News In Brief

THE US

President Clinton plans to make a pitch for sending 20,000 US troops to Bosnia in a televised appeal to the American public tonight. The troops would serve with a NATO force. The president plans to address the question Congress has been urging him to answer: Why US soldiers should be placed at risk on foreign soil. After a brisk day on the golf course Friday, Clinton cancelled a Saturday golf game to meet with Defense Secretary William Perry, who interrupted planning sessions in Europe to review Clinton's plans. Earlier Saturday, Perry met with US Army Gen. George Joulwan, the supreme allied commander in Europe, in Belgium to discuss finer points of NATO's Bosnia plan. Clinton plans to speak to US troops in Germany this week as part of a trip to London, Dublin, and Belfast to try to renew momentum in Northern Ireland's peace process.

As many as 300,000 FedEx packages per day could move more slowly if the company fails to resolve a dispute with its pilots, a spokesperson for the union said. The company was considering a "last and best" offer by the Air Line Pilots Association Saturday. FedEx and the pilots have been negotiating a contract since May 1994.

The Senate plans to vote today on whether to ban a rarely used abortion procedure. The bill would remove states' regulatory power and, for the first time, outlaw "partial birth," late-term abortions.

Congressional Republicans last week backed off a plan to deny higher education aid to legal immigrants, The New York Times said yesterday. GOP welfare legislation would limit, and in some cases deny, legal aliens' rights to receive most federal aid. But colleges and universities reversed the plan with protests that education is not welfare.

The number of AIDS cases diagnosed in the US since 1981 passed the half-million mark at the end of October. Americans account for 1 in every 9 cases worldwide, federal health officials said Friday. The rate of AIDS among blacks and Hispanics continues to be disproportionate: blacks: 101 per 100,000; Hispanics: 51 per 100,000; whites: 17 per 100,000.

The Cleveland Browns can't become the Baltimore Browns until a trial is held, an Ohio judge ruled Friday. The trial would hear Cleveland's lawsuit to prevent the National Football League from approving the move. Owner Art Modell said Nov. 6 he would move the team to Baltimore by 1996. The city is suing to keep the team until 1998.

NASA will try to get a joint US-European mission to observe the sun off the ground again Dec. 7 after it scrubbed the Atlas rocket's launch for the fourth time Friday. Atlas' cargo - the $1-billion Soho observatory - is bound for an orbit 1 million miles from Earth and will send back data for two years - or longer if NASA and the European Space Agency can afford it.

Haiti may need an international military presence after 6,000 UN troops leave in February, and the US and its allies are planning accordingly, The Washington Post said yesterday. Current plans include deployment of personnel to train Haiti's police force as well as groups of 200 military engineers. Also, as hundreds of supporters chanted "Down with elections," Haitian President Aristide hinted Friday he may stay in office. Supporters say he should stay because he was in exile for three of his five years in office. Presidential elections are set for Dec. 17.

The EPA has scrapped hundreds of inspections - including those for water-supply systems, and PCB emissions. In reducing the EPA's budget by 21 percent, or $1 billion, Congress says it wants the agency to focus on higher-priority inspections.

Media mogul Barry Diller is reportedly moving to take over The Home Shopping Network from cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. Neither side was commenting Friday. Diller, who helped start the Fox network, has long been rumored to be piecing together a new network.

THE WORLD

For the third straight day yesterday, thousands of Serbs in Sarajevo protested the Balkan peace plan. And, in the face of growing opposition to the plan, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said the issue of Sarajevo must be renegotiated. But US negotiator Richard Holbrooke ruled out changing the Bosnia peace plan agreement to suit Bosnian Serbs. Also, Bosnian Croats were reportedly torching and looting towns due to be returned to Serb control under the peace plan.

The Israeli Army yesterday started evacuating its military headquarters from Nablus, the largest West Bank city slated for handover to the PLO next month. An advanced guard of Palestinian officers arrived to assist in the transition. Also, Israeli warplanes attacked guerrilla bases in southern Lebanon, Israeli security sources said yesterday.

