News In Brief

THE US

Temperatures were headed back up after a weekend of deep freeze. Seasonally normal temps are expected in the Midwest by midweek. The coldest spots this weekend were in northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border, where it got to 60 degrees below zero.

Some call Apple Computer's new CEO Gilbert Amelio "Mr. Fixit." He brought back National Semiconductor from near bankruptcy five years ago. Former Apple chief Michael Spindler was ousted Friday. Investors liked the news - Apple stock rose 87 cents after a long period of declines.

The TV industry will fight against having to install V-Chips in every new television - a requirement contained in the massive telecommunications reform bill that passed Friday. President Clinton is expected to sign the measure soon. Although it won't be ready for at least two years, the V-Chip enables parents to filter what their children see. Television companies say it would jeopardize advertising revenue.

House Republican leaders told President Clinton they won't allow a debt default and said in a letter they will give him legislation "acceptable to both you and the Congress." The letter underlined recent verbal promises by GOP leaders not to provoke a veto-fight on the debt-ceiling. They also assured Social Security recipients that their March checks will go out even if there isn't a budget deal. And Speaker Gingrich said he is willing to shrink the GOP's planned $200-billion tax cut.

The US unemployment rate rose to 5.8 percent in January, the highest since last spring. The Labor Department said that payrolls fell by 201,000, largely because a blizzard closed many businesses in the East during the department's survey week.

Millionaire publisher Steve Forbes continues to gain support in Iowa and New Hampshire as his Republican rivals step up criticism of the political neophyte and his flat-tax plan. One poll shows Forbes with 29 percent over Senator Dole's 24 percent. But the race is still volatile because an unusually high number of voters remain undecided.

Clinton may seek to buy additional B-2 bombers, despite the Pentagon's opposition to more of the expensive stealth planes, The Washington Post reported. Clinton's interest follows Congress's repealing of a 20-plane cap on the program set during the Bush administration. The Post said the action would boost hopes in California and other key electoral states where the aircraft is made.

Repealing a rule requiring any military personnel diagnosed with HIV virus to be discharged is the aim of three senators and 43 House members. The rule is included in the defense bill that Clinton is set to sign soon. Clinton supports the move to repeal the rule and will ensure that any personnel discharged in the meantime have full benefits.

Clinton reprimanded controversial adviser Dick Morris after Morris gave Senator Dole's campaign secret polling data to try to coax Dole into a budget deal, the White House said. "Dole cannot win in either New Hampshire or Iowa UNLESS there is a budget deal," Morris wrote to the Dole campaign, which rejects the assertion. Morris is distrusted by many Clinton aides because he has worked for many GOP campaigns, including that of conservative Sen. Jesse Helms.

Federal contractors can hire permanent replacement workers during strikes, a federal appeals court ruled. The ruling overrides Clinton's 1995 executive order barring federal contractors from doing so. The court said it conflicts with US labor law, which guarantees the right to hire permanent replacements.

Mattel - which makes Barbie dolls - withdrew its $5 billion offer for Hasbro - maker of G.I. Joe figures. The deal would have created a firm seven times bigger than any rival. Hasbro opposed the deal on antitrust grounds.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, President Clinton urged voters not to change course this fall but "bear down and go forward."

THE WORLD

"He gave his life for the noblest of causes - the search for peace," President Clinton said of Sgt. 1st Class Donald A. Dugan, the first US casualty in NATO's Bosnian mission. Dugan apparently stepped on a mine while manning a checkpoint at Gradacac near Tuzla, where the main US base in Bosnia is located. Also, UN human rights envoy Elizabeth Rehn arrived in Srebrenica to investigate possible mass grave sites. Earlier, Bosnian Muslim protesters demanded information about missing Muslims.

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7 hit southwestern China's Yunnan Province, killing at least 228 people and seriously injuring 3,700 others. Army personnel, doctors, and aid workers launched rescue-and-relief efforts in freezing weather. The Lijiang area, where most of the damage occurred, is known for its ancient villages and beautiful scenery.

