News In Brief

THE US

Republicans vowed to take action to force the Democratic National Committee to file the final accounting of its finances before Election Day. Committee officials said the law allows them to withhold the preelection report of contributions and spending because they spent no money on federal candidates, such as President Clinton. The Democrats have been criticized for raising large sums of money from US subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies or foreign citizens who briefly resided legally in the US.

Democratic Party fund-raiser John Huang arrived in Washington for questioning in relation to a suit against the Commerce Department. His deposition may be provided to the press and public, a US district judge ruled earlier. Huang was a high-ranking Commerce Department official before he began fund-raising. The conservative group Judicial Watch Inc. filed the suit in an attempt to determine whether the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown used departmental trade missions to raise money for the Democrats.

Next stop after California for GOP nominee Bob Dole: Denver, before heading back to Washington for a brief stopover. From there, the itinerary is undecided. On the "maybe" list: Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, and New Jersey.

Attorneys for Richard Jewell said they plan to sue NBC, news anchor Tom Brokaw, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for allegedly defaming their client's character. The attorneys also said they are considering action against the federal government and the possible role played by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. The announcements came after Jewell spoke out for the first time after being cleared as a suspect in the Olympics bombing, calling his 88 days under surveillance "a nightmare."

Employment costs rose 2.8 percent in the 12 months ended in September, a slightly slower pace than in the previous quarter. Analysts were watching the figure for signs of wage-inflation pressures that could add to arguments for higher interest rates. Also, workers' compensation rose 0.6 percent in the third quarter after a 0.8 percent gain in the previous three-month period, reflecting lower growth in pay and benefits. And consumer confidence fell by more than 5-1/2 points this month.

A nuclear submarine crewman was sentenced in Norfolk, Va., to 27 years in prison for trying to sell military secrets to the Russians. An FBI agent posing as a spy contacted Petty Officer Kurt Lessenthien and agreed to pay $11,000 for classified material after the crewman contacted the Russian embassy with the offer. He'll be eligible for parole in nine years.

Mudslides are the newest concern in southern California, where the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency surveyed damage from wildfires that burned 40,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes. James Lee Witt said a top priority should be to regrow vegetation on the charred slopes. But some expressed concerns that it may be too late: Rainstorms are predicted to move into the area soon. Meanwhile, full containment was predicted tomorrow for a fire in the Big Sur region.

Federal funds became available to Maine after Clinton declared the state a major disaster area because of last week's severe storms.

The Medicare hospital insurance trust fund showed a big shortfall in fiscal 1996, according to the Treasury Department. It was the largest 12-month drop in the fund, except for a one-time transfer of Medicare funds to Social Security in 1983. At the present rate, the Medicare board of trustees projects the fund will be depleted by 2001.

"Battlefield soldiers" that clear landmines, detect chemical weapons, and guide missile strikes will be commonplace by 2001, scientists announced at a design lab in Albuquerque, N.M. The Smart Machines will be the size of a shoe box or dime, and will crawl, hop, and eventually fly over minefields, they said.

THE WORLD

Zaire imposed emergency rule on its eastern province, where fighting between its troops and Tutsi rebels continued to rage. UN officials said they were cut off from an estimated 600,000 Hutu refugees who fled camps in Zaire because of the clashes, and described the situation as "desperate."

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators returned to the bargaining table to discuss security issues in Hebron, despite the departure of US mediator Dennis Ross. The two sides traded accusations over who was responsible for failure to agree on the redeployment of Israeli troops from the tense West Bank city. Earlier, Palestinians and Israeli soldiers clashed in the town of Hussan after the funeral of a youth who allegedly was beaten to death by a Jewish settler.

China has no obligation to admit foreign observers to the trial of leading political dissident Wang Dan, its foreign ministry said. Wang's case is to be heard beginning today. He has been held since May 1995 on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. A guilty verdict and prison sentence of at least 10 years are considered virtually certain. Legal experts from the US, Canada, France, and Chile applied for permission to monitor the trial for fairness.

