News In Brief

The US

After another round of failed talks with President Clinton, the GOP is considering a new tactic in the budget impasse: bypass Clinton and attempt a deal with conservative Democrats. A veto-proof majority could be created with the Democrats' help, allowing passage of GOP Medicare, Medicaid, and welfare bills, House speaker Gingrich said. While Clinton said a final agreement is ''clearly within reach,'' Senate majority leader Dole noted ''wide differences.'' The two sides plan to resume talks next week. (Story, Page 3; Editorial, Page 20.)

The Supreme Court could eventually rule on whether a sexual harassment case against Clinton can go to trial. So says Clinton's attorney, who stated that ''very important constitutional issues'' are at stake after a federal appeals court ruled the case can proceed. The case was brought by former Arkansas employee Paula Jones, who alleges Clinton sexually harassed her in a Little Rock hotel in 1991. Meanwhile, Clinton defended his wife, Hillary, after new questions arose regarding her involvement in the Whitewater controversy. He asked Americans to listen to her side of the story. An NBC ''Nightline'' poll shows that about 50 percent of respondents believe Mrs. Clinton is not telling the truth.

Clinton vetoed a Republican bill to overhaul welfare programs and turn them over to the states, saying that it did little to move people from welfare to work. But he vowed to work with Congress on a more acceptable version of the bill. Congress was unlikely to override the veto - Clinton's 12th.

Snow-weary East Coasters, ready your shovels. Forecasters say more of the fluffy white stuff is on the way tomorrow. Many cities hit by the last storm, which resulted in over 100 deaths, are likely to get blasted again. But tomorrow's storm won't be as bad as the one last weekend, the National Weather Service promises. Meanwhile, the Federal government shut down again yesterday as efforts continued to remove the mounds. And schools remained closed in many cities. Light snow fell on the White House and in New York City, and Massachusetts received an additional 3 to 5 inches. The snow has brought folks a bit of relief, though: The IRS says taxpayers in 15 states can take an extra week to file their quarterlies. (Editorial, Page 20.)

The US Border patrol began erecting a 1.3-mile-long steel fence (above) in Sunland Park, N.M., in an attempt to stop illegal immigrants and Mexican criminals from crossing the border. The budget impasse delayed the building of the 10-foot tall fence last fall. (Related story, Page 4.)

Reports calling for a flatter federal income tax have been printed by a GOP tax overhaul commission, but winter weather is keeping them on ice. With the region's airports closed by the storm, many panel members couldn't get to Washington. So they postponed until next week a Capitol news conference at which the report was to have been unveiled.

More than 70,000 computer buffs packed Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Rough times for Apple Computer Inc. apparently haven't dampened enthusiasm for the Macintosh. Apple and hundreds of companies that make products dedicated to the Mac were showing off their latest wares, including new ''clones.'' (Story, Page 8.)

A human rights group is seeking censorship of white supremacists using the Internet. The Simon Weisenthal Center mailed letters to hundreds of Internet access providers asking them to refuse to carry messages promoting ''racism, anti-Semitism, mayhem, and violence.''

The Supreme Court heard arguments that said the US military's death-penalty law is unconstitutional. It's because a key part was enacted by the president and not by Congress, said attorney John Blume, on behalf of military-court-convicted Dwight Loving.

Motorola Inc. said its fourth-quarter earnings dropped 15 percent from a year ago. The stunning report, much below analyst estimates, was another blow to financial markets where technology stocks are in retreat.

The World

A rocket grenade fired from a Serb suburb slammed into a Sarajevo streetcar, killing one man and wounding 19. It was the most serious incident in Sarajevo since the start of the NATO mission. NATO officials said it was a rogue attack. French troops stationed in Sarajevo searched buildings and increased patrols in the notorious Sniper Alley, where the attack occurred. Also, Croats fired grenades into a Muslim military camp in the divided Bosnian city of Mostar, EU officials said. And President Clinton's weekend trip to visit US troops in Tulza, Bosnia, will also include stops in Hungary, Croatia, and Italy.

