News In Brief

THE US

Opinion polls show Senator Dole with roughly a 2-to-1 lead over Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes as New Yorkers cast their ballots in Republican primary elections. Ninety-three delegates are at stake. Also, Dole won endorsements from Texas Gov. George W. Bush, former President George Bush, and former Florida gubernatorial candidate Jeb Bush. Also, Lamar Alexander and Richard Lugar endorsed Dole upon dropping out of the race. And a poll in Texas shows Dole with a projected 45 percent of the vote ahead of next Tuesday's primary. Above, New York Mayor Giuliani exits a booth after voting for Dole.

President Clinton was expected to sign a Cuban sanctions bill into law after the House gave it final approval. The European Union, which accounts for 45 percent of Cuba's foreign trade, and Mexico said they would challenge the decision because it violates international law. Also, the UN Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed to investigate Cuba's downing of two US civilian aircraft.

The House was set to debate a measure to provide money for NASA, the Housing Department, and dozens of other agencies whose funding expires March 15. The White House says Clinton would veto the bill in its current form because it doesn't give enough money for education, job training, the environment, and technological research.

The US is considering sanctions against China for the transfer of a new cruise missile to Iran, a senior US official said. Speaker Gingrich assailed Beijing's exercises off Taiwan beginning today as an act of terror. China accused the US of meddling in its internal affairs.

The convictions of eight members and associates of the Gangster Disciples, a corporate-style gang that runs a multimillion-dollar drug operation in Chicago, are a good step toward putting the gang out of business, prosecutors said. But the gang, the city's largest, maintains a tight grip on illegal drug activity.

The US is sending 34 jet fighters to Jordan - a sign of Clinton's approval of Jordan's efforts toward peace. In an Oval Office meeting, Clinton and Jordan's King Hussein talked of how to combat terrorism in Israel.

A bipartisan group of Washington lawmakers introduced a bill to repeal part of the new telecommunications law that could make it a crime to put information about abortion on the Internet. The law applies the 1873 Comstock Act - which bars the sending of abortion material - to computer networks.

The Index of Leading Economic Indicators fell 0.5 percent in January to the lowest level in more than two years. The drop was widely expected because of a blizzard that disrupted business. The index forecasts future economic activity.

The pace of mergers and acquisitions will continue to rise, particularly as US companies go overseas, says a survey by Deloitte and Touche. Two-thirds of 150 senior executives in Fortune 1,000 firms say they expect their companies to buy other US businesses in the next year. And 39 percent said they expected overseas buyouts. Western Europe is the most attractive market.

Secretary of State Christopher reprimanded US Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith. She punished two embassy officials for objecting to a 1994 US visa for Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. And Senator Dodd denied a report that he intervened to support Smith.

Hawaii's legislature is trying to head off legalization of gay marriages. The state's house approved a bill to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that defines marriage as male-female. The Senate passed a bill to allow "domestic partnerships" for gay couples. One poll found that 71 percent of Hawaiians oppose homosexuals.

Law school applications declined for the fifth consecutive year, the Law School Admission Council said. It cited the average $100,000 cost of a degree and the decreasing certainty of getting a good job upon graduation.

THE WORLD

At their first-ever meeting, Palestinian lawmakers set a two-month deadline for a PLO committee to delete references to Israel's destruction from the PLO charter. Addressing the 88-member Council, Palestinian President Arafat called for an international conference on terrorism. And the Israeli Army reportedly deployed tanks on the West Bank border for the first time since 1967.

Russian troops called in reinforcements as Chechen separatists continued a fierce attack on key buildings in downtown Grozny, Chechenya's capital. Virtually every Russian position was reportedly under heavy fire from the separatists, who seized several police stations and a hostel housing 84 Russian construction workers. Hundreds of soldiers, rebels, and civilians have been killed in the latest flare-up, witnesses said.

The two groups that make up Bosnia's Croat-Muslim Federation argued over control of Hadzici, a Sarajevo suburb. The federation is in jeopardy and needs to resolve the issue at the negotiating table, said US Adm. Leighton Smith, NATO's chief in Bosnia. The survival of the federation is key to the success of the Dayton accord, analysts say.