Roadblocks came down in Pakistan's capital, but police patrols were heavy following two days of violent anti-government demonstrations. Although Islamabad was quiet, the organizer of Muslim protests vowed to continue them until Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is deposed. Qasi Hussein Ahmed of the right-wing Jamaat-i-Islami religious movement said he wanted to convert Bhutto's residence into a Muslim university for women.

A North Korean sailor denied his government's claim that the submarine he served on drifted into South Korean waters because of engine trouble. Lee Kwang-soo, the only member of the sub crew captured alive after the incident last month, spoke at a news conference in Seoul. He said the 26 infiltrators aboard were on a spying mission and penetrated South Korean defenses with little difficulty.

Thousands of art works, coins, and other valuables plundered from Jewish homes during the Nazi regime were put on auction in Vienna. Proceeds from the two-day sale at the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts are to benefit needy survivors of the Holocaust. For much of the time since the end of World War II the items were considered Austrian government property and were stored in a monastery. Last year, custody of the collection was transferred to the country's Jewish community.

Anxious police in London opened a massive advertising campaign to warn of possible new guerrilla attacks by the IRA. Tens of thousands of posters urge the public to report suspicious behavior to a confidential hotline. A police spokesman said there was reason to believe that IRA operatives plan to "kill and maim and cause massive economic damage" in Britain in the coming months. Earlier in the week, police in Ireland arrested five men and seized a cache of weapons at what they said appeared to be an IRA training camp.

Unidentified gunmen attacked a restaurant in south Mogadishu, killing or wounding 30 people. The incident was the latest breach of an Oct. 15 agreement in principle to a cease-fire among Somalia's warring clans. The restaurant was in an area loyal to faction leader Hussein Aideed, and most of the casualties were members of his sub-clan. A rash of attacks and assassinations in south Mogadishu since last month is blamed on a vendetta over the death of Aideed's father, Mohamed Farah Aideed, in August.

ETCETERAS

''There is no way to look at it other than they're trying to hide something."

-- Don Simon, executive vice president of Common Cause, a nonpartisan group that lobbies for campaign finance reform, on a Democratic National Committee decision not to file final accounting of its finances before Election Day.

Doug Hales says he can carve almost anything into a Halloween pumpkin. Hales, an architect from Noblesville, Ind., is a skilled user of cutting tools. Each year, he donates dozens of his carved jack-o'-lanterns to local schools and youth groups. He also carves pumpkins on commission for wedding receptions. Hales first realized he had the knack when he entered a design contest as a student.

US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont is a "huge fan" of Batman. So huge that he wangled a double role in the superhero's latest film adventure, "Batman and Robin." Leahy played location scout in finding the faade for the hideout of the villain in the piece. It's a 200-ft.-high wall in a Vermont granite quarry. Leahy also has a brief walk-on part.

For once, the world's most famous mime was at no loss for words. In a ceremony at Venezuela's presidential palace, Marcel Marceau picked up an achievement award. He said "thanks," adding: "In the 30 years I've been coming to South America, this is the first time I've been received by a president."

One of the phrases that irk English-language purists most is "you know." So Air Force Col. Barney Oldfield (Ret.) of Omaha, Neb., is sponsoring a contest to help stamp it out. Entrants must submit tape of broadcasts in which "you know" is used repeatedly. The contestant with the most "you knows" gets a $1,000 scholarship.

THE DAY'S LIST

GQ's "Men of the Year"

Readers' picks for GQ magazine's "Men of the Year" awards in 11 categories, as published in the November issue.

Giorgio Armani, fashion

Tom Brokaw, TV news

Jimmy Carter, humanitarianism

Mel Gibson, film

Bill Gates, business

Michael Jordan, sports

Norman Mailer, literature

I.M. Pei, art and architecture

Darius Rucker, music

Jerry Seinfeld, TV entertainment

- GQ and the Associated Press

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