. Salvation Army $726

2. American Red Cross 497

3. Second Harvest 425

4. United Jewish Appeal 382

5. YMCA of the USA 376

6. American Cancer Society 373

7. Catholic Charities USA 336

8. Harvard University 289

9. Boys and Girls Clubs of America 286

10. University of Pennsylvania 260

- Associated Press

'' I'm sick and tired of this whole debate. I want to bury this question once and for all

and get on with my life. That's why I'm going to vote 'Yes.' ''

- Richard Martineau, editor of a Montreal magazine, on yesterday's referendum vote in Quebec.

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