News In Brief

The US

New Hampshire residents cast a powerful vote today in a primary bound to clarify who will lead the Republican race for president. Polls show the top three contenders in a dead heat: Senator Dole has a slight edge over Lamar Alexander and Pat Buchanan. Publisher Steve Forbes is trailing in fourth place in most polls. Sen. Phil Gramm endorsed Dole (above), saying he is the ''only candidate that has a chance of bringing economic conservatives and social conservatives together to create a united party.'' (Stories, Page 1; Opinion, Page 19.)

Vice President Gore announced a restoration project for Florida's Everglades. The massive engineering project is expected to cost more than a half-billion dollars over the next seven years and includes the purchase of large tracts of farmland. After the farmland is taken out of production, a more-natural flow of fresh water will be restored in the region. Florida sugar farmers are protesting an expected penny-per-pound tax on sugar to raise $280 million.

Investigators are examining whether the removal of a warning signal near the site of a train accident in Silver Springs, Md., contributed to a crash that killed the engineer, two crewmen, and eight Job Corps trainees. The veteran engineer, who was driving a commuter train that hit an Amtrak passenger liner, was running the train at 63 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone and failed to slow down for a warning signal. Investigators say they have found no mechanical or signaling problems. Also, investigators are trying to determine the cause of a Conrail accident near Teutopolis, Ill., where 24 freight cars carrying automobiles and other goods derailed. No one was injured.

Most Americans want to see immigration dramatically scaled back, a new poll suggests. While some question the survey methods, the Roper poll also shows a fifth of those interviewed oppose all immigration -- legal or not. Some 79 percent of those polled say the US should allow entry to 600,000 or fewer immigrants annually. Of that group, 54 percent say it should be limited to 100,000 or less.

The assisted-suicide trial of Jack Kevorkian is expected to begin today in Michigan. The judge has ruled that relatives of one of the people Kevorkian allegedly helped in a suicide must appear for the prosecution.

The grandson of the United Arab Emirates' president violated a federal judge's order to testify in a $44 million lawsuit over a boating accident that injured a New York teenager, the Cox Newspapers said. The State Department is watching the proceedings out of concern that the case could affect US-UAE ties.

The Clinton administration is considering whether to remove Mexico from its list of countries making progress in fighting the drug trade after receiving reports that cartels are on the rise there.

The US gambling industry is creating the first national center to study problem gambling. It will be in Kansas City, Mo. The industry depends on compulsive players for a sizable chunk of its profits, some experts say.

Edmund G. ''Pat'' Brown, the Democratic governor who led California through its growth age from 1959 to 1967, died Friday.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will review a case involving The First Church of Christ, Scientist. The case centers on a suit brought by Elizabeth Weaver of Glen Arbor, Mich., and Roy Varner of Houston, Texas. It involves a dispute about the government of the church. Last year, several former and present officers of the church asked Suffolk Superior Court to dismiss the suit. Judge Vieri Volterra denied the request. The defendant officers appealed, and in November, the Massachusetts Appeals Court agreed to review the matter. The appeals court said the dispute ''may involve prohibited intrusion in liberties protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.'' Then, on Jan. 31, the church officers asked that the Supreme Judicial Court hear the appeal rather than the appeals court. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed on Feb. 14 to consider whether the lower court should have rejected the initial request to dismiss the suit.

The World

The IRA claimed responsibility for a blast that destroyed a double-decker bus in London's tourist district, killing one passenger and injuring eight. Police said the bus was not the target and were trying to determine if the lone fatality was the bomber. It was the third IRA-related bomb incident in 10 days, after the IRA broke a 17-month-old cease-fire. The IRA claimed responsibility for a second bomb discovered in a phone booth Thursday. The bombing reinforces speculation that the IRA is focussing its bomb attacks in London. (Story, Page 6.)

NATO said the Bosnian Serbs are violating the Dayton accord after a Bosnian Serb general broke his commitment to attend a meeting aboard a US warship. Also, self-styled Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic agreed in Rome to relinquish control of Serb-held areas in Sarajevo to the Muslim-led Bosnian government by March 19. And Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said the Serbs have no choice but to flee Sarajevo. Hundreds fled Sarajevo's suburbs in the first exodus organized by Bosnian Serb authorities.

