News In Brief

By , Abraham McLaughlin, and Peter Nordahl

THE US

Some progress reportedly was made in the budget imbroglio when White House chief of staff Panetta and met with congressional Republicans. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said they had agreed on a work plan involving chief negotiators for the White House and Congress. More talks were expected later in the day, but they would not include the issue of a temporary spending bill, he said.

In a 51 to 45 vote, the Senate decided to take President Clinton to court for refusing to turn over disputed Whitewater notes. But the threat could fizzle as the White House works to eliminate roadblocks to releasing the notes.

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The House voted 319 to 100 to override Clinton's veto of a bill limiting securities-fraud lawsuits. If the Senate follow suit with an override, the bill becomes law. Clinton has vetoed 10 bills since taking office, including four in the past week.

What does Senate majority leader Bob Dole want for Christmas? He wants to lead a congressional delegation of five or six senators to the Balkans to visit US troops on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But tangled budget negotiations are threatening to hold up the trip. Clinton had wanted to spend Christmas with the troops as well, but was advised against it by military commanders, McCurry said. "Frankly, we would get in the way" of the deployment, he explained.

The House was expected to take action on a welfare reform bill that would replace the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with block grants to the states. The bill would trim food stamp benefits and curb aid to immigrants, disabled children, drug addicts, and alcoholics. An experimental change in the federal school lunch program is also included.

An Army inquiry discovered about 15 soldiers at Fort Bragg have loose ties to skinhead groups, the local news station WTVD said. Military officials have not released results of their investigation into racist and extremists activity at the base. The inquiry was prompted by the arrest of three white soldiers in the slaying of a black couple.

A man who died after his 1994 arrest in Philadelphia was repeatedly struck in the head by police, and six officers lied about the beating under oath, the Police Advisory Commission reportedly concluded. The Philadelphia Inquirer said an overwhelming majority of the 15-member panel supported the finding and recommended disciplinary action against the six officers.

Louis Farrakhan's $4.2 billion libel suit against The New York Post was dismissed by a judge who said the Nation of Islam leader offered no proof of malice on the newspaper's part.

The debt-ridden Samuel Goldwyn Company has agreed to sell its film and television library to a PolyGram subsidiary in an attempt to rebuild Goldwyn's movie production and distribution arm. PolyGram Filmed Entertainment will pay Goldwyn $62 million for 850 movies, including "The Madness of King George," and 740 TV shows, ranging from "Flipper" to "American Gladiators."

Two alleged members of a paramilitary group were ordered held without bail in Los Angeles on charges they plotted to overthrow the Cuban government. An arsenal stashed in a warehouse included: assault rifles, grenades, 14,000 rounds of ammunition, and gas masks.

Legislation to dismantle the Interstate Commerce Commission is moving through Congress despite a presidential veto threat. Clinton in principle has backed the elimination of the ICC as part of long-term plans to balance the budget. But yesterday the administration said he would veto it.

You have the right to remain silent, but if you do, police in Los Angeles and Santa Monica will press you to talk anyway, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California charges in a lawsuit. The departments try to circumvent protections afforded under the US Supreme Court's 1966 Miranda ruling, the suit contends.

THE WORLD

NATO peacekeeping troops began dismantling checkpoints that once made free passage impossible in Bosnia. Meanwhile, a German seaman, accidently killed during military exercises in the Adriatic Sea, became NATO's first casualty in the Bosnian mission. And some foreign Islamic fighters who helped Bosnian Muslims during the Balkan war are refusing to leave, a Bosnian official said.

An American Airlines plane, carrying 164 people, crashed near Cali, Colombia. Four people reportedly survived. Most of the passengers aboard the Boeing 757-200 jetliner, which took off from Miami, were reportedly Colombians - traveling to see their families for the holidays. The cause of the crash is unknown. And in Egypt, 60 people were reported killed in a train accident near Cairo.

A powerful car bomb exploded in a busy marketplace in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and wounding as many as 100 others, police officials said. No one took responsibility for the blast, but police and the Interior Ministry blamed Afghanistan.

Palestinian policemen arrived in Bethlehem to take over the military headquarters from Israel. They were expected to formally take control of the historic city to Palestinians. And, after four days of talks, PLO leaders failed to get a clear-cut pledge from Hamas to halt attacks on Israelis and participate in Palestinian elections.

Russia's pro-reform forces must unite or risk losing democratic gains said Yegor Gaidar, a former prime minister and prominent reformist. Gaidar's warning followed a strong showing by the Communists in last week's parliamentary elections. And in Gudermes, Chechnya, Russian troops freed 150 military officers trapped in a military office by rebel fighters.

Prince Norodom Sirivudh left Cambodia for exile in France. Sirivudh, half-brother of Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk, earlier agreed to go into exile rather than face trial on charges of plotting to assassinate Co-Prime Minister Hun Sen and overthrow the government - accusations the prince denies. The charges were a pretext to silence a potential rival, critics say.

The UN is phasing out its food program in North Korea by mid-January because of a lack of funds, the UN said. Last summer, floods destroyed the harvest, and famine is reportedly affecting 500,000 people. The WFP needs $8.8 million to cover the operation.

Former South Korean presidents Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo were formally indicted for their roles in a 1979 coup. Chun was charged with mutiny for masterminding the coup. Roh was charged with playing a "key role." Both were also charged with murder and attempted murder for attacks on superior officers. They face the death penalty if convicted.

Poland's two parties in the ruling coalition government clashed over what to do about allegations by government sources that Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy spied for Russia. Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry denounced the allegations.

The Chernobyl nuclear power station will be shut down by 2000. Ukraine and the Group of Seven industrial countries signed an unbinding agreement in Canada. The deal involves $2.3 billion in aid to close the power plant and develop Ukraine's energy sector.

Argentina may pardon leaders of a failed 1990 coup, and also Marxist guerrillas who attacked an Army barracks in 1989, President Carlos Menem said.

ETCETERA

There's no point in temporarily opening the government up until we get the job done."

- GOP Rep. John Shadegg, balking on reopening partly closed Cabinet agencies while discussions on balancing the federal budget are under way.

A fossilized dinosaur found incubating its eggs has offered scientists the most graphic evidence yet of how dinosaurs may have been the precursors of the modern bird. The spectacular specimen, found buried under sand in Mongolia, is crouching on a nest of at least 15 eggs.

The shrimp is shucked, the pheasant plucked in hopes Yosemite's annual Bracebridge feast will be held Christmas weekend, even though the federal budget impasse has closed the park down. Plans for an eight-course meal at the Ahwahnee Hotel continue. Being prepared: 800 pounds of tenderloin, 5,000 pieces of shrimp, and Black Sea caviar.

Top 10 Role Models

Below are the National League of Junior Cotillions' picks for people with the best manners in 1995. The most ill-mannered person? Baseball team owner Art Modell for abandoning his hometown and moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.

Actor Christopher Reeve for composure during adversity.

Assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for pursuit of peace amid conflict.

"Good Morning America" cohost Joan Lunden for treating guests courteously.

Former Education Department head William Bennett for his "Book of Virtues" message.

Capt. Scott O'Grady for living up to the definition of hero after his plane went down in Bosnia.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher for poise under pressure.

Gen. Colin Powell for putting family above politics.

Tennis player Monica Seles for her perseverance and optimism.

Baseball's Cal Ripken Jr. for accepting success with humility.

TV newscaster Jane Pauley for respect and politeness.

- The National League of Junior Cotillions/Associated Press

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