Three US servicemen convicted of raping an Okinawa schoolgirl will appeal the sentence, their lawyer said. An Okinawa court sentenced Navy Seaman Marcus Gill and Marine Pfc. Rodrico Harp to seven years, and Marine Pfc. Kendrick Ledet to 6 1/2 years, to be carried out at the Yokosuka prison near Tokyo. The rape triggered protests against US military bases in Okinawa.

South African President Mandela was declared "extremely well" by his doctors after two days of intensive tests at a Johannesburg clinic. A reluctant Mandela volunteered for the tests after speculation about his health caused South Africa's currency to plummet.

The IRA refused to resume a cease-fire it broke last month and surrender its arms stockpiles. The latest Anglo-Irish plan offered "no incentive" for it to make those concessions, the IRA said. The plan demands an IRA cease-fire as a precondition to allow its political wing, Sinn Fein, to participate in June 10 all-party talks.

Tansu Ciller handed over Turkey's post of prime minister to Mesut Yilmaz. The former rivals forged an alliance last week, breaking a 10-week political impasse. Their accord blocked efforts by an anti-Western Islamist party to form a government.

In one of history's biggest corporate deals, Swiss pharmaceutical giants Ciba-Geigy AG and Sandoz AG said they will merge to form a new company, Novartis. The merger, valued at $27 billion by one account, continues a three-year worldwide trend in healthcare dealmaking. Novartis has projected sales of $22 billion per year.

Austria's liberal Social Democrats and conservative People's Party have formed a coalition government after December elections. Franz Vranitsky, leader of the Social Democrats, will remain chancellor, a post he has held since 1986.

Police blamed Muslim militants for a bomb blast that killed two people and wounded 10 in Berrouaghia, Algeria. Violence escalated in Algeria after the government cancelled the 1992 parliamentary elections, which Islamic fundamentalists were poised to win.

Indian opposition parties stalled parliament proceedings for the second day, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. Last week's Supreme Court order barring federal police from briefing Rao on a $18-million bribery probe is tantamount to indictment, the opposition said.

ETCETERAS

I believe it was an action of a small group against the overwhelming majority of people in our region who are seeking peace."

- Jordan's King Hussein, on the recent terrorist violence in Israel, during a meeting with President Clinton.

The new Volkswagen Beetle, a 21st-century edition of the world's best-selling car, will roll off assembly lines by 1998 in the motor industry's version of a Hollywood sequel. VW officials made the announcement at the international auto show now being held in Geneva.

The world's most famous dog sled race, the Iditarod, neared the halfway point with Alaskan DeeDee Jonrowe in the lead. As the mushers made their way up the trail, debate continued over race officials' decision to disqualify the Iditarod's only five-time champion, Rick Swenson, because one of his dogs died on the trail. The death was not his fault, but the rule allows for no exceptions.

In the first cloning of mammals, British scientists genetically engineered these sheep.

The Big OnesThat Didn't Get Away

Maybe all the big fish have gotten away because they've already been caught. These are the largest saltwater fish ever landed off US shores.

Species lbs.

1. Tiger shark 1,780 (Cherry Grove, S.C., 1964)

2. Pacific blue marlin 1,376 (Kona, Hawaii, 1982)

3. Great hammerhead shark (Sarasota Fla., 1982) 991

4. Dusky shark 764 (Longboat Key, Fla., 1982)

5. Jewfish 680 (Ferdinanda Beach, Fla., 1961)

6. Giant sea bass 563 (Anacapa Island, Calif., 1968)

7. Bull shark 490 (Dauphin Island, Ala., 1986)

8. Warsaw grouper 436 (Destin ,Fla., 1985)

9. Lemon shark 405 (Buxton, N.C., 1988)

10. Bigeye Atlantic tuna 375 (Ocean City, Md., 1977)

- "The Top Ten of Everything 1996," published by Dorling Kindersley

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