News In Brief

The US

The White House and GOP signaled interest in a budget compromise that would defer their major spending disagreement until after November elections and avert another government shutdown. House speaker Gingrich said Republicans are ready to approve a ''down payment'' on a balanced budget if President Clinton will accept the GOP's new budget plan as part of a bill extending the government's borrowing authority. (Story, Page 1.)

Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected in US District Court tomorrow to answer questions regarding recently discovered records subpoenaed by Whitewater investigators two years ago. She is the first president's wife ever summoned before a grand jury. In the past, Mrs. Clinton has answered questions under oath to Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr at the White House.

About half of Americans watched Clinton's State of the Union speech, and most liked what they heard, two quick news polls found. Clinton said the ''era of big government is over'' and laid out seven challenges for the nation, including strengthening the family, curbing violence, and boosting education. A CBS News survey of 384 adult viewers found 69 percent approved of his proposals; 51 percent blame congressional Republicans for the budget standoff; 27 percent blame Clinton. An ABC News poll of 606 viewers found 51 percent prefer his vision to 28 percent for the GOP. (Story, Page 1; Editorial, Page 20.)

Speculators are predicting a $4 billion sale of Apple Computer Inc. to Sun Microsystems Inc., a maker of computer workstations. Apple has denied that it's for sale. (Story, Page 9.)

Wildlife officials began releasing 11 Canadian wolves into pens at Yellowstone in the second installment of a plan to restore the endangered animal (above) to the US Rockies. Twenty wolves were flown from British Columbia to Bozeman, Mont. Eleven were brought to Yellowstone, nine others to Idaho.

Federal regulators proposed fines against AT&T and MCI for signing up customers without their permission. The action against the long-distance giants is part of a broad crackdown by the Federal Communications Commission on an illegal practice called ''slamming.'' Three other companies were also fined.

A pilot's union ended a slowdown at Federal Express without a new contract. The union began pushing for a 17 percent salary increase over three years plus other benefits on Nov. 25. On average, FedEx pilots make $128,000 a year. Contract talks were continuing in Washington.

Louis Farrakhan, leader of the US-based Nation of Islam, met Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in Libya to discuss how to mobilize American Muslims for the next US elections. Farrakhan, on a tour of Africa, has also met with leaders of the military government in Nigeria.

Consumer spending rose at its fastest rate in nearly two years in November, but analysts predict consumption will slow in 1996 because of weak income growth and large debt accumulations. Personal income grew only 0.2 percent in the same month. New home sales were down 2.1 percent, a seven-month low.

Wells Fargo & Co. will acquire First Interstate Bancorp. for $11.6 billion in stock, winning a three-month hostile takeover bid that will create the nation's eighth-largest bank. The merger is expected to eliminate at least 7,000 jobs in California.

In the first empirical look at charter schools, the Washington-based Hudson Institute found strong success. Contrary to critics' predictions, the conservative think tank found that publicly funded, privately run schools include many minority children. In some states, charter-school minority rates are even higher than public-school rates. It also found high parental involvement in the education of charter-school attendees.

The Peace Corps has asked the US government to fund a Crisis Corps to help people rebuild after disasters. Peace Corps volunteers already are helping hurricane victims in Antigua in a pilot program.

The World

The US base in Bosnia and other NATO installations are on alert for an American suspected of planning attacks against NATO forces. The alert was raised after the suspect, Kevin Holt, identified as an alleged sympathizer with extremist causes, attempted to enter a NATO compound, sources said. Separately, Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia exchanged weapons data. It is the first step on the road to balance troops as agreed to in the Dayton accord. (Editorial, Page 20.)

US Army medic Spc. Michael New, who refused to submit to foreign command on a UN mission, was court-martialed and expelled from the Army for disobeying a lawful order. New (above) appeared at an inspection formation for a Macedonia-bound UN mission, without the required UN blue beret. Since then, he has become a cause for US conservatives who oppose placing US soldiers under foreign command.

