News In Brief

THE US

Some New Year's stats: The number of pounds of confetti thrown by the 500,000 revelers in New York's Times Square: 3,000. The number of rhinestones on Times Square's new falling ball: 12,000. The score of the Rose Bowl game, which Northwestern lost to USC despite Northwestern alumnus Charleton Heston's commandment "Thou Shalt Not Lose": 41-32. The number of calls L.A. police got New Year's Eve about people shooting into the air: 528. The number of non-humans who have been the sole Rose Bowl Parade Grand Marshall before Kermit the Frog was this year: 0. The last year it rained for a Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif.: 1955. Skies were clear this year, too.

AT&T says it will eliminate nearly 40,000 jobs, mostly through layoffs, as part of its plan to split itself into three separate companies. About 30,000 jobs will be cut through layoffs. About 6,500 managers have accepted a buyout package. And about 70 percent of the job cuts are expected this year.

Budget negotiators are ready to "start making the tough decisions," Senator Dole said. Chief among them was Medicare spending as President Clinton and congressional leaders returned to the bargaining table. The National Treasury Employees Union, meanwhile, sought a court order to stop the government from requiring workers to be on the job without pay. Nearly 500,000 "emergency workers" haven't been paid since Dec. 16.

Agreements between Israel and Syria could emerge next week, said Israel's ambassador to the US, Itamar Rabinovich. They would coincide with Secretary of State Christopher's planned shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem and Damascus. Rabinovich said he doesn't expect any agreements out of talks set to resume today in Maryland. Separately, the Senate voted to extend US aid to Palestinians, which would have expired Dec. 31. The US is committed to giving $500 million over five years.

If you're buying an airline ticket soon, the government shutdown could save you money. A 10 percent federal ticket tax wasn't renewed when it expired Dec. 31; it won't be until there's a budget. American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, and United are passing on the savings to customers. Southwest is not.

Cigarettes are not a drug-delivery device, say the nation's five major tobacco firms. They have banded together to fight an FDA plan to crack down on cigarette use by young people, The Wall Street Journal reports. Their 42,000-page statement argues, among other things, that nicotine doesn't fit the legal definition of a drug and its effects don't fit the legal definition of addiction.

Retired Adm. Arleigh Burke, who died Monday in Washington, was "relentless in combat, resourceful in command, and revered by his crews," said the Navy's chief of operations, Adm. Mike Boorda. The Navy's most modern class of destroyers is named for "31-knot Burke," who is survived by his wife, Roberta. They had been married 72 years.

As of Jan. 1, concealed handguns are legal, with a permit, in Texas and Oklahoma. Some 1,200 Texans have gotten permits; 36,000 are waiting to receive them. And 13,000 Oklahomans are waiting for applications, which were scheduled to be sent out today.

NAFTA has brought few free-trade benefits to Mexico or the US, a report by the Washington-based Public Citizen says. Instead, illegal dumping of industrial wastes in Mexico and air pollution have increased, the report says. NAFTA boosters say its too early to calculate the effects.

Underreporting of domestic violence is common among US police departments, a Justice Department study says. Of 44 state information offices responding to a survey, 33 complained of poor police participation. Critics say police are ignoring the problem, which can't be effectively addressed without accurate numbers. Police say reporting programs are underfunded, and reporting laws aren't enforced.

THE WORLD

The Bosnian government accused the Bosnian Serbs of abducting 16 civilians in a Sarajevo suburb. Bosnia protested to NATO which said it could not confirm any kidnappings and that such incidents must be sorted out by the local police and civilian authorities. The incidents were seen as an embarrassment to the Western alliance and a potential challenge to its Bosnian peace role. Some 10,000 US troops are expected to be in Bosnia by Jan. 19, as part of the NATO force.

Saudi Arabia's King Fahd handed over state affairs to his half-brother Crown Prince Abdullah, a move that ends speculation about succession to the Saudi throne. The hand over of power pushed up oil prices by 24 cents in Asia. The ailing king did not abdicate and is still the head of state, but diplomats believe the transfer of power is permanent.

