News In Brief

The US

Two captured leaders of the antigovernment ''freemen'' movement, LeRoy Schweitzer and Daniel Peterson, were set to be arraigned in Billings, Mont., after being arrested at a local post office. They are being charged with passing fraudulent checks and money orders. The freemen group, which denies the government's legitimacy, operates under its own laws and has been holed up on a 960-acre farm for months. Federal agents are trying to persuade the rest of the group to surrender. The farm was sold at a foreclosure auction in October, and the new owners are waiting to move in.

The government may play the stock market with Social Security funds, if it follows the expected recommendation from the Social Security Advisory Council. This would be the first time in history the system put part of its investment in stocks.

The Federal Reserve needs to control its spending, the General Accounting Office says. Expenses at the nation's central bank have increased twice as fast the rate of inflation. Fed salaries also rose 53 percent. Meanwhile, the Fed was expected to leave short-term interest rates untouched when it met to discuss monetary policy. Also, Fed chairman Alan Greenspan was due to appear at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on his renomination as central bank head.

US governors are pledging to impose stiffer scholastic goals in their states by spring 1998 at a two-day education summit in New York with business leaders. Governors want to set up ways to assess student performance. The US ranks 14th among other nations in math and 13th in science. Only one or two teachers and no students were invited to attend.

New Hampshire will be the first state to have all its 450 public schools go on-line by 2000, according to a plan unveiled by the state. Also, Washington Gov. Mike Lowry signed a bill creating a telecommunications network to link all the state's public schools, colleges, and eventually, public libraries and government agencies.

States can't bar nationally chartered banks in small towns from selling insurance, the Supreme Court ruled. The decision makes it likely that banks will offer customers one-stop shopping for financial services.

US chickens will flock to Moscow once again. Russia has agreed to lift a ban it imposed last week on shipments of US chicken because of health concerns. Russia is the biggest foreign market for US chicken, representing $500 million last year. The US has agreed to new inspection procedures for chicken slated for Russia, including joint US-Russian spot checks and additional testing requirements.

Edmund Muskie, former senator and secretary of state died. He served as Maine's governor, 1955-59, as a US senator, 1959-80, and as secretary of state under President Carter in 1980-81. He was Hubert Humphrey's vice presidential running mate in his failed 1968 bid and a contender for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. Below, Muskie (right) stands with Humphrey (left) at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Colorado Gov. Roy Romer vetoed a controversial bill banning same-sex marriages in the state.

The Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Ariz., spilled a man-made flood into the Grand Canyon today, the start of efforts to help restore the canyon's natural environment. The flood will continue for seven days, redistributing sediment throughout the canyon.

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton handed in his resignation. Mayor Giuliani and Bratton say reports of ego clashes are exaggerated. In Bratton's first two years on the job, serious crimes in New York fell 27 percent and homicides fell 40 percent. (Story, Page 3.)

The Spring Street Brewing Company can resume on-line trading of its stock, as long as a bank handles the money and the company posts Web-site warnings that the stock may be hard to sell, the Securities and Exchange Commission says. The pioneering project is a bulletin-board trading system that lets buyers and sellers meet ''directly'' via e-mail.

The World

Commanders of NATO-led forces in Bosnia announced their mission is shifting from ending the war to rebuilding the country. The announcement indicates NATO expects the withdrawal of all forces and heavy weapons by April 18, in accordance with the Dayton agreement. (Editorial, Page 20.)

British government scientists flew to Brussels to try to persuade the EU to lift a ban on British beef exports. Earlier, European Commission president Jacques Santer agreed to reconsider the issue. And Britain announced it will not destroy the country's cattle. Meanwhile, Burger King joined McDonald's and Wendy's fast food chains in Britain by cancelling orders of British beef. And Irish police patrolled the border with Northern Ireland to keep out British cows.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien's Liberal Party won five of six parliamentary by-elections, including one where Quebec separatists had fielded a strong challenge. That gives the Liberals 177 seats in the 295-seat Parliament. Chretien, halfway through his five-year term, called the victories ''a vote of confidence.''

An Israeli court is expected to impose a sentence today on Yigal Amir, the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Separately, Israel's Tourism Minister Uzi Baram, a leading dove, is the surprise winner in Labor Party primaries for parliament. Other posts went to four former generals and 10 professional politicians - also mostly doves.

Taiwan called for talks with China as tensions eased between the two, and the US Navy announced the withdrawal of some of its warships from the area. But China says it wants Taiwan to abandon its quest for a UN seat and political ties with other countries as a sign of good faith. (Opinion, Page 19.) Also, a report by two human rights organizations criticized China for its increased oppression in Tibet, including routine torture and arrests.

South Korean parliamentary candidates launched campaigns for what is expected to be the country's cleanest elections on April 11. A new law permits only 17 days of campaigning and imposes strict spending limits on candidates. About 1,300 candidates will compete for 153 seats. The remaining 46 seats will be divided among parties on a proportional-vote basis.

Russian troops began a ''large-scale special operation'' against rebel fighters hiding in Grozny, Chechnya, a source in Russia's security forces told Interfax news agency. But Defense Minister Grachev said operation would cease after Russian President Yeltsin delivered a televised address this weekend. Separately, Russian banks braced for reaction to revamped US $100 bills (displayed above) as US and Russian leaders waged an urgent public campaign against a run on the new currency designed to outwit counterfeiters. The US assured Russians via satellite that the old $100 bills are still valid.

Bangladesh's parliament passed a bill setting up a nonparty, caretaker government to oversee future general elections. The move was made to end a political crisis that has gripped the nation for months.

Benin President Nicephore Soglo claimed election fraud in March 18 elections, and said he would challenge the results.The constitutional court proclaimed former Marxist military ruler Mathieu Kerekou the winner.

Iraq's new parliament will bear a striking resemblance to the old, with most of its members reelected and all 220 backing President Saddam Hussein. The election was restricted to members of Saddam's Baath Party

and independents screened for loyalty to his government.

Etceteras

Smugglers using a loophole in a treaty designed to save the ozone layer are shipping tons of contraband air-conditioning gas to US motorists. US Customs says chlorofluorocarbon-12 has become its No. 2 problem, after illegal drugs.

Ten thousand people were evacuated from the central German city of Magdeburg while munitions experts defused a 2,200-pound American World War II bomb found at a construction site.

Endangered Monuments

The World Monuments Fund plans to use a $5 million preservation fund for several sites on its list of the world's 100 most endangered monuments. US sites are shown below.

Adobe Missions of New Mexico: date from the 1600s.

Chaco Culture National Historic Park in New Mexico: has the largest collection of prehistoric ruins in the US.

Ellis Island in New York Harbor: the principal immigration station from 1892 to 1954.

Golden Gate Park Conservatory in San Francisco: an 1870s glass structure that contains a rare plant collection.

Holy Ascension Church, Unalaska, Alaska: houses a collection of 800 liturgical artifacts collected by the Aleutians.

Lafayette Cemetery No.1 in New Orleans: established in 1833, designed by a former engineer of Napoleon Bonaparte.

- Associated Press

'' I want that pig. I want that pig in my home.

I concede such a passion for that pig.''

Oscar-winner Emma Thompson, confiding a crush on one of her competitors, fellow-nominee ''Babe'' the pig.

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