News In Brief

The US

A constitutional amendment that would have made it tougher to raise federal taxes failed in the House. The amendment, which would have required a two-thirds majority for Congress to raise taxes, was 37 votes short. But Republicans still claimed it was a political victory. Also, the House was expected to pass a bill that would give individual taxpayers more leverage with the IRS. The bill would establish a special advocate for taxpayers and raise to $1 million the amount they can seek in lawsuits against the agency.

Congress is set to pass an antiterrorism bill after a year of wrangling. The legislation bans US-fund-raising by groups linked to terrorism, expedites some deportations, and provides $1 billion in funding over four years to combat terrorism. It would also limit the number of appeals by death-row inmates. President Clinton is likely to sign the bill. Separately, the House is expected to vote tomorrow on overriding Clinton's veto on banning so-called partial birth abortions. An override is likely in the House, but the Senate was shy of the two-thirds majority needed.

States must let criminal defendants avoid trial if it seems likely they are mentally unfit, the Supreme Court ruled. The court threw out an Oklahoma death-row inmate's murder conviction, saying the state made it too hard for him to prove he was mentally incompetent and he should not have stood trial.

"Deliberate disclosures" by federal investigators have made it impossible for Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski to get a fair trial, his lawyer said. He filed a motion in a Helena, Mont., federal court seeking to have the charges dismissed. The motion says that if the government denies responsibility for the leaks, he will put reporters on the stand and demand they identify their sources. Also, a list of more than 600 items the FBI seized as evidence from Kaczynski's cabin was released by a US District Court Judge. (See list at right.)

About 20 US citizens remain unaccounted for in Liberia, but they may have escaped the country on their own, the State Department said. The US has evacuated 306 of the 470 US citizens in the war-torn country, and the rest either wish to stay or are unable to reach the US embassy.

The US military mission in Haiti ends today when the last combat troops fly out. The mission began 18 months ago when President Clinton ordered 20,000 US soldiers to Haiti to help restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.

Clinton wants to cut about $400 million from weapons purchases and military research to help pay for the Bosnia peacekeeping mission and an antidrug effort. The White House would like to put $250 million into the antidrug effort and $150 million toward the Bosnia mission.

The court-martial of two Marines who refused to provide blood samples for a DNA registry used to identify soldier's remains was expected to end. The two corporals say the information could be used against them in the future and say the order is unconstitutional. They face a six-month prison sentence and a dishonorable discharge.

Technology that would give US viewers super-sharp television pictures beamed out of a station for the first time. Using a special transmitter, Las Vegas station KLAS sent a high definition broadcast, a digital format developed for US television, to the National Association of Broadcasters convention. But viewers won't be seeing the new format in their living rooms anytime soon. To receive the digital format, consumers will have to buy special TV sets that won't be on the market for several years.

Industrial output fell 0.5 percent in March, a result of the GM strike, the Federal Reserve announced. But excluding the strike, output rose 0.3 percent.

Investor Bennett LeBow conceded defeat in his six-month effort to split up the RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. into separate food and tobacco businesses, a day before shareholders were to vote on the issue.

The World

Israeli helicopters rocketed Beirut as well as Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon, hitting the home of a guerrilla leader. Three Palestinians were wounded. The attack suggests that Israel is widening the scope of a six-day-old onslaught against Shiite Muslim militants and their allies, analysts said. The attacks came a few hours after Hizbullah guerrillas fired two new salvos of Katyusha rockets on northern Israel. There were no reports of casualties. And the US is mediating to end the fighting, Israeli Prime Minister Peres said. (Story, Page 6.)

President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young Sam invited North Korea and China to talks aimed at finding peace for the divided Korean Peninsula. The proposal was announced at a joint press conference on Cheju Island, South Korea. A top North Korean diplomat rejected the offer and maintained that Pyongyang favors negotiations with the US alone. In Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said China wanted to play a "constructive" role, but it was still weighing a decision to back the offer. Separately, Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto were to issue a declaration today strengthening the 1960 US-Japan security alliance. (Story, Page 5.)

Venezuelan President Rafael Caldera ordered market reforms aimed at rescuing the country's faltering economy. The currency was devalued, exchange controls were lifted, and gasoline prices hiked 850 percent. The measures are intended to curb the inflation - the highest in Latin America - shrink the fiscal deficit, and attract foreign investment.

Tomorrow's Dayton accord deadline for Balkan factions to move soldiers to barracks and heavy weapons to storage areas is unlikely to be met, said NATO spokesman Maj. Simon Haselock. But the three parties - Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Bosnian Serbs - have stepped up efforts to comply, he said. And an explosion rocked Belgrade's only mosque for the second time in a month, causing some damage but no casualties.

Russia extradited former Azeri Defense Minister Ragim Gaziyev to Azerbaijan, where he faces charges in connection with attempted coups, the Russian prosecutor's office said.

Looting and rebel violence continued in Monrovia, Liberia's capital. Rival factions were using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, witnesses said. Meanwhile, Nigeria's Foreign Minister Tom Ikimi said his country was considering withdrawing its peacekeeping troops. Nigeria forms the backbone of the West African peacekeeping force that intervened at the beginning of the Liberian civil war in 1989. (Story, Page 7.)

Colombian rebels ambushed a military convoy near the Ecuadoran border, killing 31 soldiers and wounding 18. The Army blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest and oldest of the rebel groups, for the attack.

Moscow's nuclear summit this weekend will discuss the safety of atomic reactors, the fate of Chernobyl 10 years after the world's worst nuclear accident, and how to stop the illicit trade in nuclear materials. (Story, Page 1.)

Mexico City citizens will get to elect their mayor for the first time. Leading political parties have agreed to a plan to elect the mayor, who has always been appointed by the president. The measure and other electoral reforms still need congressional approval.

Etceteras

Women are involved in only 15 percent of front-page newspaper stories, even though they make up 52 percent of the US population. That's the bottom line in the eighth annual survey of news coverage of women sponsored by the group Men, Women, and Media. When women were covered, more than half were either victims or perpetrators of crimes, the survey found.

London has announced plans to build a 500-foot high Ferris wheel, the world's tallest. The project, which is expected to cost $14 million, will stand on the south bank of the Thames River and be 200 feet taller than the clock tower at Parliament known as Big Ben.

Crossbow bolt tips provided the crucial evidence linking a campsite in a Texas Panhandle canyon to the lost trail of 16th-century Spanish explorer Francisco Coronado. Only his expedition carried crossbows, said Donald Blakeslee, a professor at Wichita State University in Kansas.

Kaczynski's Cabin

The FBI seized more than 600 items as evidence from Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski's cabin. Items seized included:

1. Bomb components

2. Improvised explosive device

3. Pipe bomb

4. Improvised detonator

5. Plastic jar containing triggering devices

6. Box containing "miscellaneous papers, newspaper clippings, bus schedule, addresses of corporate officials, and maps of San Francisco"

7. Handmade gun with spent cartridge

8. .25-caliber gun (Raven Arms)

9. Bolt-action .22-caliber rifle

10. Remington model .30-06

11. .22-caliber black-handle revolver and nine rounds of ammunition

12. Hand tools, including file, drill bits, saws, and hacksaw

13. Three typewriters, one of which the FBI believes was used to write the Unabomber's "manifesto.

- Associated Press

" They can't fire you if they can't find you."

- Retired CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt, who received a distinguished service award at the National Association of Broadcasters convention, joking about the "real" reason for his three-decade-long "On the Road" series.

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