News In Brief

By , Lance Carden, and Yvonne Zipp

THE US

President Clinton hosted another round of talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, in an attempt to close wide gaps remaining between the two sides. Israeli officials said Palestinians were making unacceptable demands for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank town of Hebron, and Israel insisted on more security concessions. Also, after characterizing the talks as "photo op foreign policy," Republican candidate Bob Dole was to meet with Netanyahu in Washington.

Clinton was expected to sign a bill that curbs state supervision of mutual funds, company stock sales, and investment advisers. It lays the groundwork for creating a national framework of securities regulations.

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Ross Perot is still fighting to be included in Sunday's presidential debates - even after a federal judge said the courts have no jurisdiction in the matter. Perot was granted an expedited appeal after a judge ruled he needs to go through the Federal Election Commission. Perot's lawyers hope to get the issue resolved before the debate in Hartford, Conn.

The Pentagon denied that the 5,000 troops being sent to Bosnia will serve as a "follow on" peacekeeping force. The troops are going to Bosnia to protect the 15,000 US peacekeepers scheduled to return home after Christmas, and will likely be in the Balkans for six months.

Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski was indicted by a federal grand jury in Newark, N.J., on charges that he mailed the 1994 bomb that killed a North Caldwell ad executive. Kaczynski was indicted earlier for two California killings attributed to the Unabomber. His lawyer is considering pushing for a single trial.

The Senate scrambled to finish work on a federal parks bill and one to fund the FAA for the next two years - days after the House vacated the capital. Democrats object to an amendment they say allows Federal Express to block union organizing.

Baseball umpires were back at work as American League President Gene Budig prepared to hold a hearing today on Baltimore Oriole Roberto Alomar, who is appealing his suspension for spitting in an umpire's face. The umpires threatened to boycott the playoffs when Alomar's suspension didn't take effect immediately.

The Pentagon tripled to 15,000 the number of troops it says may have been exposed to nerve gas during the Gulf war. A CIA computer model indicates the number may be even higher.

A US diplomat will be sent to Afghanistan shortly to explore the possibility of reopening the US embassy, a State Department spokesman said. Because of the civil war, no US diplomat has been in Kabul since 1989. The US also will discuss terrorism, drug trafficking, and human rights with the new Taliban-led government.

A federal judge reversed a magistrate's ruling that would have freed Robert Kim on bail before his upcoming trial on charges that he spied for South Korea. Judge Leoni Brinkma said the evidence against Kim, a US naval employee, appeared overwhelming. She expressed concern that he would try to flee the country if released on bail.

Boys may lose the upper hand on the Preliminary Schol-astic Assessment Test if a new section on writing skills is effective. The multiple-choice section was added after charges that the PSAT discriminated against girls. The test is used to determine semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Alex Penelas (above, with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen) was elected the first politically powerful mayor of Dade County, Fla., which includes Miami. The Cuban-American Democrat will be the second-most powerful state official, after the governor.

AT&T unveiled a new mobile phone that could up the ante in cellular competition. AT&T Digital PCS can be used from anywhere, costs 60 cents a minute, and has a built-in pager and batteries that last 60 hours.

THE WORLD

A UN aid convoy rolled into Kabul, Afghanistan, bringing food, fuel, and other materials to the most needy residents. UN special envoy Norbert Holl flew back to the Afghan capital after meeting with Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, whose forces control large portions of northern Afghanistan. Holl was trying to prevent an outbreak of fighting between Dostum's forces and the Taliban militia, now controlling Kabul and most of the country.

Clashes continued in the West Bank town of Hebron, but there was no shooting. Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who were apparently under orders to avoid violence during the Washington summit.

Response to a gun-surrender program in postwar El Salvador is exceeding expectations. Former combatants are heading a call to trade weapons for coupons redeemable at stores and supermarkets. More that 400 firearms - plus thousands of grenades, explosives, bullets, and other weapons - have been recovered.

A party committed to greater autonomy won a major electoral victory in the Indian state of Jammu-Kashmir. Official election reports showed the moderate National Conference Party winning 54 of 87 assembly seats - with six races still undecided.

The UN Security Council formally ended trade sanctions against the Yugoslav republics of Serbia and Montenegro. Trade restrictions were imposed in 1992 for the republics' early role in the Bosnia conflict. The sanctions were suspended in November, after the signing of the Dayton peace accord.

South African President Nelson Mandela arrived in Luanda for a summit of regional leaders trying to strengthen the peace process in Angola. It was not clear whether Jonas Savimbi, leader of Angola's former rebel movement, would attend.

A Peruvian jet with 70 people aboard crashed into the Pacific Ocean northwest of Lima. The Aeroperu airliner, a Boeing 757, was en route to Santiago, Chile. Early reports said rescuers found no survivors.

A meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States is scheduled to convene in Kazakhstan's capital Almaty tomorrow. Taliban militia success in Afghanistan was expected to top the agenda of the grouping of former Soviet republics.

Taiwan and Japan were to hold talks in Tokyo today or tomorrow to discuss, among other issues, the chain of East China Sea island known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China. The Japanese Coast Guard recently repulsed boats trying to land Taiwan and Hong Kong protesters on one of the islands.

Burmese Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi slipped past police barricades set up to seal off her home and told reporters up to 800 of her supporters had been arrested. Government officials have put the number detained since Sept. 26 at 559.

The first post-Communist prime minister of Bulgaria was gunned down at his home in Sofia. Andrei Lukanov helped oust Communist strongman Todor Zhivkov and headed two Socialist governments, before protest strikes forced him to step down in November 1990.

A South Korean diplomat was murdered in Vladivostok, Russia. Reports in South Korean media said diplomats had been warned to take precautions in the aftermath of a recent North Korean raid into South Korea.

ETCETERAS

"Dialogue would be much more pleasant than all of this nonsense."

- Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, calling for talks between herself and the ruling military junta that arrested hundreds of democracy activists and tried to seal off her home.

Wayne Gretsky is making history off the ice today: Hockey's "Great One" became the first person to appear on a can of Campbell's soup. Gretsky, dressed in full hockey regalia and toting a stick, will appear on 50 million cans of Chunky soup.

A blindfolded Brit might have trouble identifying his bangers and mash. A fifth of British consumers surveyed by Tropicana couldn't tell they were eating mashed potatoes. Forty percent didn't recognize the taste of cooked apples. And a whopping 70 percent couldn't identify the flavor of mashed carrots. The survey shows how the color and appearance of food influences taste.

One nation's trash is another country's textbooks. Vermonter Lori Englemann, who is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kiribati in the South Pacific, wrote home that the people can't afford books. A recycling plant near Montpelier, Vt., with a warehouse full of junked textbooks heard about the need. The employees decided to foot the bill and ship the schoolbooks to the tiny island.

THE DAY'S LIST

Literary Luminaries

The Swedish Academy planned to announce the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature today. Here are some past recipients:

1995 Seamus Heaney, Ireland

1994 Kenzaburo Oe, Japan

1993 Toni Morrison, US

1992 Derek Walcott, West Indies

1991 Nadine Gordimer, South Africa

1990 Octavio Paz, Mexico

1989 Camilla Jos Cela, Spain

1988 Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt

1987 Joseph Brodsky, USSR/US

1986 Wole Soyinka, Nigeria

1985 Claude Simon, France

1984 Yaroslav Siefert, Czechoslovakia

1983 William Golding, Britain

1982 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia/Mexico

1981 Elias Canetti, Bulgaria/Britain

1980 Czeslaw Milosz, Poland/US

- World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996; Funk & Wagnalls

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