News In Brief

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THE US

President Clinton "knew about" some allegedly improper foreign campaign contributions, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole suggested in an interview taped for broadcast today. Dole made the comment in an interview with David Frost. He campaigned in Florida, where he enlisted the aid of former President George Bush. He was also scheduled to visit Atlanta.

Clinton, campaigning in Arizona, declined to comment on the rash of allegations of campaign-finance irregularities. He was scheduled to make additional campaign stops in Nevada and California.

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The interrogation of Democratic fund-raiser John Huang was temporarily suspended after attorneys argued that questioning of the former Commerce Department official was abusive. The civil suit involves allegations of political fund-raising in connection with Commerce Department trips. Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that Huang made 65 visits to the White House during the first nine months of the year, while working as a fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee.

American Hispanics support Clinton over Dole by more than a 3-to-1 margin, a CBS/Telenoticias poll indicated. Clinton was prefered by 75 percent of Hispanic voters, Dole by 19 percent. The survey was said to have 5 percent margin of error.

The State Department offered $7.3 million in emergency aid for Iraqi civilians, but only if it went to Kurdish enclaves in northern Iraq. UN relief officials had issued an appeal, saying thousands of Iraqis lacked food, medicine, and clean water, in part because of UN sanctions imposed after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Consumer spending rose a mere 0.1 percent in September, the weakest showing in three months, the Commerce Department reported. The increase for the entire third quarter was the smallest in nearly five years. Savings were up sharply last month, and new home sales posted their second-highest rate in more than a decade, the department said.

Russia backed away from an agreement on regional missile defenses at the last minute, the State Department said. A signing ceremony was to have taken place in Geneva. The accord would have specified which short-range defense-missile systems were allowed under the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

A report highly critical of US nuclear policy was issued by the House National Security Committee, chaired by GOP Sen. Floyd Spence of South Carolina. It criticized the Clinton administration for giving priority to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty rather than improving the US nuclear arsenal.

Pressure for a contract settlement increased as talks continued in Detroit between the United Auto Workers and General Motors. GM said a a walkout at its Indianapolis metal stamping plant had forced it to lay off 2,250 workers at a truck plant in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Hispanic children are the least likely to have health insurance, an American Hospital Association study showed. While 14.4 percent of all US children are not covered by such insurance, the rate among Hispanics is 29 percent, the report said.

Mortgage lending to minorities increased three times faster than the national average from 1993 to 1995, the Treasury Department said. Mortgage lendingto minority customers rose 33 percent.

The CIA and Pentagon denied charges by two former CIA analysts that the agencies were hiding evidence of Americans being exposed to chemical weapons during the 1991 Gulf war. The CIA said Patrick and Robin Eddington were trying to portray as a coverup an honest difference among intelligence analysts.

THE WORLD

Fighting in eastern Zaire closed in on the main base for food aid to hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighboring Rwanda and Burundi. Observers reported that Tutsi rebels had captured the airport at Goma from Zairean government forces. The clashes kept fleeing civilians off the area's roads, the UN said. In Geneva, the UN said members of its staff in Bukavu, Zaire, had been ambushed while trying to escape the fighting.

The US will send aircraft carriers to defend South Korea in the event of war on the peninsula, a senior Navy officer said. Rear Adm. Charles Moore commands a battle group led by the aircraft carrier Independence in joint exercises with South Korea in the Sea of Japan. Tensions have been at a high level since a North Korean spy submarine easily penetrated the South's coastal defenses in September.

The heavy sentence imposed on political dissident Wang Dan would not worsen China's delicate relations with the US, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing predicted. It said Wang's conviction for plotting to overthrow the government was an ordinary legal procedure, not a human-rights issue. Wang drew an 11-year prison term and was stripped of his political rights - a verdict the watchdog group Amnesty International called "a parody of justice." Secretary of State Warren Christopher is scheduled to visit Beijing later this month.

What was to have been the first trial of a Rwandan defendant accused of genocide was postponed for two months. Former mayor Jean Paul Akayesu won the delay after his new attorney appealed for more time to prepare a defense. Akayesu is charged with abetting the massacre of 2,000 Tutsis in central Rwanda in 1994. The international tribunal charged with hearing the genocide cases rescheduled Akayesu's trial for Jan. 9.

Japan's Liberal Democratic Party and its two partners from the former coalition government agreed to remain together, but their alliance will be weaker than before. The LDP won last month's parliamentary elections, but with less than a majority. The LDP's partners, the Sakigake Party and the Social Democrats, said they would not accept posts in Prime Minister Hashimoto's cabinet and did not agree with several of his policies.

Rival Kurdish groups signed a peace agreement and pledged to establish stability in northern Iraq. The pact was reached during negotiations in Ankara, Turkey. Talks between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party were mediated by the US and Britain. The deal set up steps to rebuild a regional government that collapsed in 1993.

Families of 50 people who disappeared in Argentina's so-called "dirty war"against political dissidents were awarded official compensation. Interior Minister Carlos Corach, in distributing a $200,000 government bond to each family, called the repression "the worst tragedy in Argentine history." Up to 30,000 people are said to have disappeared between 1976 and 1983.

Liberian faction leader Charles Taylor said he survived assassination inside the presidential palace in Monrovia, the capital. Taylor said a top aide and several civilians died in the attack. A unidentified rival faction leader was arrested in connection with the indicent. Security in Monrovia was tightened after the reported attack.

A Brazilian airliner crashed on takeoff in So Paulo. The plane came down in a residential neighborhood, igniting a fire that engulfed buildings and cars. Civil defense officials said all 95 persons aboard were killed. Casualties on the ground were not revealed. The plane was bound for Rio de Janeiro in clear weather.

ETCETERAS

''The differences that remain at this point are clearly bridgeable ... and I believe that reaching an agreement soon is very definitely something that could be done."

-- US mediator Dennis Ross, on talks between Israel and the Palestinians over the West Bank town of Hebron.

If US voters elect Green Party candidate Muriel Tillinghast vice president, her career will be set for the next four years. But assuming they don't, Ralph Nader's running mate has at least one other job prospect. She's a finalist for school superintendent in Syracuse, N.Y. The pay: $90,000 a year - more than half that of the post in Washington.

When women won the right to vote in the 1920 presidential election, Edna Vanderlaan of Roosevelt Park, Mich., was among the first to use it. She also attaches great importance to her right to secrecy; she still won't say whether she voted for Warren Harding or James Cox 76 years ago. She has already voted this year by absentee ballot and again won't reveal her choice.

Taking a page from Long Beach, Calif., where the Queen Mary cruise ship was turned into a floating hotel, some South Koreans may do the same with a retired aircraft carrier. Young Distribution Company bought the warship Minsk from the Russian Navy, intending to turn it into scrap. But protests by environmental groups over the possible pollution of coastal waters brought the change in plans.

THE DAY'S LIST

Voter Turnout Worldwide

Percentage of voters that cast ballots during recent elections in selected countries:

Greece 85%

Australia 84

Denmark 84

South Africa 84

Indonesia 82

Brazil 78

United Kingdom 77

Norway 74

Germany 73

France 71

Russia 70

Croatia 69

Poland 65

Canada 62

United States 55

El Salvador 50

Philippines 49

Zimbabwe 31

- International Foundation for Election Systems

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