News In Brief

The US

The White House and GOP are signaling a deal on a bill to renew the government's borrowing authority into next year. It would buy time to work out a compromise on a spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year. Speaker Gingrich and Senator Dole abandoned plans to put Medicare and welfare cuts into a debt-extension bill. Instead, Majority Whip Lott says the GOP may link line-item veto legislation and a plan to increase Social Security benefits to the debt-extension bill. Also, Congress was set to pass a stopgap bill to keep many government programs running for another week.

Steve Forbes announced he was pulling out of the Republican primaries. Forbes was set to endorse front-runner Dole and pledge his support in defeating Clinton this fall. (Story, Page 3)

Cigarette maker Liggett Group's offer to settle, though encouraging, is not enough, Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III says. Liggett Group has offered to pay up to $50 million a year for 25 years to fund smoking-cessation programs. Louisiana is suing the tobacco industry to recoup health care costs for smokers, making it the sixth state to do so. The state is also entering talks with Liggett Group. And Florida lawmakers withdrew legislation to repeal the state law used to sue tobacco companies for $1.4 billion. Above, Ernie Perry, a former smoker and one of the plaintiffs in the Liggett case, speaks at a New Orleans news conference.

The House International Relations Asia Pacific subcommittee approved a nonbinding resolution urging the US to defend Taiwan if it is attacked by China. The measure could come to the floor by next week. The US is deploying three nuclear-powered attack submarines to the Taiwan Strait. Treasury Secretary Rubin will raise US concerns about current economic tensions between the US and China at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Kyoto, Japan this weekend. China is offering to complete $4 billion in orders for commercial jets if the US delays trade sanctions for a software copyright dispute.

The Senate voted 51 to 49 to retain a freeze on extension of Endangered Species Act protections to newly vulnerable plants and wildlife. An amendment keeps the moratorium in place until Sept. 30.

Colorado lawmakers have approved a bill banning same-sex marriages in the state. Supporters say it formalizes what is already state policy, while critics argue it denies equal rights to homosexuals.

VIrtually all of the major Detroit organized crime family was indicted by a federal grand jury on 25 charges, Attorney General Reno announced. Nine of the 17 defendants are accused of numerous acts of violence, extortion, and racketeering over a 30 year period.

The House was set to vote on a stripped-down antiterrorism bill. Language was removed that would give government authority to label groups as terrorist and making it easier to deport foreign members. Use of wiretap evidence obtained without a warrant was also prohibited. The bill's prospects were uncertain.

Financial books of Clinton's Americorps are in such disorder they can't be audited. The head of the Corporation for National Services, which overseas the Americorp initiative says he is troubled by the shoddy record keeping. Americorps was created to help people earn college mon-ey through community service.

The Senate has voted to withhold $200 million of civilian aid to Bosnia until Iranian military and intelligence officials have left the country.

Wholesale prices fell 0.2 percent last month, the first drop since June. With volatile food and energy sectors removed, the Producer Price Index's ''core'' rate was up 0.1 percent.

Donald Lowe is the first of 11 Massachusetts and New Hampshire fishermen to scrap his boat under a federal buy-back plan. The $2 million pilot program is designed to help restore depleted Atlantic fisheries.

Senate moderates prevailed in limiting the scope of a tort-reform bill so that damage awards would be capped only in defective-product cases. (Related Story, Page 1.)

The World

President Clinton pledged $100 million to combat Mideast terrorism and promised stronger security ties with Israel during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. Above, the national anthems of Israel and the US were played during a welcoming ceremony for Clinton (left) hosted by Peres (right) at the Tel Aviv airport. (Stories, Page 1; Opinions, Pages 19 and 20.)

''Nobody is scared,'' Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui said while discussing China's military exercises off Taiwan's coast. In addition to efforts to intimidate Taiwan from seeking independence, China's live-fire war games are aimed at undermining Lee's support in March 23 elections, analysts say. Any means used to bring Taiwan back under Beijing's control are justified, an official Chinese newspaper said.

