News In Brief

The US

Senator Dole (above) was poised to win a majority of the 362 delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday. A sweep would reduce his rivals' chances at the Republican nomination, but neither Pat Buchanan nor Steve Forbes show signs of quitting the race. Before the contests, Dole had already amassed 392 votes - more than a third of the 996 needed to clinch the nomination.

The Senate took up a $160-billion spending bill designed to avoid another federal shutdown. With money running out Friday, the two sides are $8 billion apart. President Clinton wants more money for the environment, education, job training, and high technology. Republican senators say they already have compromised on $1 billion and would provide $4.7 billion more if cuts could be found later. If a compromise is not reached by the weekend, Congress will likely to send Clinton stopgap legislation to avoid a partial shutdown.

The US foreign-trade deficit increased 1.1 percent to $152.92 billion in 1995, the second-worst performance in history, although US trade performance improved in the last quarter. The rise reflects a jump in the imbalance of goods and the second straight annual deficit in investment flows. It is the fourth straight year the current-account deficit has widened, although the pace slowed sharply.

Clinton accused the GOP of running an ''anti-environmental campaign'' during a speech given at Farleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, N. J. He proposed $2 billion in tax breaks for companies that clean up and develop land contaminated by toxic waste. Clinton also promised to veto bills he claims would undermine the environment. The GOP says the Environmental Protection Agency is a bulky bureaucracy and its funds can be cut without hurting the environment.

Liu Huaqiu, China's deputy minister of foreign affairs, on a visit to Washington told senators that the US need not worry about China-Taiwan relations: There'll be no trouble as long as Taiwan doesn't seek independence. The senators told Liu that China's military exercises in the Taiwan Strait are provocative and unnecessary. (Story, Page 1.)

Clinton approved tougher sanctions against Cuba. The president signed the Helms-Burton Act, passed in response to Cuba's downing of two civilian planes last month. In addition to tougher sanctions, the bill gives Cuban exiles the right to sue over property lost during Fidel Castro Ruz's 37-year reign.

The US is weighing sanctions against Nigeria to try to force the country's military leader, Gen. Sani Abachi, to take steps toward democracy, The New York Times reports. The US has asked European allies to ban all new investment in Nigeria and freeze its leaders' assets. But Europe's response to the plan has been cool. And the White House has so far rejected an oil embargo. The US purchases 40 percent of Nigeria's low-sulfur oil.

The White House is decrying an 80-percent tax on advertising revenues Canada imposes on foreign firms publishing magazines in Canada. It filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, saying the law is an unfair barrier for US magazines that publish a separate edition for Canada. The law went into effect in December. A favorable WTO ruling would allow the US to impose retaliatory tariffs.

The Army will mobilize about 3,000 soldiers to replace US Reserve troops in Bosnia. Replacements will be put on active duty in May or June, and not all will be sent to Bosnia. The Reservists, on duty since December, will likely return this summer.

The US will beef up security along its Mexican border by adding 650 inspectors in October. An addition of $65 million to the Customs Service budget will pay for the new inspectors, US Customs Commissioner George Weise says.

Netscape Communications Corp. reached an agreement with American Online Inc. to license Netscape's web-browsing software. AOL also has a pact with AT&T, whereby the on-line service will be marketed with AT&T's WorldNet service.

The World

China began eight days of live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait, while the US deployed one of its largest armadas in the region since the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, Taiwan put its military on heightened alert. Beijing has viewed Taiwan as a renegade province since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when the Nationalists fled into exile there. (Stories, Pages 1, 6 and 7.) Above, military delegates attend China's National People's Congress in Beijing.

Egypt voiced disappointment at Syria's boycott of today's Summit of Peacemakers in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. The meeting seeks to discuss measures to combat terrorism. Some 29 leaders are expected to attend the summit, including US President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Peres, Palestinian President Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan, French President Chirac, and Russian President Yeltsin. Libya and Iran were not invited. (Story, Page 1; Editorial, Page 20.)

