News In Brief

THE US

Senator Dole is expected to introduce legislation today to repeal the 1993 gasoline tax hike of 4.3 cents per gallon, which was voted in by the Democrat-controlled Congress. Democrats say they are considering a repeal but are concerned the savings may not be passed on to consumers. A repeal would also mean an annual loss of nearly $5 billion in federal revenue.

President Clinton reportedly planned to endorse a GOP proposal that allows most adoptive families to claim $5,000 in tax credits and encourages interracial adoptions. The adoption provisions were included in the welfare overhaul bill he vetoed last year.

Searchers found the body of former CIA Director William Colby on the banks of the Wicomico River about 20 yards from where his canoe was found capsized. He had been missing from his Maryland summer home since April 27. Colby served as CIA director in the Nixon and Ford administrations.

The State Department planned to make public a secret report on the murders of 18 US citizens in Guatemala since 1984. One of the US citizens is innkeeper Michael DeVine, whose 1990 murder rocked US-Guatemala relations, tarnished the CIA, and resulted in Guatemala losing millions of dollars of US aid. The report shows that Guatemalan presidents, defense ministers, and Army leaders tried to cover up military involvement in the murder, according to The Washington Post. Senior Army officials detained and interrogated DeVine after an allegation that he possessed a stolen military rifle.

Gusting winds prompted firefighters to abandon a ground attack and take to the skies to control a blaze raging in the Carson National Forest near Taos, N.M. The fire, believed to be ignited by burning trash, forced 2,000 people to evacuate from the towns of Red River, La Lama, and Questa and destroyed a half dozen homes.

Already-sodden areas of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio received heavy rains. Flash floods washed out roads, overran bridges, and killed three people. And tornados touched down in Ohio and Missouri.

Iraq and the UN expected to resume oil-for-food talks, the first talks since April 24. Opening Iraqi oil taps would reduce crude prices worldwide and provide food for the Iraq's people.

The Republican National Committee raised a record $10.8 million in April, more than double last year's previous April record of $4.8 million. The RNC has raised $37.2 million in funds during the first quarter of 1996, compared with $20.4 million in that period in 1992, the last presidential election. GOP officials attribute the success to a small-donor, direct-mail program. More than 600,000 individuals have contributed to the party this year, an increase of 200,000 from 1992.

Stop the public sniping and gain consensus on the divisive abortion issue. That's the message GOP leaders sent party members over the weekend after key Republicans sparred about abortion. RNC Chairman Haley Barbour said on the Fox television network that the GOP should instead focus on tax, welfare, and budget issues.

Three Whitewater defendants have the chance to present their version of events this week. But they may not need to, says James McDougal's attorney, Sam Heuer. He believes the special prosecutors haven't proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

At least 75 people were arrested when fights broke out between revelers jamming Denver's streets for Cinco de Mayo festivities. The event commemorates Mexico's 1862 rout of French invaders. And in Akron, Ohio, police officers sprayed tear and pepper gas on a crowd and arrested 12 people. The police were responding to an off-campus party where party-goers pelted them with beer bottles.

THE WORLD

An amateur video shows that repeated shelling hit the UN camp at Qana last month and there was an Israeli reconnaissance plane in the area when at least 91 Lebanese civilians were killed. The video disputes Israeli claims that only one or two rounds hit the camp and there were no remotely piloted aircraft in the area. Also, Lebanon and Syria rejected a US plan for a five-nation monitoring group to oversee a cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah guerrillas. And Arab leaders complained to the EU about US bias toward Israel in the Middle East.

Russia plans to expel several British diplomats linked to a Russian arrested for spying for London, Interfax reported. Meanwhile, Russian President Yeltsin said elections would be held on schedule June 16 and scolded a top aide who suggested a postponement might be advisable to avoid civil unrest. Separately, Chechen rebels shot down a Russian warplane, killing the two pilots and kidnapping 11 pro-Moscow police officers.

Liberian militia leader Charles Taylor called for a cease-fire after a weekend of urban warfare that sent thousands of Liberians fleeing their country. Taylor has refused to join other warlords for peace talks in Ghana tomorrow. More than 2,500 Liberians seeking refuge in Ghana crowded on to the Nigerian freighter "Bulk Challenge."

At least 17 people were killed in new election violence as India began its final phase of voting in parliamentary elections. More than 70 people have been killed since campaigning began in March.

Israel and Palestine resumed the final phase of peace talks after a minor glitch when Palestinians accused Israelis of leaking false information to the press. Also, two Muslim militants suspected of plotting suicide attacks are trying to sneak into Israel, Palestinian security officials said.

The Ulster Volunteer Force, a Northern Ireland guerrilla group, announced it's about to end a 19-month truce to avenge IRA bombing attacks, the Irish Times reported. If the truce breaks down, it would be a serious blow to all-party peace talks set for June 10. The report came just hours after Dublin airport was closed to investigate a bomb threat called in by a purported member of the UVF. Police say no bomb was found.

The South African Constitutional Assembly continued last-minute talks on a new constitution, hoping to reach an agreement before tomorrow's deadline. The assembly was to vote on bending rules to allow a compromise amendment any time before the deadline.

Prime Minister John Howard announced sweeping measures to tighten Australia's gun laws. Proposals that would ban automatic and semi-automatic weapons and call for jail terms for those who don't turn in their guns will be put before a special meeting of state and territorial legislators Friday. Leaders also called for a crackdown on violent TV and video games. Both moves are in reaction to last week's Tasmania massacre, in which 35 people were killed.

The planned merger of Berlin and Brandenburg failed, causing Germans to wonder how united their reunified nation was. Former East Germans voted against the merger, which would have created the fifth-largest state.

Norway's oil output has been reduced by one-third by a two-day strike. Oil platform workers went on strike in solidarity with maintenance workers, shutting down six drilling platforms in the North Sea. Norway is the largest exporter of oil outside of OPEC.

ETCETERAS

''We should not march to some philosophical ayatollah." -- Senator D'Amato, attacking Pat Buchanan, who called for Senator Dole to reaffirm the GOP's anti-abortion stance.

"Rent" is prepared to rock the Tonys. The rock musical picked up 10 nominations. The show already has won a Pulitzer. Julie Andrews is nominated for best actress for "Victor/Victoria." Also nominated are Nathan Lane in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and George C. Scott in "Inherit the Wind."

Public defender Bob Bellear, an Australian Aborigine, has become the first indigenous Australian in more than 200 years of white settlement to be appointed a judge. He will serve in the district court in the state of New South Wales.

Venetian gondoliers stopped serenading their passengers as they transport them along the city's romantic canals. The unromantic reason: a dispute over pensions. For many tourists visiting Venice, a ride in a gondola isn't complete without the soft serenading of the gondolier.

THE DAY'S LIST

US Species on the Road to Recovery

Some 60 percent of 960 species listed as endangered in the US are stable or improving in status, according to US Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Director Jamie Clark. Here are a few species on the road to recovery.

1. Black-footed ferret

2. California condor

3. Aleutian Canada goose

4. Brown pelican

5. American peregrine falcon

6. Eastern timber wolf in Minnesota

7. Virginia's round-leaf birch

8. Robbin's cinquefoil (plant of the rose family)

- Associated Press

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