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News In Brief

November 9, 1995



The US

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Gen. Colin Powell was set to announce yesterday he won't seek the White House in 1996, Republican sources said. After weeks of agonizing decisionmaking, Powell apparently decided the personal popularity evidenced in his national book tour might not hold up under the rigors of a national campaign. (Story, Page 1.)

Double good news for Senator Dole: New Hampshire Gov. Steve Merrill said yesterday he will support the GOP front-runner - a key endorsement in a critical primary state; and Dole's main threat, Colin Powell, was set to say he won't run in '96.

Democrats claimed it was an electoral repudiation of the Republican revolution: The GOP was thwarted in its attempts to take over the Kentucky governor's office and the Virginia and Maine legislatures on Tuesday. But the GOP did fare well in Mississippi, where Gov. Kirk Fordice (above with his wife, Pat Fordice) easily won a second term. And in Maine, voters appeared to have narrowly nixed an antigay-rights measure. Also, gambling proposals were rejected in Seattle, two Indiana counties, and Springfield, Mass. (Story, Page 1.)

The bill to criminalize certain late-term abortions was set to be put off for later consideration by the Senate yesterday. Skeptics called for hearings on the rare procedure. But supporters objected, saying the House, which has passed a similar ban, already had hearings on what they call ''partial-birth'' abortions. President Clinton opposes the legislation, saying it doesn't have an exception for saving the mom's life.

At peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, the US and Bosnia have been cajoling Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to sack Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic, allow the UN war crimes court to try them, and bar them from power in the new Bosnian state. But at home, Bosnian Serb leaders have threatened Milosevic, saying any extradition would bring ''ruin'' on him. The issue is the main sticking point in the talks in Dayton.

House Republicans were preparing to act yesterday on a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government running through the end of the month. But spending for many programs would be financed at only 60 percent of current levels. The Senate is expected to take up a similar bill Monday. Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation that would extend the government's ability to borrow until Dec. 12. (Stories, Page 3.)

Five US midshipmen face military trials on drug charges, and 19 others are being investigated for suspected drug use, the US Naval Academy said Tuesday. All 4,000 midshipmen were tested for drug use starting Oct. 15, after two midshipmen were found in a hotel near the academy with LSD.

Whether Francine Kerner, a Treasury Department lawyer, gave confidential documents to her superior, Jean Hanson, who was under scrutiny in a Whitewater-related ethics probe, was to be the topic of Senate hearings yesterday. On Tuesday, former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen denied he tried to help the White House avoid embarrassment in the probe. He said he gave White House counsel Lloyd Cutler the papers only after Cutler said he was ''having trouble getting them'' - and only with the agreement they wouldn't be given to those under scrutiny.

The US State Department, responding to a Cuban offer to let moderate exiles visit the island, challenged Havana to extend the same privilege to hard-line critics. Cuba said Monday that two-year travel permits would only be issued to exiles not actively opposed to Castro.

Chiding the US's European allies, a senior administration official said Tuesday that Britain, France, and Germany set back hopes for an early NATO consensus on a new secretary general by endorsing former Dutch premier Ruud Lubbers. This does not mean the US opposes Lubbers, but consensus is best reached in private, he said.

The profile of single moms is changing: As more unmarried professional women have children, the group is increasingly older and richer, the Census bureau said Tuesday.

The World

An accord was reached over Russia's military role in a possible NATO-led peace force in Bosnia during yesterday's meeting between US Defense Secretary William Perry and his Russian counterpart, Pavel Grachev, in Brussels. Gen. George Joulwan, NATO's supreme commander in Europe, ''will have a Russian deputy who will give orders to the Russian forces,'' Grachev said. The political control of the NATO operation is yet to be worked out.

David Rohde, The Christian Science Monitor's East European correspondent, was released yesterday by the Bosnian Serbs. (Story, Page 1.)