News In Brief

THE US

CIA director John Deutch said Iraqi tanks were pulling back from the Kurdish town of Arbil. Earlier, the Defense Department denied reports that Iraqi troops were preparing to move against Kurds in the north. Also, Secretary of State Warren Christopher traveled to Britain and France to bolster support for US policy on Iraq.

Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole's top two advertising consultants resigned, campaign officials said. In a major shakeup, media advisers Don Sipple and Mike Murphy left Dole's campaign rather than face greater supervision by campaign manager Scott Reed. Replacing them will be Alex Castellanos, a veteran Republican media consultant; Philadelphia ad producer Chris Mottola; and Washington ad consultant Greg Stevens.

John Hinckley, the man who shot President Ronald Reagan, is asking a judge for monthly passes to visit his parents unsupervised. Hinckley has been confined to a mental hospital since June 1982 after being found innocent by reason of insanity in the 1981 attack on Reagan. While Hinckley's doctors strongly recommend the conditional release, both the hospital review board and the US Attorney's office oppose the request. A hearing is set for Nov. 20.

Coastal areas were being evacuated in South Carolina because of hurricane Fran. Forecasters expected the storm to touch down north of Myrtle Beach last night, with winds of up to 115 m.p.h. Also, NASA is delaying by two days astronaut Shannon Lucid's return to earth from the Russian space station Mir because of the hurricane.

Susan McDougal, Clinton's former business partner, says she's ready to go to jail rather than cooperate with prosecutors. McDougal was cited with contempt of court for refusing to answer questions before a grand jury about whether Clinton lied under oath. She was given until Monday to answer the questions.

The Senate voted to protect both the international space program and another joint venture with Russia. Renewed efforts to kill the program failed when an amendment to a spending bill was rejected 60 to 37. Supporters say the 13-nation project is vital to space research. Opponents say the US can't afford its $2.1 billion share of the funding.

Republican lawmakers abandoned plans for an election-year tax cut. Instead, they hope to stick to a curtailed agenda that will have them back on the campaign trail later this month.

The high school completion rate for African-Americans rose to 87 percent - putting them on par with whites in this key education category, the Census Bureau said. Also, the percentage of all adults 25 and older who've completed at least high school rose to 82 percent, the highest since it was first measured 50 years ago. And the number of people who've earned a bachelor's degree also reached a record high of 23 percent.

Oklahoma City bombing suspect Terry Nichols has until today to file a request for a separate trial. Lawyers for his co-defendant, Timothy McVeigh, asked Wednesday that the two men receive separate trials because of "mutually antagonistic" defenses. Prosecutors are seeking a single trial, something McVeigh's lawyers have opposed since his indictment last year.

The Hubble Telescope has taken pictures of what could be an early step in the formation of galaxies, the journal Nature reported. The telescope photographed 18 star groups merging in such a way and in such a small area that their only destiny can be to unite as a galaxy, astronomers at Arizona State University said. The images are believed to be the earliest view ever of galaxy formation, and scientists hope the 11-billion-year-old occurrence will provide insight into the process.

The top two office-supply superstores, Staples and Office Depot are likely to face antitrust scrutiny of their planned merger, experts say. Yet the two control only about 10 percent of US office-supply sales, and they have different regional strongholds. Staples hopes to buy Office Depot for $3.35 billion in stock.

THE WORLD

Russian President Yeltsin ended months of speculation about his health and announced he will undergo heart surgery at the end of this month. Also, security chief Alexander Lebed asked Chechen rebel leaders to avoid boisterous celebrations as the peace deal he secured faces its first test today - the fifth anniversary of Chechnya's declaration of independence. And Lebed received a further boost when three political movements formed a new party to support his future bid for president.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu breathed life into the Mideast peace process, predicting a final peace settlement during a TV interview. But not everyone was pleased with his handshake with Arafat. Many in his Likud Party lambasted Netanyahu, who promised during May elections never to meet with Arafat. While disagreements remain between the Isrealis and Palestinians, diplomats say the ice has thawed.

