News In Brief

The US

Senate majority leader Dole and other GOP leaders planned to meet with President Clinton to discuss a temporary spending bill during the government's second shutdown in a month. They want to avoid furloughing some 260,000 federal workers who reported to work yesterday only to be sent home. Both sides rejected the others' earlier offers. Meanwhile, tourists remain locked out of parks, museums, and national monuments.

President Clinton vetoed two appropriations bills for Interior, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development departments. He said not enough money is devoted to programs for national parks, public housing, the environment, and the arts. He also planned to veto a bill funding State, Justice, and Commerce departments.

Recommended: 10 memories from the book that inspired 'Downton Abbey'

A savings & loan cleanup agency concluded the Clintons should not be sued to recover taxpayer losses associated with the Whitewater land venture and a failed Arkansas savings and loan. The report by the Resolution Trust Corp. supports the Clintons' longstanding claim that they had nothing to do with Whitewater Development Company's day-to-day operations, officials said. However, the report leaves open the possibility that the government could sue other entities, including Hillary Rodham Clinton's former law firm. (Story, Page 1.)

The Clinton administration released $578 million to help low-income families pay their heating bills, despite efforts in the House to kill the program. It is one point of contention that has held up congressional action on a $250 billion bill to fund the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education in 1996. Edna Fairbanks Williams of Orwell, Vt., (above) does her part: She regularly brings jugs of kerosene to needy neighbors who can't afford heating oil.

Will Gen. Colin Powell accept a request to become the Republican vice presidential nominee? Dole thinks so. Despite an earlier statement by Powell that he would not seek any elective office in 1996, Dole said Powell will ''answer the call to duty.'' A Powell spokesman said the men have not discussed the issue.

The case of suspected Fort Bragg sniper William Kreutzer went before the Army equivalent of a grand jury. Sergeant Kreutzer is accused of firing upon a group of 1,300 soldiers as they prepared for a run at the North Carolina base. One soldier was killed and 18 were wounded.

A NASA rocket launch was aborted at the last second at Cape Canaveral, Fla., when a stuck oxygen valve caused a shutdown. It was the fifth attempt in a week to launch an X-ray telescope to probe collapsed stars and possible black holes.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, crowned ''Man of the Year'' by Time Magazine for efforts to remake the government, said the GOP should have been named ''Team of the Year'' instead for its Republican revolution. But Time also called him ''the greatest liability to the revolution he launched'' because of an ethics cloud and perceptions of abrasiveness.

Bell Atlantic Corp, and NYNEX Corp. are exploring a possible merger. The resulting company in size would trail only AT&T in the US telecommunications market.

The maturing of drug trafficking gangs is being credited for a 12 percent plunge in the number of murders during the first half of this year. It was the largest decline in at least 35 years. Experts also cited police efforts and even a cultural change in attitudes for the drop.

The World

Bosnian arms talks opened in Germany, and Croatia threatened to pull out unless rump-Yugoslavia recognized rebel Serb-held Eastern Slavonia as part of Croatia. Meanwhile, six US military planes carrying cargo and soldiers landed at Tuzla air base in Bosnia, as thick fog cleared after five days. (Story, Page 6.)

''I thought this was the practice, to receive money at private interviews,'' former South Korean President Roh Tae Woo said on the first day of his trial on charges of amassing $654 million in bribes. Roh also disclosed he received $32 million from Korea's largest conglomerate, Samsung, and that he destroyed all accounting records after the scandal unraveled in October.

Yemen said that Eritrean forces broke a day-old truce and captured a strategic Red Sea island claimed by both countries. Eritrea did not confirm the report. The truce was agreed upon after a weekend of fighting during which each side accused the other of being the aggressor. At least 10 Yemenis and six Eritreans were reportedly killed.

Reconciliation talks between the PLO and Hamas opened in Cairo. The PLO hopes to persuade the Muslim fundamentalist group to declare a formal end to the guerrilla war against Israel and take part in the first Palestinian elections Jan. 20, analysts said. (Related story, Page 7.) And an Israeli commission reportedly ruled out a conspiracy between Israel's security service and Yitzhak Rabin's assassin.

With 21 percent of the vote, the Communists were leading in Russia's parliamentary elections, and leader Gennady Zyuganov called it a decisive vote against reform. In Chechnya, Kremlin-backed Doku Zavgayev won 93 percent of the vote to elect a new leader amid reports that voters cast multiple ballots. And fighting intensified between Chechen rebels and Russian forces in Gudermes, Chechnya, witnesses said. (Story, Page 1.)

France moved towards full public transport service, and weary commuters received a bonus: free rides. But union leader Marc Blondel warned the truce was temporary He said they will use Thursday's meeting with Premier Alain Juppe - to discuss France's 11.5 percent unemployment - to press their demands on welfare reforms.

Austria's ruling Social Democrats won 71 seats and emerged as the strongest party in the 183-member Parliament. And Austrian leaders met in Vienna to map out a strategy to form a coalition government. The Peoples Party clinched 53 seats, and the far-right Freedom Party - with a campaign directed against illegal immigrants - lost some ground, finishing with 42 seats. The leftist Greens lost the most: five seats. (Story, Page 6.)

In Dublin, Northern Ireland, an international panel held crucial talks with Sinn Fein, the political arm of the Irish Republican Army. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said any moves to decommission arms must include British forces and their Protestant supporters.

Cape Verde's ruling Movement for Democracy party won a parliamentary majority in multiparty legislative elections. The nine-island archipelago, with a population of 400,000, became the first of the five former Portuguese colonies in Africa to make the democratic transition. Recently, the EU cited Cape Verde as an example of economic development and praised it for its successful use of international funding in Africa.

Etcetera

Preliminary tallies show US charities are slowly pulling out of the laggard recession years of the early 1990s. Gifts of stock are rolling in so fast at the American Red Cross, for instance, that the staff can't keep up.

The stadium ''Dawg Pound'' cheered its last for the Cleveland Browns. It's near certain the team is leaving, turning once happy yips to whimpers and growls.

Christmas Carol Quiz

Can you come up with traditional names for these carols?

1. My Sole Desire for the Yuletide Season Is Receipt of a Pair of Central Incisors

2. Celestial Messengers from Splendid Empires

3. The Event Occurred at One Minute after 11:59 p.m. with Good Visibility

4. Ornament the Enclosure with Large Sprigs of a Berry-Bearing Evergreen

5. In a Distant Bovine Diner

6. The Antlered Quadruped with the Cerise Proboscis

7. Those of You Who are True Come Home

8. Are You Detecting the Same Aural Sensations as I Am?

9. From Dark Till Dawn, Soundless and Sacred

10. The Diminutive Male of Less Than Adult Age Who Plays A Percussion Instrument

11. Universal Elations

12. Primary Yuletide

13. Clappered, Inverted Cups, Amalgamated

14. Heavenly Cherubs Announcing in Song - Listen

15. Reigning Monarchs of the Far East

- Author unknown; answers provided by Barclay Business Products of Hingham Mass.

'' This is Christmas, and this is when I should be doing more business.''

- Hot dog vendor Azizul Qureshi, pointing to his full cart beside the Statue of Liberty, closed because of the budget impasse in Washington.

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