News In Brief

The US

President Clinton signed the line-item veto into law. The measure allows the president to ax individual spending programs instead of rejecting an entire bill. Critics say the veto is a dangerous ceding to the executive branch of Congress's power to control the pursestrings. The law goes into effect Jan. 1.

The White House knew of and did not try to stop Iranian arms shipments to Bosnia in 1994, despite a UN embargo, an administration official said. The CIA tracked the shipments; its reports were examined by a White House board that concluded that looking the other way did not violate restrictions on covert US actions. The US was not obliged to enforce the embargo.

A second live bomb that had the same design as one used by the Unabomber in two fatal attacks in 1994 and 1995 was found in suspect Theodore Kaczynski's cabin, The New York Times reported. But federal authorities say only one live bomb has been found. The names of some of the Unabomber's victims were also discovered in the cabin. A federal grand jury is to meet April 17 to consider charges against Kaczynski.

Timothy McVeigh's lawyer has filed a motion seeking evidence he says the government is withholding that could clear his client. The 176 items include classified information on European neo-Nazis and witness statements whose descriptions do not match McVeigh. His lawyer was expected to ask the judge to order the government to stop stalling and turn over the evidence at the hearing in Denver. McVeigh and Terry Nichols are charged with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people and injured 500 others. If convicted, they face the death penalty.

Whitewater witness David Hale testified that he has never paid taxes on money he stole from the Small Business Administration, and, thanks to a deal with prosecutors, he never will. Hale also gave inconsistent testimony about precisely when he heard that an allegedly fraudulent loan scheme would benefit Arkansas's political elite. Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and James and Susan McDougal are accused of defrauding the McDougals' savings-and-loan and Hale's loan company, both federally backed institutions.

Calling the government a "corporate prostitute," the militant freemen group nailed a declaration of independence to a post near the farm where they have been holed up. The defiant statement dampened hopes for an end to the freemen's standoff with federal agents, now in its third week.

Hospitals may not force patients to undergo treatment against their will or their religious beliefs, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled. The court said Stamford Hospital violated a patient's constitutional right to control her own body by forcing her to undergo a transfusion.

A US investigating team has ruled out any link between the plane crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others and Saturday's suicide of Dubrovnik airport's navigation systems chief. The Croatian Interior Ministry issued a statement saying that he was not working the day of the crash. Brown's funeral is set for today in Washington. President Clinton will deliver the eulogy.

Sniper Joseph Paul Franklin admitted, 14 years after being acquitted, that he shot and wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. Jordan was shot in the back but recovered. Franklin, an avowed racist, spoke in a St. Louis jail where he awaits trial for murder.

The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency will join the state in its lawsuit seeking damages from tobacco companies, Gov. Gaston Caperton announced. The suit marks the first time an employees' group whose costs are affected by tobacco have joined in a suit.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was to file a sexual-harrassment lawsuit against Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, alleging that the company violated the rights of hundreds of female workers. It may be the largest sexual-harassment case pursued under a 1964 federal law barring sexual discrimination. Mitsubishi denies any wrongdoing.

The World

Pro-Iranian Hizbullah guerrillas claimed responsibility for rocket attacks from Lebanon that wounded 30 people in northern Israel. They said the attacks were in retaliation for the killing of a Lebanese citizen by an Israeli land mine. Israel denied responsibility for the incident and responded with attacks on southern Lebanon. Also, an Iranian newspaper rejected accusations by Israeli Prime Minister Peres that Tehran was trying to topple his government through terrorist activities. And Syria's President Hafez Assad agreed to meet with Peres, but didn't suggest a date, Peres said in an interview.

Russia sent its deputy foreign minister to Pyongyang for talks on North Korea's breach of its truce with South Korea and to suggest an international conference to build trust on the divided peninsula. Earlier, South Korea called on Russia, the US, and China to dissuade the North from further border provocations. South Korea's Army chief ordered troops to apply "rules of war" to any North Korean incursions into the South. And South Korea's ruling New Korea Party is bracing for a setback in tomorrow's general elections. (Story, Page 7; Editorial, Page 20.)