As darkness approached, Russian troops were circling a convoy of Chechen rebels and their 160 hostages, which left Kizlyar, Russia for Chechnya. Earlier, rebels freed 2,000 hostages. Moscow said it won't attack, but helicopters were hovering. Rebel leader Salman Raduyev (above) has said he will kill the hostages if their passage is blocked. And ultranationalists and Communists applauded the appointment of Yevgeny Primakov as Russia's new foreign minister. He is a former Communist and intelligence chief.

A US soldier arrested and charged with attempted rape of a South Korean woman is in US military custody. Under a bilateral agreement, US soldiers accused of crimes in South Korea remain in US custody until all court appeals are completed. The US has about 37,000 troops in South Korea.

An Israeli newspaper defied military censors when it disclosed that Rear Adm. Ami Ayalon is the new chief of Israel's Shin Bet secret service. Shin Bet heads have been referred to by an initial: The full name is regarded as a state secret. The former chief, ''C,'' quit Monday, saying his agency failed to prevent the assassination of Premier Rabin. And Israel began freeing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners under a self deal with the PLO.

Mainland China officials will not hold office in Hong Kong after Beijing resumes sovereignty in 1997, Chinese Premier Li Peng said. On the second day of talks with British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, Li also said China will leave Hong Kong's coffers untouched. Additionally, China agreed to a British request to allow non-Chinese residents to stay in Hong Kong after 1997. Also agreed upon: a stipulation that only Hong Kong will issue new passports after 1997.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa will resume his electrician's job at the Gdansk shipyard to support the family, his wife, Danuta, said. It was at the Gdansk shipyard that Walesa, who repaired electric cart engines, helped start the Solidarity movement that toppled Poland's Communist government and swept him into office in 1990.

Brazil's government ruled that non-Indians can lay claim to land slated to become reservations. Activists considered the decision a major setback for the nation's Indians. The Indian Affairs Bureau had acted without respect for landowners, it said.

The International Tribunal for Rwanda named the first three suspects in the Rwandan genocide that left at least half a million people dead. It requested the handing over of Elie Ndayambaje, Joseph Kanyabashi, and Alphonse Higaniro, now in custody in Belgium.

The past week saw an upsurge of violence in Algeria between government forces and Islamic militants. At least 39 people were killed, sources say.

The UN began airlifting supplies to southern and eastern Sierra Leone after rebel ambushes on convoys made deliveries impossible. Nearly five years of civil war between the military government and rebels has displaced more than a third of the country's four million people.

Etceteras

The Rolling Stones have canceled their plan to tour South America and Asia. The British rock legends had been expected to resume their ''Voodoo Lounge'' tour in March.

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The Vespa, that venerable motorbike, has now been a key element of Italian life for 50 years. For movie buffs, the Vespa has traveled through some memorable films, among them ''Roman Holiday'' in 1953 with Eddie Albert, Gregory Peck, and Audrey Hepburn (above).

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An expedition has begun exploring a sunken ship south of New Zealand that members believe to be the wreck of the 19th-century treasure clipper the General Grant. The ship, lost off the Auckland Islands in 1866, was carrying gold bullion.

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Tourists are being greeted in Sri Lanka with leaflets warning them against buying banned wildlife products - from ivory to turtle shells. Violators face fines and prison. It is Sri Lanka's first major anti-poaching effort.

Sledding on Skillets, Southern Style

Unaccustomed to heavy snow, and with few sleds in their garages, North Carolinans are descending slopes in creative ways. Here are some favorite items used for the descent.

A skillet steered by its handle - ''the fastest''

A dresser drawer - ''the best''

Sofa cushions - ''best bounce''

Cookie sheets and cake pans

Trash can lids

Plastic bags

Ironing boards

Window shades

Cardboard boxes

Pizza boxes

Canoe - though it was abandoned after a rough ride

- Associated Press

'' I don't think my son remembers what school looks like.''

- Meredith Moss of Dayton, Ohio, struggling to get back to life as it was before the blizzard of 1996.

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