The PLO asked countries around the world to defy Israel and continue to visit the PLO's Jerusalem headquarters. Earlier, Israeli Premier Peres - responding to the opposition's accusation that he plans to cede Jerusalem to the PLO - said that foreign ministers visiting Israel will be barred from holding meetings at the PLO's headquarters in Jerusalem. The PLO wants East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Israel says it will cede no part of Jerusalem. (Story, Page 6.)

Two car bombs exploded 10 minutes apart in Algiers, killing 12 people and wounding 32. The attack was blamed on Muslim militants, fighting to overthrow the military-backed government and establish Islamic rule.

An earthquake measuring 7.5 hit the island of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, killing at least 63 people and destroying some 2,000 homes.

The Russian Army was reportedly a mile away from the village of Novogroznensky, Chechnya, where nearly 1,000 Chechen rebels remain besieged by the troops. The rebels have been using Novogroznensky as their headquarters and are apparently preparing to fight. They abandoned earlier efforts to break out of the Russian siege, sources said.

A whites-only school in Potgietersrus, South Africa, appealed a court ruling that said its apartheid-era admission policy was unconstitutional. The appeal delayed the regional government's plan to register 20 black students at the school today. Denying whites the chance to educate their children as they wish is discrimination, lawyers for the school claimed.

Hussein Kamel al-Majid, Saddam Hussein's defector son-in-law, announced he's returning home. He said he is satisfied the Iraqi leader is moving the country toward democracy but did not say when he would return.

A deal to form a coalition government by Turkey's Islamists and the conservative Motherland Party was close to completion, sources said. Mesut Yilmaz, the Motherland Party leader, said he will head the government for 10 months and then hand over the premiership to Islamist leader Necmettin Erbakan.

Japan's overall trade surplus for January fell 83 percent from the same month last year, marking the seventh straight month of decline. The nation's overall merchandise trade surplus for January dropped to $467.08 million from $2.75 billion in 1994.

An aging wooden ferry that failed a safety check last week capsized near Cadiz, Philippines, killing at least 70 people. The ferry was carrying more than twice its legal passenger capacity.

Etceteras

Moments after his victory over supercomputer Deep Blue in Philadelphia, chess champion Garry Kasparov said that ''fighting this computer has changed the way I ... will approach the game in the future.'' The happy but wrung-out Russian battled nearly four hours to win the final game and the series 4 to 2. It was the first time in 1,500 years that a machine had won a game from an international grandmaster under tournament rules.

It's goodbye to the Year of the Pig, hello to the Year of the Rat. The Chinese Lunar New Year is being celebrated around the world. Officially, the holiday includes a three-day feast, but feasting can last a week or more.

A television set is one item on a wish list for Keiko the killer whale. Officials at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Ore., say a big-screen TV is needed to play killer whale videos for the whale that starred in the ''Free Willy'' films.

Organizers of the Atlanta Games announced the names of people chosen in a nationwide search to carry the Olympic flame to Atlanta (see list below). Regular folks dominate, though a few celebrities made the grade.

Olympic Torch Bearers

Some 5,500 ''heroes'' have been selected of 10,000 people expected to carry the Olympic flame to Atlanta. Among them:

Jimmy Carter, ex-president.

Evander Holyfield, boxer.

Shaquille O'Neal, pro basketball player.

Billy Ray Cyrus, country music star.

Shannon Miller, gymnast.

Nancy Kerrigan, ice skater.

Edwin Moses, hurdler.

Sugar Ray Leonard, boxer.

Richard Straut, Atlanta police officer.

Mary Ann Phillips, Norwood, Mass., mother of 10 who has run a soup kitchen for 20 years in Boston.

Robin Polson, a Cottage Grove, Minn., high-school senior who lectures on the perils of drug abuse.

- Associated Press

'' I want to set an example. If I can do it, anybody can.''

- Policeman Richard Straut, on being chosen as a Olympic torch bearer. He battled his way back from a near-fatal gun-shot injury to earn a college degree and rejoin the Atlanta police force.

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