News In Brief


The House was set to vote on a bill that would bar illegal alien children from attending public school in some states. The proposal was added to a bill that would reform US immigration law. Another added measure would require immigrants with special job skills or from countries with low immigration rates to the US to pass English proficiency tests. The House rejected a plan to create counterfeit-proof Social Security cards and a provision to limited the number of refugees admitted annually to 50,000.

A new plan for a national defense missile system to protect against attack by rogue nations is being offered by Senator Dole and Speaker Gingrich. President Clinton vetoed such a proposal last year. Also, the House was set to vote on repealing the assault weapons ban. Should it pass the House, its future looks bleak in the Senate. The NRA said a repeal is impossible while Clinton is in office.

Workers between jobs could keep their health insurance under legislation approved by the House Commerce Committee. The House version is more complicated than a similar version in the Senate. Next week, House Republicans will try to pass a broader health-care package that includes tax-deductible medical savings accounts and limits on awards in malpractice suits.

A bill capping damages in product liability cases was expected to pass the Senate, but probably not by a big enough margin to override the promised presidential veto. The bill still needs House approval before it is sent to the White House.

Striking brake-plant workers and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement, CNBC reports. This may end the 17-day strike in Dayton, Ohio, that has brought GM's North American operations to a virtual standstill.

Serious talks on balanced-budget reform will be put off until after Easter, Dole said after he and Gingrich met with the president. Both sides categorized the meeting as cordial, but Gingrich says he doubts an agreement is possible.

Clinton can testify by videotape at the trial of his former Whitewater partners, a federal judge ruled. But the judge rejected Clinton's request to have the questions in advance.

A farm bill that would dismantle the largest federal subsidy programs is moving closer to a compromise. House and Senate negotiators narrowed their differences to dairy programs and what kind of farm law should remain on the books permanently. Congress could enact final legislation next week.

A Los Angeles jury found Erik and Lyle Menendez guilty of the 1989 murders of their parents. They face either the death penalty or life in prison.

Sixty more drug convictions were overturned in Philadelphia as part of a police corruption scandal, raising the total to 116. Six former officers confessed last year to planting drugs on suspects, stealing their money, and falsifying police reports.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed tougher regulations on dangerous emissions that come from burning toxic waste. The rule would reduce dioxin emissions by 98 percent, lead and cadmium by 95 percent, and mercury by 80 percent.

Pakistan will receive US weapons it paid for years ago, despite US concerns about the country's nuclear activities. The delivery has been held up because of restrictions in a nuclear antiproliferation law, but Congress voted last year to make a one-time exception.

The Shuttle Atlantis was set to blast off at 3:13 a.m. today after high winds forced a one-day delay. This will be the third shuttle docking mission with the Russian space station Mir.

A trial contesting the Communications Decency Act, signed into law Feb. 1, was set to begin. The lawsuit could set a new standard for free-speech rights on-line.


Tensions rose in the Sarajevo suburb of Dobrinja over disputed boundaries between Bosnian Serb lands and the Muslim-Croat Federation. The lines divide apartment blocks and even buildings. Also, Serbs stoned the motorcade of the US envoy to the UN, Madeleine Albright, in Vukovar in Eastern Slavonia.

NATO will proceed with plans to incorporate former Soviet republics into the alliance, Secretary of State Christopher assured foreign ministers of 12 Central and Eastern European nations meeting in Prague. Russia is strongly opposed to NATO expansion plans, President Yeltsin told NATO chief Javier Solana during talks at the Kremlin.

Guatemalan leftist rebels announced a cease-fire in a breakthrough toward ending the country's 35-year civil war. President Alvaro Arzu responded by ordering the Army to halt operations against the rebels. Last month, Arzu met with rebel leaders in Mexico City - the first president to do so since the war began.

Campaigning in Taiwan for tomorrow's presidential elections moved into high gear. President Lee Teng-hui, the front-runner in the polls, swept streets with a broom and shook hands with residents in 11 villages around Taipei. Meanwhile, the US aircraft carrier Nimitz cruised into the South China Sea.

London hinted that Britain might slaughter its 11 million beef cattle to wipe out "mad cow" disease at a potential cost of $31 billion. Earlier, a major health scare swept through Europe after London acknowledged that the disease may spread to humans. France and Belgium banned imports of British beef and live cattle until further notice. Germany was considering a similar ban.

The militant Islamic group Hizbullah vowed to retaliate with more suicide bombings against Israelis for any attacks on Lebanese civilians. Also, the Israeli Army bulldozed the home of a suicide bomber in the West Bank. And Palestinian police arrested several members of the Islamic militant group Hamas in Gaza City during a raid aimed at nabbing Mohammed Deif, the suspected mastermind of recent suicide bombings in Israel.

Mexico's first-ever national environment plan was unveiled by President Ernesto Zedillo. "He who pollutes pays, and he who cleans up gets paid," Zedillo said of the plan. It also calls for a national land-use plan to regulate development

Colombia's Congress voted on legislation to make public its investigation into charges that President Ernesto Samper won the 1994 elections with funds from the Cali drug cartel. Samper proposed the legislation.

Spain's Popular Party took a first step toward forming a government. The PP agreed to give the Catalan coalition seats on the parliamentary business committees in exchange for chairmanship of the committees. The PP has been courting allies after no single party won majority in March 3 elections.

Supporters of Sudan's Islamic leader, Lt. Gen. Omar al-Bashir, swept to power in parliamentary elections, initial results show. Bashir, who took power through a 1989 coup, is also expected to win the presidential vote. Islamic cleric Hassan al-Turabi, widely believed to be the power behind Bashir's regime, won a parliamentary seat.

Tamil rebels accused government forces of dropping napalm bombs on a refugee camp in northern Sri Lanka, killing 16 civilians. The military said only rockets were used during the attack that killed 30 rebels.

Former Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou went home after nearly four months in an Athens hospital.


We can't stop illegal immigration, we can't stop illegal drugs, but we can audit every one of you."

- Speaker Gingrich on GOP plans to transfer one-fifth of the IRS work force to the FBI and federal drug and border police.

College-bound students in the US take fewer advanced-placement exams in chemistry and physics than do high school students abroad, a new study says. The report compares tests taken by students in Germany, France, Japan, and Britain with those taken by US students. A quarter to a half of the students abroad take advanced-placement tests. Only 8 percent of US students do.

The largest complex of mud-brick ruins in the world, the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan, has been targeted for restoration as part of a $76,000 UNESCO grant. The funding will be divided between Chan Chan and two pre-Incan pyramids, all in the coastal city of Trujillo, Peru - about 300 miles northwest of the capital, Lima.

Sweet Sixteen

Here are this weekend's semifinal matchups for the women's NCAA basketball tournament.

East Regional

Tennessee (28-4) vs. Kansas (22-9)

Virginia (25-6) vs. Old Dominion (29-2)

Mideast Regional

Vanderbilt (22-7) vs. Iowa (27-3)

UConn (32-3) vs. San Francisco (24-7)

Midwest Regional

Louisiana Tech (30-1) vs. Texas Tech (27-4)

Stephen F. Austin (27-3) vs. Georgia (25-4)

West Regional

Auburn (22-8) vs. Penn State (27-6)

Stanford (27-2) vs. Alabama (24-7)

- Associated Press

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