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Ending weeks of speculation, Massachusetts GOP Gov. William Weld said he will challenge Sen. John Kerry, the incumbent Democrat, for his US Senate seat. The race will be one of the most important 1996 Senate contests. Weld, an ardent tax cutter and welfare reformer, is prominently aligned with the GOP revolution in Washington. He trails Kerry in most polls.
''Think M*A*S*H and you've got what you're looking at,'' said an Army spokesman, referring to the long-running TV show and describing the living conditions for US troops in Bosnia. Most will spend the winter months in double-layer tents heated by diesel-fueled stoves. And nearly 17,000 troops will support the 20,000 soldiers on the ground. They include pilots patrolling the skies, marines poised to conduct rescue missions, and supply crews. The first US contingent - about 700 troops - will arrive in several days. (Story, Page 1; Editorial, Page 20.)
Balanced-budget talks between the White House and congressional leaders yielded little more than agreement to meet every day this week, including Saturday. And at a Monitor breakfast, Senator Dodd, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said that if the Republican-led Congress refuses to compromise on its 1996 budget proposal, the White House may have no other choice but to seek temporary spending bills - so-called continuing resolutions - through next year. And ''If there is no budget deal,'' he said, the 1996 presidential and congressional race ''is history -- the president is reelected, and the Democrats are running Congress.'' The GOP will give voters ''the impression that you don't care about me ... while the president is fighting for middle America.''
''It's our family's hour,'' exulted Jesse Jackson Sr. as his son, Jesse Jackson Jr., won a Democratic primary in Chicago. The win nearly guarantees the junior Jackson the US House seat Mel Reynolds gave up after his conviction on charges of sexual misconduct. Jackson is favored over Republican Thomas Somer in a Dec. 12 special election.
California voters recalled a renegade Republican: Former Assembly Speaker Doris Allen was accused by fellow party members of being a puppet of former Democratic Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. Orange County voters replaced her with political newcomer Scott Baugh.
A lobby-reform bill is nearing President Clinton's desk. After failing about 10 times in the last 50 years, the House was set to pass a bill to require all lobbyists to officially register and identify their clients. Supporters expected passage as early as last night. Official records now show 6,500 lobbyists; there may actually be 10 times that many.
Ford will begin equipping its vehicles with air bags designed to cushion drivers and front-seat passengers from inside-impact crashes. The devices will begin appearing in about two years. Meanwhile, Chrysler is recalling 20,000 1996 Dodge and Plymouth minivans to replace bolts that could fail and allow seats to come loose in a crash.
Clinton lifted a 22-year export ban on Alaska North Slope oil. The bill he signed allows shipment overseas of as much as one-fourth of the petroleum produced in the US. The ban was imposed in 1973 during the OPEC oil embargo.
A tax on frequent flyer miles? When a Wall Street Journal story said the IRS planned to subject business travelers' prized mile hordes to the tax-man, the outcry was vociferous. The policy would have taxed travelers' personal use of miles gained in company flights. The IRS backpedaled, saying it had no plans to go through with the tax.
Addressing the British Parliament, President Clinton endorsed a new Anglo-Irish drive for peace in Northern Ireland and praised the leaders for their boldness. In an unexpected move, Britain and Ireland agreed to set aside their disagreement over disarming the Irish Republican Army and set a date for all-party talks in Northern Ireland. Also, British Prime Minister John Major said Britain will contribute 13,000 soldiers to the NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia.
China rolled out the red carpet for Cuban President Fidel Castro. His nine-day state visit is intended to boost trade with China while highlighting solidarity among the few remaining Communist countries. Castro hopes to study China's experience in opening its economy to foreign trade and investment, his aides said. Also, China selected a Tibetan ''soul boy'' as the reincarnation of the late Panchen Lama, challenging the exiled Dalai Lama's pick for the second-holiest figure in Tibetan Buddhism.