Virtually everyone in France - including retirees and the jobless on welfare - will be paying a "debt tax." The tax is expected to bring in $5 billion each year and is aimed at slashing a $50 billion deficit in the social security system. France is required to cut its annual deficit as a condition for joining the EU's single currency planned for 1999.

Russia missed a Jan. 1 deadline to destroy 6,000 tanks and 7,000 artillery systems - part of its commitment to the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. The delay was purely economic, the Russian general in charge of the operation said. He wants the deadline pushed to the end of 1998. So far, 1,264 tanks and 3,453 artillery systems have been destroyed.

Ademola Adeniji-Adele was among five political detainees freed by Nigeria's military authorities. Adeniji-Adele, held for 17 months without trial, is a senior aide of Moshood Abiola - Nigeria's most prominent political prisoner. Nigeria, which insists that there are no political prisoners, also released Wariebe Agamene - who led oil workers in a crippling 1994 strike. Also released was Fred Eno, Abiola's publicity aide.

Pakistani paramilitary forces launched a massive search for Naeem Shari, a Mohajir leader, believed to be behind a two-day killing spree that left 26 people dead in Karachi. Mohajirs, or Urdu-speaking Muslim immigrants, say they are treated as second-class citizens and denied access to good government jobs and education. Policemen have been the targets of their attacks.

A suspected terrorist was arrested in the Philippines in connection with terrorism and assassination plots. His targets included: President Fidel Ramos, Pope John Paul II, and top Philippine Army and police officers, Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan said. He is also being held in connection with two bombings, including the 1994 bombing of a Philippine Airlines plane in Japan.

Britain has accused the Irish Republican Army of eroding the peace process by committing several vigilante-style murders. The latest is the killing of a man Monday - what appears to be the fifth incident in a guerrilla campaign against drugs, Britain said. Sinn Fein said the authorities have failed to produce a shred of evidence to link the killings with the IRA.

Senior Greek leaders called for the immediate replacement of Premier Andreas Papandreou. The ailing premier has been in the hospital for six weeks.

Nine people were killed in Sudan when Muslim fundamentalists clashed with police. Rights activists say the group Takfir wi Hijra - which means isolation and pilgrimage - is waging a campaign to convert Sudan's Christians and animists to Islam. The group, founded in Egypt in the 1970s, separates itself from society, with the aim of returning to pure Islam.

ETCETERAS

Sure the field is a little lumpy and muddy, but it's our tradition. We gotta play today."

- US Lt. Col. Harold Harvey, captain of the officers' team, which took on the enlisted men in a game of American football in Kiseljak, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The contest was dubbed the "Bosnia Bowl." The officers won, 24-0.

A tiny Indian Ocean island nation has attracted the attention of law-enforcement officials from the US and Europe. The Republic of the Seychelles has passed a law that guarantees that anyone willing to pay a $10 million citizenship fee gets total protection from extradition. Authorities in the US, Britain, and France worry the law will create what one official calls "a potential safe haven for wealthy criminals."

Calvin and Hobbes, the terrible tyke and his stuffed tiger companion, put their toboggan onto a field of snow and sledded away after nine years on comics pages across the US. Their creator, Bill Watterson, announced in November that he had done all he could within the daily comic format.

Newest Classic Movies

The Library of Congress has added these films to the 150 others on the National Film Registry for their "enduring cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance." To make the list, a movie must be at least 10 years old.

"The Adventures of Robin Hood," 1938

"All That Heaven Allows," 1955

"American Graffiti," 1973

"The Band Wagon," 1953

"Blacksmith Scene," 1893

"Cabaret," 1972

"Chan Is Missing," 1982

"The Conversation," 1974

"The Day the Earth Stood Still," 1951

"El Norte," 1983

"Fatty's Tintype Tangle," 1915

"The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," 1921

"Fury," 1936

"Gerald McBoing Boing," 1951

"The Hospital," 1971

"Jammin' the Blues," 1944

"The Last of the Mohicans," 1920

"Manhatta," 1921

"North by Northwest," 1953

"The Philadelphia Story," 1940

"Rip Van Winkle," 1896

"Seventh Heaven," 1927

"Stagecoach," 1939

"To Fly," 1976

"To Kill a Mockingbird," 1962

- Library of Congress/AP

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