The US decided to send additional security forces to Monrovia, Liberia, and evacuate about 500 Americans from the war-torn country after its worst fighting in three years erupted. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 civilians have been crowded into US Embassy compounds and UN offices since Saturday. And Liberian rebels are holding hundreds of civilians and West African peacekeepers as human shields to keep troops from storming their barracks.

The European Commission was to decide whether to hold an international conference in Belgium Friday to raise funds for rebuilding Bosnia. The conference may be canceled because Bosnian Serbs have not turned over war prisoners as required by the Dayton accord. And a Bosnian Croat, Zdravko Mucic, was handed over to the UN War Crimes Tribunal. Zdravko has been charged with commanding a prison camp in central Bosnia and accused of war crimes against Bosnian Serbs.

Russian President Yeltsin's Security Council planned to meet today to discuss Chechnya. Chechen rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudayev said in a published interview that direct talks with Yeltsin could resolve all problems in Chechnya "in half an hour," and a reshuffling of Yeltsin's government could pave the way for talks. Also, A meeting between Yeltsin and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski failed to resolve differences over NATO's expansion plans.

Nigerian troops sealed off a hotel in the city of Port Harcourt in an attempt to prevent political activists from meeting there with a UN team investigating human rights abuses. Nine leaders of the Ogoni ethnic minority, including playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, were executed in Port Harcourt last November. The UN planned to meet with members of their families, as well as four men Saro-Wiwa and his supporters were accused of killing.

Vietnam's ruling communists issued a long-term plan to restrict foreign investment and maintain a state-controlled economy. The document, which was drawn up for submission to a June nationwide party congress, did not recommend rolling back reforms already in place.

Turkish troops closed in on hundreds of Kurdish rebels in an offensive that has already taken at least 129 lives. Fighting was concentrated in the mountains of southeastern Turkey, where some 300 rebels were reportedly trapped.

Colorado Sen. Hank Brown met Afghanistan's military chief near Kabul. It was the first visit by a US politician in 16 years. The talks with Ahmed Shah Masood were shrouded in secrecy.

Etceteras

Fresh from her Oscar win for "Dead Man Walking," Susan Sarandon returns to the screen - this time as the voice of Miss Spider in Disney's animated action feature "James and the Giant Peach." The movie opens Friday.

The Olympic flame will fly first class from Athens to Los Angeles, where the US leg of the torch relay begins later this month. The flame, in a special safety lantern, will take to the sky in a new Delta Air Lines MD-11, specially painted in a rainbow of 14 colors.

Monks in a monastery in southeastern China have turned to television ads to attract tourists in China to their 1,000-year-old temple. The $24,000 ad campaign encourages visitors to go to Mt. Gushan, a popular site in Fujian Province, where the temple is located.

Grand Slam Salaries

Here are the top-paid baseball players in each major league team for 1996. Dollar figures are in millions.

Angels: Mark Langston $5.0

Astros: Doug Drabek 5.1

Athletics: Mark McGwire 7.0

Blue Jays: Joe Carter 6.5

Braves: Greg Maddux 6.5

Brewers: Greg Vaughn 5.5

Cardinals: Danny Jackson 4.1

Cubs: Sammy Sosa 4.8

Dodgers: Ramon Martinez 4.8

Expos: Moises Alou 3.0

Giants: Barry Bonds 8.4

Indians: Albert Belle 5.5

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr. 7.5

Marlins: Gary Sheffield 6.1

Mets: Pete Harnisch 3.5

Orioles: Cal Ripken, Jr. 6.9

Padres: Wally Joyner 5.0

Phillies: Lenny Dykstra 6.2

Pirates: Jay Bell 4.7

Rangers: Juan Gonzales 7.1

Red Sox: Roger Clemens 5.5

Reds: Jose Rijo 6.2

Rockies: Bret Saberhagen 5.6

Royals: Kevin Appier 5.1

Tigers: Cecil Fielder 9.2

Twins: Kirby Puckett 6.2

White Sox: Frank Thomas 7.2

Yankees: Ruben Sierra 6.2

- Associated Press

" They warned me if a single Ogoni appears before the UN team, I will forever regret ever being born."

- Ogoni activist Ledun Mitee, on Nigerian warnings prohibiting the Ogoni people from talking with UN investigators.

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