Bosnia's Muslim-Croat Federation - the cornerstone of the Dayton accord - is in jeopardy, UN officials said. The federation's Croats and Muslims are engaged in a power struggle over Sarajevo's suburbs. They also can't agree on the color of federation police uniforms. (Story, Page 6.)

Russian troops and Chechen rebels fought in downtown Grozny during an unannounced visit to the region's capital by Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. Recently, Grachev offered to meet rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudayev to discuss ways of ending the separatist conflict. But yesterday, the Russian parliament refused to consider amnesty for Dudayev. (Story, Page 7.)

In a landmark settlement, Japan and five drug companies agreed to pay $426,000 to each of 400 HIV-infected Japanese. The lawsuits claimed the government didn't protect citizens from tainted blood. Separately, the US plans to scale back its military bases on Okinawa, US Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale said. But the US must maintain its present level of 47,000 troops in Japan, he added.

Leftist guerrillas launched an attack on a police station in Chalan, Colombia, first with an explosives-laden donkey and then with grenades and gunfire, killing 11 people. Police said the ''burro bomb'' - detonated by remote control when the donkey sauntered close to the police station - killed four officers. Marxist guerrillas have been accused of running drug operations.

Gerry Adams, head of the IRA's political wing Sinn Fein, said Irish Prime Minister John Bruton allowed Britain to seize control of the peace process. Bruton's backing of London's demand for a surrender of guns held by the IRA was flawed, Adams said. Miscalculations on such key points have run the peace process into the ground, he added. (Story, Page 6; Opinion, Page 18.)

The judge presiding over hearings into the 1994 assassination of Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio stepped down. Judge Alejandro Sosa Ortiz filed a request last month to leave the case charging Othon Cortes Vazquez with the assassination after prosecutors claimed he was biased toward the defense.

The town of Timika in Indonesia's Irian Jaya slowly returned to normal after two days of rioting over a dispute with a local copper and gold mine company. Freeport-Inc. was said to be operating again.

President Robert Mugabe is expected to handily win Zimbabwe's presidential elections set for this weekend, polls say. His only opponent is Bishop Abel Muzorewa of the United Parties. Mugabe has been in power since 1980 when white-ruled Rhodesia became black-ruled Zimbabwe.

Iran has decided to revoke the residency permits of a million Afghanis who fled their country after the 1979 Soviet invasion, Tehran's media reported.

Etceteras

Shannon Lucid, one of NASA's original woman astronauts, is scheduled to rocket into orbit Thursday aboard the shuttle Atlantis. Her destination? Russia's space station Mir, which will be her home for nearly five months. She will be the second American, and first American woman, to live on Mir, and the first to fly in space five times.

Ernie and Bert have returned, safe and sound, six weeks after the two Muppet originals were abducted from a garden-show exhibit in eastern Germany.

Bestsellers for Children

Earlier classics, such as Mark Twain's ''Tom Sawyer'' (1876), have been out of copyright and available in countless editions. Cumulative sales over a century or more are impossible to calculate, but some might qualify.

1. ''The Tale of Peter Rabbit,'' Beatrix Potter, 1902. (9 million)

2. ''Green Eggs and Ham,'' Dr. Seuss, 1960, (6.5 million)

3. ''One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,'' Dr. Seuss, 1960. (6.2 million)

4. ''The Outsiders,'' S.E. Hinton, 1967. (6 million)

5. ''Hop on Pop,'' Dr. Seuss, 1963. (5.9 million)

6. ''Dr. Seuss's ABC,'' Dr. Seuss, 1963. (5.8 million)

7. ''The Cat in the Hat,'' Dr. Seuss, 1957. (5.6 million)

8. ''Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret,'' Judy Blume, 1970. (5.5 million)

9. ''The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,'' L. Frank Baum, 1900. (5.2 million)

10. Charlotte's Web, E.B. White, 1952. (4.9 million)

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

'' People here are eager to go to war. We should punish [Taiwan's President]

Lee Teng-hui for his separatism. We await our orders.''

- Guo Jiejiang, an official in China's Fujian Province, showing the mainland's support for action against Taiwan.

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