Japan's overall trade surplus with the US fell by 11 percent for 1995, the highest annual decrease in 5 years. Analysts expect the drop to continue for two reasons: a growing Japanese appetite for foreign goods; and a movement towards offshore manufacturing. And Tokyo's homeless, resisting efforts to forcibly remove them from an underground walkway, rained a hail of eggs, and tin buckets on police. (Story, Page 1.)

Russian troops reportedly raided rebel strongholds in Grozny, Chechnya's capital, and seized stockpiles of weapons. And Chechen rebels reportedly released 45 hostages they took with them while escaping a Russian assault on the village of Pervomaiskoye.

Colombia's Health Minister Augusto Galan Sarmiento resigned from President Earnesto Samper's Cabinet. The allegations that Samper knowingly used Cali drug cartel's money to get elected seriously undermine the government's credibility, Galan said. The charges were made by Fernando Botero, Samper's former campaign chief.

A Palestine state is possible by mid-1997, president-elect Yasser Arafat was quoted as saying. Separately, Bassam Abu Sharif, a former Arafat aide returning to the West Bank after 28 years in exile, said he expects overwhelming support to amend PLO's charter, a section of which calls for the destruction of Israel.

Iran denied allegations it is using its official mint to counterfeit US $100 bills. It said the ABC news report, like a similar 1992 report, presented no evidence or documentation.

A US-led panel told Britain to stop linking Northern Ireland peace talks to the disarming of guerrillas or risk a return to ''the horror of the past quarter century.'' The Irish government welcomed the report of the panel headed by former Sen. George Mitchell. (Story, Page 1.)

Spain's Supreme Court indicted Jose Barrioneuvo, a close aide of Premier Felipe Gonzalez, on charges of kidnapping, misuse of public funds, and association with an outlawed group.

The German government agreed with labor and industry leaders to cut joblessness by half over the next four years. Although details remained unclear, the government promised to reform corporate tax laws and propose new steps to ease access to venture capital.

Tanzania reopened its borders to Rwandan Hutu refugees fleeing ethnic violence - allegedly by Burundi's Tutsi-dominated Army - aid officials said. Earlier this week, Tanzania, home for 700,000 Rwandan refugees, turned back 17,000 Hutus.

Andre Agassi of the US regained the world No. 1 ranking. But Agassi had to endure compatriot Jim Courier's pounding serves before posting a 6-7 (7-9), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Etceteras

It's the biggest guessing game in New York and Washington. Just who is ''Anonymous,'' the author of ''Primary Colors,'' a new novel with barely veiled parallels to Bill and Hillary Clinton? The book, published by Random House, carries a disclaimer: ''None of these events ever happened,'' then launches into an intimate replay of the 1992 campaign.

Conservationists in Laos captured an extremely rare and elusive deer-like animal, one of just seven species of mammal discovered this century. The animal, a Vu Quang Ox, lives in a mountainous forest in eastern Laos.

''Behind the Scenes at the Museum,'' a first novel by Kate Atkinson, has won the Whitbread Book of the Year award in London. The book chronicles working-class life in Yorkshire. Atkinson lives in Edinburgh.

Russia, simulating the pressures of its orbiting Mir space station, locked three scientists up in a Mir model for three months to see how they coped. An official of the space institute said they held up well, communicating with ''mission control'' just five or 10 minutes a day.

Huskies in Space

Three Russian Cosmonauts have been locked up in a mock space probe for tests. (See item above). Below are the first animals in space, their countries of origin, the date of their space shot, and the results.

1. Laika (a female husky). USSR, Nov. 1957. Died in space.

2. Laska and Benjy (mice). US, Dec. 1958. Reentered the atmosphere, but not recovered.

4. Able and Baker (female monkeys). US, May 1959. Recovered.

6. Otvazhnaya (female husky). and an unnamed rabbit. USSR, July 1959. Recovered.

8. Sam (male monkey). US, Dec. 1959. Recovered.

9. Miss Sam (female monkey). US, Jan. 1960. Recovered.

10. Belka and Strelka (female huskies). US, Aug. 1960. First to orbit and return safely.

- ''The Top 10 of Everything, 1996,'' published by Dorling Kindersley

'' Get done with your little fight, and get on with it.''

- Iowa resident Judy Teig, muttering while sewing and watching the State of the Union address on TV.

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