All's quiet on the Northern Iraqi front, the Defense Department said a day after President Clinton said Baghdad paid the price for last week's attacks on Kurds. Meanwhile, Kurdish rebel leader Jalal Talabani said he was prepared to seek Iranian help to repel Iraqi attacks which he claimed are still continuing. Separately, busloads of Turkish troops headed toward the Iraq border, but Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller denied reports that Ankara was planning military action in northern Iraq.

Poland's coalition government faced a potential crisis after President Aleksander Kwasniewski fired Foreign Trade Minister Jacek Buchacz for alleged for irregularities in budget office reports. Buchacz's Peasant Party is likely to decide today whether to continue coalition talks.

After an overnight lull, fighting broke out near Burundi's capital, Bujumbura. Gunfire and cannon blasts marked the third day of fighting between the Tutsi-ed Army and Hutu rebels. The flareup weakens military ruler Pierre Buyoya's claim that he is the only one who could halt ethnic violence.

The 16-nation South Pacific Forum readmitted France as a dialogue partner, ending their rift with Paris over its nuclear tests in French Polynesia. At the end of a three-day summit in Majuro, Marshall Islands, the Forum welcomed the end of French nuclear testing and said it will push for the adpotion of the nuclear test-ban treaty next week at the UN.

NATO sternly warned Bosnian Serbs after Serbs rocked a British Army Land Rover in Banja Luka. A crowd gathered after the confiscated illegal weapons from a Bosnian Serb police convoy and threatened the peacekeepers, who fired a shot into the air to disperse the hostile crowd.

Mexican officials found no evidence of rebels in the southern mountains where the Army launched a massive attack. They said the tipoff by a taxi driver may be based on rumors. Meanwhile, several of 19 suspected rebels arrested this week denied any links to a recently emerged Popular Revolutionary Army, which was blamed for last week's attack that killed 18 people.

Kashmiris go to the polls tomorrow in the Indian state's first local election since 1987. The National Conference was expected to take power in the 87-member assembly, which has been dormant since federal rule was imposed seven years ago.

Madagascar's President Albert Zafy announced his resignation after a court panel upheld a move by parliament to oust him. Zafy ran into trouble after he clipped the powers of lawmakers.

ETCETERAS

"I set the goal for myself to end a war that no one needs. And I will end it."

- Russian security chief Alexander Lebed, on the eve of today's fifth anniversary of Chechnya's declaration of independence from Russia.

A species of pheasant long thought to be extinct has been rediscovered in central Vietnam, the World Wide Fund for Nature said. The last known sighting of a live Edwards' pheasant, a dark blue-black bird about the size of a chicken, was in 1928.

Move over, Barbie: Hillary Rodham Clinton's fan club presented the first lady with a Hillary doll dressed in an aqua suit with a bouffant hairdo. The doll will be on display in Clintons' office.

One of college football's longest streaks goes on the line tomorrow - the longest losing streak, that is. Thirty-game loser Oberlin is playing 22-time loser Thiel, which hasn't won a game since 1993. Thiel's coach calls this weekend's match-up "college football at its best."

The sky's the limit in the race for the world's tallest building: China said it plans to build a 1499-ft. skyscraper in Chongqing that will eclipse Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - due to be completed this year. But if Donald Trump has his way, New York will be home to the tallest building. Trump reportedly wants to build an 1,800-ft. office complex.

THE DAY'S LIST

MTV Video Winners

Winners at the MTV Video Awards ceremony in New York:

Best Video of the Year: Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight,Tonight."

Best Group Video: Foo Fighters, "Big Me."

Best New Artist: Alanis Morissette.

Best Dance Video: Coolio, "1,2,3,4 (Sumpin' New)"

Breakthrough Video: Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight, Tonight."

Best R&B Video: Fugees, "Killing Me Softly."

Best Direction in a Video: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris for Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight, Tonight."

Best Rap Video: Coolio, "Gangsta's Paradise."

Best Hard Rock Video: Metallica, "Until it Sleeps."

Best Alternative Video: Smashing Pumpkins, "1979."

- Associated Press

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