Irish conservatives yesterday were considering legal action to overturn a close referendum result that legalized divorce Saturday. The close vote, recounted Saturday, allowed remarriage by a majority of 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent. The 9,114-vote difference is the closest vote in Irish history. Ireland is the only country in the Western world to constitutionally ban divorce, and lifting the prohibition marks the country's sharpest break with its Roman Catholic traditions. (Ms. Bridie Finn, above, of Galway Against Divorce reacts to the announcement that the "No" element had won the Galway vote.)

Afghan rebel jets bombed the capital city of Kabul yesterday, killing 35 people and wounding 140 others, a government spokesman said. The government blamed the attacks on the Islamic Taliban militia, which has vowed to topple the city with a military campaign and hopes to impose strict Islamic rule in Afghanistan.

A strike by French rail workers entered its third day yesterday, causing serious disruptions to services across the country, the state-owned SNCF railways company said. And thousands of people marched through the streets of Paris Saturday to show support for abortion and women's rights.

Former US President Jimmy Carter is set to chair a conference on Rwanda's crisis tomorrow in Cairo. He has invited the presidents of Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Tanzania, and Uganda. Among issues to be debated: whether the genocide's perpetrators will be put on trial; and Rwanda's Tutsi-dominated government's harsh treatment of Hutus. Also, Zaire's President Mobutu said Friday he won't force 2 million Hutu refugees in Zaire back to Rwanda soon.

"It is time to construct a new culture in which the law is observed," Mexico's President Zedillo said Saturday. He was apparently responding to the ongoing probe into the origins of $84 million found in the Swiss bank account of former President Salinas' brother, Raul. Paulina Castanon, Raul Salinas' wife, has been arrested in the case.

Foreign ministers from 15 EU states and 12 Mediterranean nations plan to meet today for a ground-breaking conference on security, human rights, religious tolerance, trade, and culture. Also, EU finance ministers meet in Brussels today to finalize monetary plans. The EU expects to adopt a single currency as early as 2002.

Sergei Markidonov, a member of Russia's lower house of parliament, was murdered yesterday while campaigning for next month's general election, a spokeswoman for Siberia's regional administration said. He is the fourth member of the parliament to be killed in two years.

Eduard Shevardnadze was sworn in as Georgia's president yesterday and promised to bring peace and prosperity to the troubled Caucasus Mountains nation. Georgia has often been rocked by violence and economic problems since it become independent in 1991. Shevardnadze was elected president by a wide margin earlier this month.

ETCETERA

We must not let this century close with gunfire ringing in Sarajevo."

- President Clinton, who takes his case for deploying 20,000 US peacekeeping troops in Bosnia to the American people tonight on television.

Jolly Ol' St. Nicole? Muriel Burrell - a nurse and mother of five - is the first woman on record to don a red-and-white Santa suit in Manhattan. She'll be outside Macy's department store every day until Christmas Eve. In all, six women will suit up during Volunteers of America's fund-raising drive.

Greg Norman won his fourth Australian Open golf tourney yesterday. Also, Spain was set to win its third straight Fed Cup as Conchita Martinez beat American Mary Joe Fernandez 6-3, 6-4.

Teachers' Pay: More Than Just Apples?

Rookie teachers were paid an average of $23,915 nationwide in the 1993-94 school year. All teachers averaged $36,744 for the year. Individual states' average teacher pays follow.

Highest-paying states:

1. Connecticut $50,598

2. Alaska 47,864

3. New York 47,612

4. New Jersey 47,038

5. Michigan 46,575

6. Pennsylvania 44,510

7. Washington, DC 43,142

8. Massachusetts 40,976

9. Rhode Island 40,729

10. California 40,667

Lowest-paying states:

1. South Dakota $26,037

2. North Dakota 26,317

3. Louisiana 26,811

4. Michigan 26,818

5. New Mexico 28,394

- American Federation of Teachers (Washington, D.C.)

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