The Bosnian Serb-held suburb of Ilidza became the fourth of five Sarajevo suburbs to be transferred to the control of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat Federation under the Dayton peace accord. NATO troops were reportedly the only people in Ilidza, as most of the 20,000 Bosnian Serb residents fled rather than submit to the rule of their wartime foes.

A former top member of Aum Shinri Kyo - the Japanese group accused of last year's subway gas attack in Tokyo - pleaded guilty to charges of killing a lawyer, his wife, and son, the Japanese media reported. The lawyer led a crusade against the group.

Colombia's military chief Gen. Camilo Zuniga resigned, citing personal reasons. He is a close ally of President Ernesto Samper. Zuniga allegedly is on a CIA list of Colombian officials with ties to the Cali drug cartel. His resignation is an effort by Samper's government to shore up strained relations with the US, diplomats said. The US has been critical of Colombia's efforts to combat its drug trade.

Australia's day-old conservative government proposed $6 billion in cuts to put the budget into surplus within two years, Treasurer Peter Costello said. But the government will not raise or levy new taxes, Costello pledged.

Britain will demand to retain its veto instead of opting for majority voting among EU members, Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said. He was announcing London's stance for the EU's Intergovernmental Conference this month. Many Britons are wary of ceding national sovereignty to the European Union. (Story, Page 6.)

In a bid to cut air pollution, Mexico City authorities announced a $13.3-billion five-year plan. The proposal would clamp down on vehicles and industries that belch out smog. Mexico City is considered the world's most polluted capital.

For the first time in two years, Bangladeshi business leaders backed the opposition's standoff with Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. They urged Zia to quit her post and annul the results of last month's general elections boycotted by three major opposition parties.

Iraqi soldiers allowed UN weapons monitors to inspect a military training base in Baghdad, after the second confrontation in a week. The inspectors are authorized to monitor the dismantling of Iraqi programs for weapons of mass destruction.

Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's center-right coalition government won a vote of confidence in parliament to end 11 weeks of political uncertainty. The coalition is made up of Yilmaz's Motherland Party and former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's True Path party.

About 40 Kuwaiti women lawyers, scientists, and academics demonstrated outside the only elected legislature in the Gulf Arab states. They were demanding the right to vote run for parliament.

Etceteras

A two-ton Chinese spy satellite most likely crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, the US Air Force said. The capsule was tumbling out of control before it came down. The Space Command in Colorado has been tracking the satellite since 1993.

A major volcanic eruption appears to be taking place about 100 miles off the coast of Oregon. Small earthquakes have been detected along an undersea ridge about two miles below the surface. Scientists aboard a research vessel report gigantic bursts of hot water.

Environmentalists meeting in Geneva are warning that the world is seeing the biggest die-off of wildlife since the demise of the dinosaurs. And they're blaming loggers. The World Wildlife Fund says 50,000 species of plants and animals disappear every year, mostly because of the destruction of habitat.

Alabama's Democratic Party leaders voted to drop the rooster, an old-time symbol of white supremacy, as their logo. Replacing the bird is the donkey and the words ''For the People.''

For Sale: JFK's Golf Irons

From the common to the grand, 5,500 of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's belongings are going up on Sotheby's auction block next month. ''She really hated to throw anything out, even her costume jewelry from when she was in her 20s,'' says Sotheby's President. Here's a smattering of what could become yours.

Estimated value

Woven baskets $150 to $200

Incomplete set of porcelain and saucers $75 to $100

Engravings of sea shells $700 to $800

Set of Ben Hogan Power Thrust Irons in bag inscribed ''JFK Washington'' $700 to $900

1992 BMW sedan $18,000 to $22,000

Two John Singer Sargent watercolors $80,000 to $125,000

Diamond engagement ring $500,000 to $600,000

40-carat diamond ring second husband Aristotle Onassis $600,000

- Associated Press

'' The wagon of peace is approaching at top speed. Those who stand in its way will be either crazy or stupid.''

- Fouad al-Hashem, a popular columnist for Kuwait's Al-Watan newspaper, on the summit in Egypt.

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