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President Clinton was out stumping in Florida, where his campaign's polling shows only about a six-point lead over GOP nominee Bob Dole. He then planned to wrap up a four-day campaign swing and fly back to Washington for a fund-raising dinner. Earlier, he announced that the number of Americans who own their own homes climbed to a record 66.3 million households this year. And he signed the War Crimes Disclosure Act, which urges federal agencies to make public any records they may have on Nazi war crimes.
Dole courted Georgia and Florida after a series of stops in Michigan and Ohio. The Southern states are traditional Republican strongholds where Democrats have made political inroads. Dole promised an upset akin to Harry Truman's narrow 1948 victory over Republican Thomas Dewey. A new Los Angeles Times poll of Californians over a five-day period that shows Clinton with a 20-point lead there.
The Pentagon announced plans to send letters to 20,800 troops indicating they may have been exposed to chemical weapons during the destruction of an Iraqi ammunitions depot in 1991. It acknowledged that hundreds more nerve gas rockets may have been exploded than previously thought. Officials also are investigating a third explosion in addition to the detonation of two weapons sites, which is believed to have released up to 2 tons of sarin nerve gas.
A senior FBI official was charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the deadly 1992 siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Federal prosecutors in Washington said E. Michael Kahoe, chief of the FBI violent crimes section at the time, had destroyed an internal critique of FBI actions during the siege. Four other top agency officials remain under investigation in the coverup probe.
California Gov. Pete Wilson declared a state of emergency in three counties and asked for help from the federal government as fires in southern California continued to spread across 35,000 acres. More than 130 homes have been damaged or destroyed and six firefighters injured.
The Pentagon said the US might speed withdrawal of 15,000 US peacekeeping troops from Bosnia because of the delay in municipal elections there until June. It also said the Bosnian Serbs were "on probation" and could lose international aid or face new sanctions if they don't cooperate with the Organization for European Security and Cooperation on the polls. Meanwhile, the main shipment of a $100 million arms package from the US for Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation is due to arrive in the Adriatic port of Ploce tomorrow.
GM was expected to ratify a deal with striking Canadian auto workers in Detroit today after the two parties reached a tentative contract agreement. The key issue is outsourcing - the practice of farming out parts work to lower-cost, outside suppliers.
Norfolk Southern Corp. opened a railroad bidding war by offering $8.1 billion for Conrail Inc. - nearly $1 billion more than CSX's offer last week. CSX's cash and stock offer was for $8.4 billion, but its stock price has fallen more than 6 percent since the bid.
Black leaders convened an emergency meeting in Boston after Center for Disease Control statistics showed that blacks continue to have AIDS in disproportionately high numbers. The number of AIDS cases diagnosed among blacks and whites were, for the first time, equal in 1995. Both amounted to 40 percent of newly reported cases.
New population projections from the Census Bureau for the year 2000 could result in 11 seat changes in the House. The South and Rocky Mountain states are projected to gain; the Midwest and Northeast to lose. Texas, Georgia, and Arizona each could gain two seats, while New York and Pennsylvania each could lose two. But California wouldn't gain, despite a projected population increase. Each state is guaranteed one of the 435 House seats, and the rest are handed out based on population.
French President Jacques Chirac's stormy visit to Israel ended with a speech to Palestinian legislators that drew a standing ovation. Chirac, the first foreign head of state to address the lawmakers, said the creation of a Palestinian state was the best hope for Middle East peace. He sharply criticized Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuffed Chirac's bid for a greater role in the peace process. Meanwhile, Palestinian negotiatiors said agreement was near on the redeployment of Israeli troops from Hebron, the last West Bank town they occupy.