An unidentified gunman opened fire on a group of rock-throwing Palestinian schoolchildren in the West Bank, critically wounding one. Also, leading Israeli politicians called for elections as early as May. The elections are presently scheduled for October. And US Secretary of State Christopher arrived in the Mideast. He is seeking to intensify peace negotiations between Syria and Israel.

NATO will expand despite Russian concerns, US Defense Secretary Perry told an annual gathering of defense experts in Munich, Germany. Earlier, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin said Moscow will view with suspicion the admittance of Eastern European nations into the alliance. NATO expansion could also affect reforms in Russia, Kokoshin said. Separately, Russian miners ended a strike after the Kremlin agreed to pay back wages. But nearly a million miners in Ukraine are still on strike.

Japan's opposition party said it plans to end a week-long boycott of parliament. The decision was made after Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto agreed to reveal more information about a government plan to use public funds to bail out private mortgage firms. The firms reportedly accumulated more than $56 billion of unrecoverable debt, mostly through real estate speculation.

Indonesian troops were ordered to round up some 500 jungle villagers in Irian Jaya Province. They fled after rebels kidnapped 26 people, including some Europeans, in early January. The villagers are to be brought back so they can "lead a normal life again," an Army spokesman said. The rebels, who seek independence from Indonesia still hold 13 hostages.

Three artillery shells that landed on the grounds of the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, were among seven that hit central Kabul. Some 13 people were wounded in the attack the government blamed on the Taliban militia, a group of religious students who want to establish strict Islamic rule.

Guinean President Gen. Lansana Conte appeased his mutinous Army. He promised his soldiers back wages, pay rises, and fired the defense minister - three key demands of the soldiers. About 2,000 soldiers went on the rampage in the capital of Conakry, Friday. Conte has ruled Guinea, a former French colony, since a military coup in 1984. He retained power in 1993 elections.

South Korea said it has no objections to the US decision to give North Korea $2 million in humanitarian aid. Earlier, South Korea alleged the North was exaggerating the famine problem.

About 30 people in Chittagong, Bangladesh, were injured as demonstrators protested Feb. 15 general elections. About 200 vehicles were damaged during the protests. The opposition has also been demanding the removal of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia from power.

ETCETERAS

They freeze and they don't pop. It's kind of neat."

Mike Lynch, a meteorologist for WCCO radio in Minneapolis, on the soap bubbles he was blowing in Tower, Minn., where temperatures dropped to 60 degrees below zero and broke a state record.

Gene Kelly, who died in Los Angeles Friday, was a consummate showman who transformed both American dance and the Hollywood musical. He was as influential as he was popular. And his athletic, and occasionally audacious steps have had a lasting impact on modern choreography. He was also an actor, singer, and director.

Phil, the famous Punxsutawney, Pa., groundhog, predicted six more weeks of winter when he saw his shadow on Groundhog Day. But in Canada, his cousin Wiarton Willie predicted an early spring after failing to see his shadow.

British researchers have discovered the first computer virus that targets programs on Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system. Called "Boza," it renders programs unusable and can spread to other machines.

When Columbus, Ohio, third-grader Tyra Anderson found a wallet with $300 in it, she wanted to buy a diamond ring for her mother. But she turned the wallet in. Then good things began. The owner gave her a compact disc. Anonymous donors gave her $200, a locket, and a diamond ring. And her class had a pizza party that was also donated.

Sun Tan Cities

Travel destinations for chilled Midwesterners? The following are the hottest inhabited places in the world. Average annual temperatures are in Fahrenheit.

1. Djibouti, Djibouti 86.0F

2. Timbuktu, Mali 84.7

2. Tirunelevi, India 84.7

2. Tuticorin, India 84.7

5. Nellore, India 84.6

5. Santa Marta, Colombia 84.6

7. Aden, South Yemen 84.0

7. Madurai, India 84.0

7. Naimey, Niger 84.0

10. Hudaydah, North Yemen 83.8

10. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 83.8

10. Thanjavur, India 83.8

10. Tiruchirapalli, India 83.8

- "The Top Ten of Everything," 1996," Dorling Kindersley, publisher

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